The downtown Encinitas area has seen fewer arrests and calls for service since the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station’s budget was increased, Capt. John Maryon said at the city council meeting Jan. 11.
In December 2015, the council approved a $150,000 increase to the Sheriff’s Department’s budget to allot for overtime, particularly in the downtown area.
During his presentation, Maryon focused on the area south of West D Street, West of South Coast Highway 101, North of West K Street and East of Third Street.
There were 124 arrests in the area last year, compared to 131 in 2015. Additionally, in 2016, there were 939 calls for service compared to 973 in 2015.
“Decrease in arrests is a good thing for all of us because it shows compliance, which is the goal,” Maryon said.
Citations also increased from 775 in 2015 to 1,184 in 2016 because of parking citations generated by complaints from local businesses.
The biggest problem hours overall were between 1 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., Maryon said.
In a city document, he said “there have not been complaints to the Sheriff’s Department about the downtown in a long time” and the department has been informally offered a space — at 149 W. D Street — for a substation downtown, showing the community’s trust in the department.
Maryon said he hopes the station will be active by the spring and will be leased for at least a year.
“That’s another way of making people aware of our presence so they can be compliant with the law,” Maryon said. “We need to maintain our presence there, because I think if we pull out, we’ll be going in the wrong direction.”
The overtime funds proved especially effective on Dec. 31, 2015, when deputies had a strong presence in the downtown area, Maryon said.
In addition to extra deploys in the area, the overtime fund also paid for four deputies with two fans from the Sheriff’s Department’s Transportation Unit to take anyone arrested downtown to jail.
Maryon said this allowed the Community Policing and Problem Solving unit and Crime Suppression Team to stay downtown to continue their efforts without having to leave for booking.
Ultimately, 12 people were arrested that night, with 10 of those for being drunk in public. One other person was arrested for driving under the influence, and another was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.
This last new year’s eve, there was one arrest, Maryon said.
Maryon said his goal for downtown is for “compliance” and to make the area a safe place for residents and visitors.
Council Member Mark Muir questioned if the council should allocate more money to the Sheriff’s Department to help it reach that goal.
Maryon, however, said that was not necessarily needed at this time.
“More helps more,” Maryon said. “We don’t want a Pacific Beach here by all means, but we want people coming here and visiting our businesses. To have people come downtown and not have any fear of people assaulting them, that’s compliance.”