Thursday, August 22, 2013

OPD Meets with Merchants and Residents to Offer Tips on Fighting Crime

A rash of robberies in the Rockridge area, including a robbery of a KGO producer which led to discussion of crime in Oakland at that radio station this past weekend, led to a get together this morning with area merchants, residents and Oakland Police Department (OPD) Area 2 Captain Anthony Toribio at the Rockridge Library.

Toribio offered a few comments about OPD strategies and staffing and responded to questions.  The Captain told the group that many of the robberies were occurring between the hours of 10 pm to 2am.  To try to add patrols at that time he indicated that Problem Solving Officers (PSOs) who usually had their work shift ending at 11pm were being re-scheduled to have their shifts end at 2am.  He also indicated that where swing shift and graveyard shift overlap (that 10pm to 2am time frame) extra patrols would be made available.   

Efforts are also being made at OPD to better manage response to emergency calls.  Toribio indicated that in a recent three month period patrol officers were being asked to respond to 42 calls during a 10 hour shift. This means officers are moving call to call almost the entire shift rather than patrolling. By making appointments, postponing non-emergencies and better allocation of officers, Toribio hoped to free up more officers to engage in regular patrols.  He did indicate however that officers, including Crime Response Teams, are often called to parts of the city facing higher rates of violent crime.

Toribio was asked about Neighborhood Watch and he encouraged people to join and be involved.  He did emphasize that people should observe and report and not attempt to engage a suspect.  When asked about the hiring of private patrols, Toribio expressed support for the idea and said he directed his officers to get to know private security personnel in their areas.  Toribio did say any private patrol should be identifiably and professionally dressed, he suggested they should patrol an area and engage people (rather than just standing against a wall) and they, like citizens should be eyes and ears and not crime fighters themselves.

People were encouraged to keep their property well lit, porch lights as well as lighting on the side of buildings.  The use of security cameras was also encouraged.  And in addition to monitoring your own property it is permissible to aim cameras in public space as people do NOT have a reasonable expectation of privacy in those public spaces.
Among the 45 people who turned out this morning were Chris Jackson of the Rockridge BID, Paul Junge of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Oakland City Council member Dan Kalb. 


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