The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office reports an increase in felony crimes and calls for service in Half Moon Bay over the past year. 

As part of the Sheriff’s Office contract with the city, a report is issued once a year in August and presented to the Half Moon Bay City Council. 

For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, the Sheriff’s Office reported 318 crimes reported, including murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, auto theft and arson. Fifty-four arrests were made in those instances. That compares to 288 such calls and 48 arrests in the previous year. 

“It still remains relatively low,” said San Mateo County Sheriff’s Capt. Saul Lopez. 

Lopez said a significant portion of the crime in the city related to vehicle burglaries. Within the past year, 63 vehicle burglaries were reported in Half Moon Bay. 

“Usually these victims were from out of town, visiting the coastal area beaches and restaurants, leaving valuables visible,” Lopez said. 

Lopez explained that there was a substantial increase in the amount of burglaries being reported during a three-month period. 

“We were able to arrest about a dozen of the suspects related to many of those burglaries. They were from one particular neighborhood in San Francisco and took advantage of mainly visitors, not so much residents of Half Moon Bay,” Lopez said.

Impaired driving arrests were down, with 39 drivers arrested as compared to 46 in the previous year. 

“I credit that to the ride share programs, enhanced enforcement and education,” Lopez said. “We will continue that enforcement, and educate residents and visitors who come into the community.” 

There were also fewer traffic collisions, with 71 reported this year compared to 110 from 2017 to 2018. 

Lopez noted the Sheriff’s Office arrested more people this year and there was an increase in calls, with approximately 1,900 more calls for service.

“Even though we had more calls, we were more efficient and quicker to respond to emergency calls,” Lopez said.

Deputy City Manager Matthew Chidester said the increase in calls is mostly due to the influx of visitors to the coast. 

“We believe increased visibility in the community as well as additional focus on specific issues, such as Poplar Beach, has created an uptick in calls for service,” said Chidester.

Of the 14,058 calls for service, 6,659 were deputy-initiated incidents.

 The average response time was 3 minutes, 8 seconds for emergency calls and 10 minutes, 57 seconds for all non-emergency calls. 

Council members said, while there was a slight increase in certain crimes and calls for service, they were not terribly concerned. 

“I looked at the report, but it did not seem like there are any major significant changes to be concerned about,” said Mayor Harvey Rarback. “It’s comparable to other years. It’s not gone up a lot or gone down a lot. ”

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