December 5, 2007

On Crime in San Leandro

Local crime has been in the news recently with Jot Mangat, the owner of the Englander getting shot outside his restaurant, an attempted robbery of a teenager's iPod and bicycle, and two robberies that occurred while customers were present.

As a result, a letter written to the San Leandro Times in November 2007 describes the current situation as a "rampant increase in crime" and claims that it is something "our leaders don't want to talk about." However, crime is discussed by the City leaders on a regular basis, including at its most recent meeting.

At the December 3, 2007, City Council meeting, Councilmember Bill Stephens made the following remarks about crime:

However, in the past few months several high profile events have occurred which have created a perception of a shift in public safety. Perception, as we know is reality. I am talking of:
  • A robbery in which a prominent restaurant owner was wounded.
  • Robberies at two downtown establishments during a time when patrons were present
  • Strong arm robberies of children on their home street
  • Vandalism – Broken windows at a restaurant, barber shop and hardware store in my neighborhood
  • Auto thefts
  • Increased vagrancy and pan-handling
  • Traffic violations
Now, I recognize that statistics may support the fact that the city is safer, but I submit that we must evaluate this and confirm. I think we need to both ensure and assure our citizens of their individual safety. We need to both project protection and promote an image of a safe community. We need to make San Leandro synonymous with that of being the safest city in the East Bay. We can do this.
First, I would ask that we receive a report of crimes over the past five years. Broad categories. Auto Theft, Robberies, etc.
I ask that this report be provided to the Council prior to its January retreat. I also ask that the police provide their view on what they need to combat crime. I would like to hear how they may use community assistance, technology, lighting, communications, new deployment and tactics to advance crime prevention.
With this information, the city council can take strong and appropriate action to enhance community safety. I am not talking of symbolism, but action that will result in quantifiable reduction in crime in one year. I do not have all the answers. None of us on the council have all the answers. But together, all of us – the community, the staff, and the police have the needed solutions.

In addition, City Manager John Jermanis delivered a copy of a letter-to-the-editor prepared by Police Chief Dale Attarian to each member of the City Council at the December 4, 2007, meeting. This letter will likely appear in the December 6, 2007, edition of the San Leandro Times:

In response to a recent letter ("SL's Mounting Crime Problem" 11/22), I think it is important to clarify for the community what the actual crime trends in San Leandro have been and San Leandro's high priority for public safety.
As Police Chief for San Leandro, I regularly review crime reports and statistics. The most recent San Leandro statistics, which are based on 2006 numbers, actually indicate that crimes such as assaults have dropped 6 percent this past year compared to last year and incidents of even more egregious physical crimes such as rape have dropped by 60 percent.
Although the state and federal reports compile vast quantities of crime statistics, the rankings they create are typically based on a limited number of crime types and may not reflect the full picture of how a community is faring. For instance, what is clear from the latest report is that crimes against property have increased, some by as much as 10 percent (which is also a trend throughout Alameda County), but crimes against persons have dropped substantially. Since the 1990s, San Leandro's overall crime rate has dropped nearly 25 percent and, so far in 2007, San Leandro has seen the lowest crime rate in the past five years.
While even one crime is too many, it should be noted that the San Leandro Police Department works diligently to ensure the safety of our citizens. The City's dispatch center handles roughly 70,000 to 80,000 calls per year and the City's sworn police staff take some 16,000 police reports each year. We provide 24/7 police services and have a strong record of responding to calls for immediate assistance within minutes of receiving them.
We certainly understand the concerns of community members, and want to make sure the community knows that the San Leandro City Council ranks public safety as their very highest priority. We continually monitor crime trends in the city and will apply the necessary resources to effectively combat crime so that our city remains healthy and safe.
Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at December 5, 2007 12:11 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Mike,

The only reason Stephens and the council are talking about crime is because I made a stink about it. Good for me.

The city council is getting ready to attempt to raise a parcel tax for police protection. I suggested to Mayor Tony that he look at cutting things like the museum hours, LINKS shuttle funding, and grants to charitible organizations. Mayor Tony responded that these were all "JUST AS IMPORTANT" as public safety--and twice made mention that reducing greenhouse gas emissions was what he was most worried about.

To me, it's really upsetting when public safety--which should be the number 1 issue--are on par with liberal idiocy issues. But San Leandro's increasingly stupid liberal leadership that caters to low-income folks and wants more low-income housing is what got us here, and it sounds like we're in for more of the same.

