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News from the City of Carlsbad | May 23, 2024

This week I’ll continue my series on the city budget and tell you about a specific type of burglary we have seen here in Carlsbad, how our police cracked the case and tips to avoid becoming a future target. Here’s the full list of stories:

  • City budget: breaking it down
  • Preventing burglaries in Carlsbad
  • Just one more Coffee with the Chief
  • Latest homeless count released
  • Safer Together on Memorial Day weekend
  • Holiday city service schedule
  • Still time to sign up for summer camps
  • Recognizing some folks you may never see

City budget presented – At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, we presented the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2024-25, which starts July 1. I gave you a preview of what was being proposed last week, so today I’ll break down the main parts of the budget, so you know what the different sections cover:

Operating budget -The city budget is made up of three parts. The operating budget covers the day-to-day services provided by the city, in addition to the cost to operate and maintain city infrastructure and other assets, like parks and buildings.

Capital Improvement Program – The capital improvement budget is used for the construction of major projects such as a new fire station, a major building expansion, street paving and sewer projects. The projects require significant investments and often take place over the course of multiple years.

Digital infrastructure -Several years ago, the city created the Strategic Digital Transformation Investment Program, which is similar to the capital improvement program, but focused on our digital infrastructure. The budget includes our overall strategy and schedule of projects and their costs.

General fund – The city’s general fund covers most day-to-day city services. Here is one of the slides from the presentation showing the breakdown of general fund spending proposed for next fiscal year.

We are often asked what “non-departmental” means. This is money we put in the budget that goes to things like our infrastructure replacement fund, general capital construction fund and technology fund. We have certain amounts we try to put in those funds every year, so we have money available for large expenses when they hit.

Public safety is typically the largest portion of a city budget. That’s because safety is always a top priority and police officers, firefighters and other first responders are on duty 24/7 (in shifts, of course).

If you’d like to learn more about the city budget, you can start with this glossary of budget terms we’ve put together on our new budget website.

Next up will be the June 18 public hearing, when the City Council is scheduled to adopt the final budget. 

Protect your home from organized burglary rings

Since many people go out of town for the long weekend, I wanted to share some details about a burglary ring we caught that specifically targeted unoccupied homes. This is, unfortunately, part of a nationwide pattern.

Earlier this year, undercover detectives and uniformed patrol officers converged on a La Costa neighborhood after investigators developed a lead on a car tied to previous burglaries. Sure enough, three suspects were seen leaving a home that had just been hit. A foot pursuit ensued, and the suspects were apprehended after a short chase. All three were suspected members of a South American group responsible for a rash of residential burglaries.

While newer to Carlsbad, “South American Theft Groups” have been operating throughout the United States for years. They have also been called crime tourists because the thieves typically come from South American countries on tourist visas. Here are some of their patterns:

  • Their MO is to target homes in affluent neighborhoods when the residents are out of town, concentrating on the primary bedroom and taking high-end jewelry, accessories and cash.
  • Once they have a target, they often case homes during the day to learn their victims’ schedules and look at real estate websites to get a look inside.
  • Houses that are backed up against green belts, golf courses, nature preserves and access roads are at a higher risk from these groups.
  • Second homes and homes that appear unoccupied due to vacations and holidays are also common targets.
  • Suspects often enter homes through the second floor by breaking windows or glass doors. First floor sliding glass doors are also targeted.
  • They use gloves and masks to make it harder to catch them through security cameras, fingerprints and DNA.

When the Carlsbad Police Department began to get reports of increased burglaries last year, they immediately began an intensive investigation. Special enforcement details, license plate readers and surveillance cameras were used to catch the perpetrators and deter further criminal activity. Because of the prevalence of these groups, we are also collaborating regionally and across the nation with other law enforcement agencies.

Last December, our Police Department hosted a community meeting, and throughout 2024, have visited homeowners associations to spread information about the tactics of these groups and how residents could reduce their chances of being targeted.

As we enter Memorial Day weekend, I thought it was a good time to share this information again. You can see the full list of prevention tips, but I wanted to highlight two here that may be new to you:

Security window film A special kind of security film can be put on your windows and glass doors to strengthen the glass, making it harder and take longer to get into your home. Common brands are NU-VUE and 3M. The film also provides protection from the sun without interfering with your views. One caveat: it requires professional installation.

Decrease your home’s online presence – To prevent thieves from studying your home’s features and layout, request that photos be taken down from any real estate websites where they may appear. You can also request that Google blur the image of your home on Google Maps. Here’s how:

Remember, Carlsbad Police is always just a phone call away. Call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress and the non-emergency line, 442-339-2197, to report suspicious activity. 

