Rancho Santa Margarita has a reputation for being one of the safest cities in America, and based on FBI crime statistics has been the safest city in California for its size the past two years.
Still, that hasn't prevented a recent rash of burglaries that have occurred within the city limit.
Lt. Brian Schmutz, chief of police services for the city, said that despite the recent increase in crime, "the number of burglaries year to date is close to on track for last year at this time."
However, he indicated there had been about eight burglaries over the past two months that have the chief's attention. "A number of them have been north of Santa Margarita Parkway between Antonio and the 241," Schmutz said. "But we've also had some on the south end of town. ... We're analyzing them for a pattern."
For several weeks local Orange County Sheriff deputies have distributed door hangers in different areas of the city to raise neighborhood awareness.
"We're actively investigating several burglaries that have occurred recently in RSM," Schmutz said. "We have put extra resources into investigating and catching this burglar or burglars.
Schmutz wouldn't divulge details because he didn't want to interfere with the investigation, but he is using regional resources available to him from the OCSD.
He also said that he was working with the communities. Last month, a couple of homes near Trabuco Mesa Park were broken into while no one was home and the culprit made off with jewelry, among other things.
"Many times we'll catch one or two burglars and find they're responsible for 20 burglaries," Schmutz said.
The Bell Tower Regional Community Center is the site of a meeting set for Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m., for the neighborhoods involved though. However, Schmutz said it's open to anyone. New child safety deputy Clay Cranford will facilitate that meeting.
"I am committed to working to stop this this recent rash of property crimes," Schmutz said.