Additionally, I told Tony that working with Oakland police and mayor Ron Dellums on crime issue is essential because many of San Leandro's crimes are committed by Oakland residents. To which, Mayor Tony responded, "That's Dellum's problem."

I've lived in San Leandro since 2001. I've implored the city to do something about homelessness, even drafting a city ordinance based on successful ordinances put in place in other states. It fell on deaf ears, and now vagrancy is at an all-time high in San Leandro.

The whole town of San Leandro has quick become the muthalovin' ghetto hood, and is NOT A SAFE PLACE TO RAISE FAMILIES. Even the more "affluent" neighborhoods of Broadmoor and San Leandro are dealing with increased property crimes, and crimes against children. Read what the kids say about local businesses on Yelp.com--our mall is considered more "ghetto" than Southland--that's pretty bad.

Lastly, FBI crime statistics have shown that assaults--not just property crime--but assaults have increased 60%. Mayor Santos has inferred the FBI crime statistics are inaccurate, but those compiled by the San Leandro police department are accurate. Now--to any critical thinker--who has the motivation to spin the statistics--the FBI, or a town trying to put a "spin" on its increasing rampant crime?

Additionally, CQ Press shows that San Leandro is the 9th most dangerous city in California, and it moved up from 130 to 80 in national most dangerous city rankings. You can question the CQ press accuracy all you want--but I'm sure they didn't create their methadology in being "out to get" San Leandro.

Crime and bad schools is the shame of our city, and meanwhile the city council ignores these issues as they get worse. I'm hoping I can sell my two San Leandro properties next year before San Leandro property values drastically come down--when people open their eyes to the town's ineffective leadership and the impact that it has had.

Frank

Posted by: Frank at December 6, 2007 8:13 AM

Mike,

While I do not agree to Frank's racist description of our city, I will say that he was not the only resident who complained about the safety of this city.

Frank was not the only citizen who complained to Bill Stephens. My car had been hit 3 times in 2007. In July 3 it was hit once and July 4 again it was hit. At that time I went before the City Council and informed Stephens that even before his election to his 2nd term I had complained to him about the lighting in the Broadmoor corridor. Nothing was done in his first term. I asked that in his 2nd term that he do something about the lightening. Mayor Young asked the City Manager to reply to my complaint and he said that there was higher priorities than safety at that time.

I let you draw your own conclusions. I am still waiting for Concilman Stephens to do something about increasing the lighting level of the Broadmoor corridor. Whle I would not wish it upon them, it may take something to personally happen to both the councilman and the city manager before anything gets done. My distress is that our city manager gets over $200,000 a year salary and he can't see safety as a priority in this city. I wonder why.

BJue

Posted by: BJue at December 7, 2007 1:19 AM

BJue,

How the hell am I racist just because I complain about crime; and point out that many of San Leandro crimes are committed by Oaklanders?

You don't know me--you don't know who my friends are, or even the race of the person to whom I'm married. Is it cause I use the term "muthalovin' ghetto hood"? Lemme tell you--this slang is what kids of all races from junior high to my age (30s) are using. I can't help it if I'm more hip than most.

Frank


Posted by: Frank Lynn at December 7, 2007 3:21 PM

Sorry Frank, just because its slang doesn't mean its not racist. And yes your entire rant about crime in San Leandro came across like an aryan propaganda brochure.
And museums, and other public programs are just as important to the overall quality of life in a community. I am sorry you are not educated enough to understand that

Posted by: mike at December 9, 2007 10:12 AM

BJue,

You sound like a typical San Leandro liberal. You're self-absorbed (only worried about public safety because it personally affected you), and willing to make personal attacks on others (me) because you can't refute my arguments. You call me a racist and disparrage my education. And since most of the people in charge in this town think like you, I'm going to leave. The crime and schools are only getting worse; so I look at it as an opportunity to get out while the gettin' is good!

Rushing to politicize crime as a racial issue is really an act of racism itself, but the white-guilted liberals of this town have been brainwashed so much by Brian Copeland, SLCAN, etc.; and having the dementia of liberalism, they lack critical thinking skills to realize that. Since I've NEVER mentioned race in any of my editorials, calling me a racist for being upset with increased crime presupposes that crime is caused primarily because of one's race, and not socio-economic factors; and it presupposes that ethnic minorities don't have the same concerns about crime that whites do.

You're the one rushing to judgement about race and crime, not me.

Frank

Posted by: Frank Lynn at December 9, 2007 6:38 PM
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