One more Coffee with the Chief planned – If you haven’t met our new Carlsbad Police Chief Christie Calderwood, our last Coffee with the Chief event is planned for next week, this time in South Carlsbad.

This is the fourth in a series of casual gatherings we’ve held this month across the city to give residents a chance to say “hello,” ask questions and share ideas. Officers assigned to South Carlsbad will also be on hand.

Chief Calderwood is a longtime Carlsbad resident and an 18-year veteran of the Carlsbad Police Department who stepped into the top job on April 15. Chief Calderwood’s desire to serve the community inspired her career in law enforcement, and she’s a great example of our Police Department’s commitment to communication and collaboration.

Coffee with the Chief Thursday, May 30 9 to 10 a.m. Starbucks at 7615 Via Campanile

Annual homeless count released -Earlier this week, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness released the results of January’s Point in Time count, a national effort to collect data on homelessness on the same day over a four-hour period. The results show regionwide homelessness has increased (about 18%), but the rate of the increase is less than it was last year.

In Carlsbad, the number of unsheltered homeless counted was 112, up from 60 in 2023. To put these numbers in perspective:

  • Carlsbad makes up approximately 3.5% of the region’s population but has less than 1.8% of the region’s unsheltered population.
  • Carlsbad’s unsheltered population makes up 9% of the total North County unsheltered population.

Because the results can vary widely, depending on the number of volunteers in your area, weather and other variables, Point in Time results are just one of several data points we track as part of our Homelessness Action Plan.

Our latest progress report has detailed information about our efforts and results. Our next six month report will be presented to the City Council in about a month. 

Record travel expected this weekend -A record number of Southern Californians are expected to travel over the long Memorial Day weekend, and the majority by car, according to the Auto Club of Southern California.

The City of Carlsbad is continuing to prioritize safer streets by practicing the three E’s of traffic safety – education, engineering and enforcement – but we need everyone to do their part. Here are several ways you can help keep our community safe:

  • Slow down.
  • Put away distractions like your cell phone.
  • Do the Dutch reach. When exiting your vehicle, use your far hand (the hand farthest from the door) to open the door. This forces you to turn your body and look over your shoulder, reducing the risk of hitting a person on a bike with your door.
  • Follow all traffic signs and lights, whether you’re driving or biking. If you’re on an e-bike, please review our e-bike rules of the road.
  • Plan for a safe ride home – select a designated driver or use rideshare services.

Carlsbad Police will have extra enforcement out this weekend and as always, call 9-1-1 if you see an impaired driver on the road. 

What’s open, what’s closed on Memorial Day -City offices in Carlsbad will be closed on Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day, but there will be no delay in trash pickup. Here’s the city’s full holiday schedule:

  • City offices: Closed
  • Emergency services: Regular service
  • City libraries: Closed
  • Cannon Art Gallery: Closed
  • City sculpture garden: Closed
  • City pools: Close at 2 p.m.
  • Community centers: Closed
  • Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park: Closed
  • Senior Center: Closed
  • No street sweeping on city holidays
  • Transit: For the holiday transit schedule, please visit gonctd.com or call 5-1-1.

Still time to sign up for summer camps — Summer is just around the corner, and the City of Carlsbad is once again offering one-week camps for kids 3 to 16, including sports and fitness camps, creative and performing arts camps, science and exploration camps, aquatic camps and more. See the full list in the city’s Summer Community Services Guide.

They fill up fast, but we still have some openings. You can see what’s available and sign up online.

Recognizing our public works professionals – We are winding up National Public Works Week, and I want to recognize these dedicated professionals who are the backbone of our city’s infrastructure. They work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep Carlsbad running smoothly – from maintaining city streets and managing our water and sewer systems to keeping our vehicle fleet in good working order and more.

I often talk about being brilliant at the basics, and our public works team shows what that looks like every day.

City construction map -While we’re talking about infrastructure work, don’t forget to check our weekly construction map to see where city projects are happening that may impact traffic.

Checking the map allows you to plan ahead and take an alternate route, saving you time and helping keep traffic flowing safely through construction zones. Remember, the map only shows city projects, not work being done by utilities or private companies. 

No city meetings next week – There are no city meetings planned for next week. They’ll be back the first week of June. See the meeting schedule on our city calendar.

Lastly, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the meaning of Memorial Day and honor the brave people who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. I’m truly grateful for their service and selflessness.

Be safe this holiday weekend, and I’ll be back next week with more updates.

Scott Chadwick, City Manager

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