Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Whether the work of bored kids seeking a thrill, recent high school grads looking for a neighborhood souvenir, or a poor soul suffering from roadside kleptomania, these sign thefts (which typically seem to occur during the summer months) put our community at risk in the event of an emergency.
What might seem like a minor nuisance can quickly turn into a matter of life and death if first responders can't find someone who has summoned for help. In the case of a major disaster--like a wildfire--a sign's absence endangers the entire valley: resources from around the state are mobilized for large fires, and there's no guarantee responders will be local; in fact, it's highly unlikely. Combine smoke, lack of familiarity with the area, and no street sign . . . well, you can imagine the consequences.
Important to note: while sign theft is generally a misdemeanor, if damage, injury, or death occurs as the result of a missing sign, the perpetrators can be held liable.
Missing signs can be reported online via the San Diego County of Public Works Road Service Request form or by calling (858) 694-3850. I have already reported both missing signs. Unfortunately, replacement will take 6-8 weeks--right in the midst of the wildfire season.
If you are aware of other missing signs, please report them immediately--don't assume that someone else already has. And please share with others the disastrous results these pranks can have. Your life may depend on it.