Highlights from the San Mateo County San Carlos Police Bureau’s Town Hall Meeting on June 7.
-Discrete sighs of relief all around when Bureau Chief Greg Rothaus announced to the audience of some 30 citizens that the meeting would last an hour, 90 minutes tops. (It would have been with fewer longish comments/anecodotes, but what’s a polite officer to do?) In fact, the Laurel Street Spy was so impressed by the SC Bureau’s ability to run an event without dragging it out unnecessarily that I think it should take over managing the bloated Academy Awards ceremony. Anyway…
-Placing SC in context w/in California…San Mateo County is safest county in state; San Carlos is a pretty safe city although we have more crime than neighboring Belmont, but less than Burlingame;
-”2009 was one of our busiest years ever,” said Rothaus, with 14 robberies. 2010 trended lower with 11 robberies. Two robberies so far this year. 2010 more than 100 burglaries.
-While San Carlos is safe, it does have crime. Up from early 2000′s, but down from high in 2009.
-Most common offense: property crime (including residential burglary)
-Our weakness: complacency; people think San Carlos is safe so don’t take the necessary precautions to deter opportunistic criminals; too many of us leave car and house doors unlocked; if you leave stuff in plain sight, “You’re saying come and take my stuff,” Rothaus said.
-The SC Police Bureau has launched an effort to keep residents up-to-date on what’s going on through an alert notification system that sends messages to email and all types of cell phones. This includes emergency and non-emergency updates & information, like the one that went out yesterday reporting a rash of thefts from vehicles. It’s called SMC Alert and it’s easy to sign up (I can personally attest), with boxes that allow you to check which cities you’re interested in following. 3,000 people out of 11,000 SC households have signed up and Rothaus hopes many more will do so. “It’s my best venue to communicate with residents,” he said. (Facebook and Twitter are also under consideration for future use) Interested? Go to smcalert.info.
-Since the SM Sheriff’s Office took over police services in San Carlos, emergency response times are basically the same: under 4 minutes.
-Tips to deter criminals: Lock doors (cars & house); leave some lights on, including the front porch at night; consider security features like an alarm system (or a sign indicating one), motion sensor lights for dark backyard areas, beware of dog signs work, too (my black lab who sounded like a Rott was so effective the FedEx guy wouldn’t even step on porch)
-Considering last week’s drug bust at a house in the 1500 block of Greenwood Avenue in the heart of San Carlos, thought this would have prompted lots of questions; no such thing, but one woman who identified herself as a resident of Greenwood Ave. expressed her ongoing concern announcing “They’re back” (you’ll be excused for flashing back to Poltergeist, I did…both announcements being unsettling). “The people are back in the house,” she said, later adding, “It’s very troubling.” (The Laurel Street Spy admits to taking constitutional walks by Greenwood Ave. and has seen what she’s talking about and sympathizes). SC Bureau Chief Greg Rothaus said officers are aware of the situation. “We are watching that house,” he said.
-A couple who identified themselves as residents of White Oaks said they showed up because they were concerned about reports of crime in their neighborhood (whereupon I learned there is a White Oaks Neighborhood Watch, which comes as a surprise to this WON resident)
-Since SC began using Recology’s bins, the incidents of people hijacking/stealing our recyclables has all but disappeared;
-The SC Police Bureau, under the Sheriff’s Office, has redesignated a resource officer to the schools and are working closely with Arundel Elementary on establishing safe routes to the school and are trying to get a handle on the traffic mess during drop-off and pick-up at Brittan Acres; (opinion: if you’ve missed the sight of SUV’s the size of small houses clogging up surrounding streets waiting for tiny children to emerge from class, check it out)
-SC Police Bureau future plans include: another Citizen’s Police Academy in Fall (if I get to carry a pretend Glock-22 in a fake leather holster, I’m in); prepare a traffic report (includes DUI’s) for SC to the City’s Traffic Commission and while this doesn’t impact San Carlos, will be working to transfer the police dept. of Half Moon Bay to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office
-The last part of the meeting was devoted to disaster preparedness, but I think that deserves its own post in the future.
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