July 3, 2011

District 3 & 4 Town Hall Focuses on Crime and Traffic Projects

Coffee with the COPS Coming This Fall

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy, Councilmember Diana Souza, and Councilmember Joyce Starosciak held a Town Hall meeting for council districts 3 and 4 on June 30, 2011, at the Marina Community Center.

San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli announced a new program for the fall called "Coffee with the COPS," in which officers will come to your neighborhood at your local business or neighborhood association and speak about crime issues in the local area and what residents can do to reduce crime.

After a brief introduction by Mayor Cassidy, Councilmember Starosciak spoke about construction at some San Lorenzo schools, construction of the dog park at Marina Park, and construction of Kaiser Hospital.

During her presentation, Spagnoli first described the capture of a burglar earlier in the day and credited the capture to residents who called it in and a smart officer. Spagnoli started off with programs offered by the San Leandro Police Department, including Neighborhood Watch, Crime Free Business, Crime Free-Multi-housing, and National Night Out.

Spagnoli also described new programs started within the last year: Citizens Police Academy and Teen Police Academy, which give residents the opportunity to learn more about the police and the resources that are available.

On-line reporting, which Spagnoli said "is not a replacement for an officer" is now available at http://sleservices.ci.san-leandro.ca.us/coplogic/start-report.html. Some of the crimes that can be reported include theft, vandalism, fraudulent credit card use, hit & run, and threatening phone calls.

Also in fall, the San Leandro Police will begin publishing an online police activity/arrest log. Spagnoli said that residents will be able to find out what is going on in a specific area when there is police activity - and will also relieve the police dispatchers.

According to Spagnoli, crime overall in San Leandro is up 6% from the same period last year. Spagnoli said that this is not unexpected, since crime last year was at a thirty-year low. She warned that "prison release and parole reform" would have a heavy impact in the Bay Area and San Leandro. The bulk of the increase appeared to be due to murders and rapes, according to the data from her presentation.

San Leandro Officer Tim Degrano spoke about crime statistics for District 3 and 4. DeGrano noted that auto thefts were concentrated at places like Bayfair, Greenhouse Shopping Center and Marina Square, which he described as target-rich environments. Most auto thefts took place during the day. Burglaries occurred evenly during the day and night.

During questions from the audience, Spagnoli noted that the Police Department just moved to an automated answering system for the non-emergency number. Spagnoli said that dispatched handled 65,000 calls last year. With the introduction of e-911 (San Leandro is one of the last communities to begin using this system), an additional 18,000 calls are being routed to the police dispatchers, making the automated system necessary.

Souza asked Spagnoli, "People see fireworks coming from the backyard but they can't see who's doing it - someone in the house can still be arrested, correct?" Spagnoli responded, "We would probably take it [the fireworks] and give them a citation."

Alameda County Fire Chief Sheldon Gilbert noted that the City of San Leandro has re-instituted it participation in the Fire Department's Emergency Preparedness program that had been victim of budget cuts. In this program, the first department helps train communities to be prepared, and map resources and needs in the community.

City of San Leandro Engineers Keith Cooke and Ken Joseph followed with a description of traffic projects in districts 3 and 4, touching on pavement projects and road work associated with the construction of Kaiser Hospital.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 3, 2011 9:46 PM | TrackBack

Residents need to realize that crime is based on opportunity. If the criminal feels confident that he/she can get away with it, they'll commit it. The first defense to prevent a crime in the first place is by removing that opportunity. If vehicle burglary or theft is frequent in an area you park in, why then do many leave doors unlocked, windows down and/or valuables in plain sight?

Crimes against property (burglary) and theft against people (robbery) are also based on the opportunity to get away with it. If you're alone, walk to & from a store close to other shoppers who are also walking to & from the same stores. Prevention is based on common sense. And common sense is one of the best deterrents to crime by removing the criminals opportunity to commit one.

Did you know that from a cell phone, calling 911 gets you the CHP office? You're often on hold for minutes based on normal CHP normal call volumes. SLPD has a local 510 area code emergency number that sends you directly to SLPD dispatch. You should obtain it and store it in your cell phone's phone book. Please do the community a favor......use the number ONLY when a REAL emergency occurs requiring immediate police - fire or medical response.

Posted by: gb at July 5, 2011 9:03 AM

Actually, when you call 911 from a cell phone in San Leandro, you will now be connected to San Leandro Police dispatch. The only exception is if you are on or very near to the freeway - then it will go to CHP dispatch.

Until San Leandro recently joined the e911 system, cell phone calls used to go to a dispatch center in Vallejo.

San Leandro has also implemented an automated phone answering system for its dispatch system, so you will no longer talk to a dispatcher (at least not right away) when you call the non-emergency number.

Posted by: Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 5, 2011 9:18 AM

If you are the victim of a crime in San Leandro, best thing to do is call a realtor.

Posted by: Frank Lynn at July 7, 2011 11:36 AM
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