Had a story on last week’s State of the City event, a Neighborhood Alert affair at Southland Mall. I ran out of room in the story before I could get to Police Chief Ron Ace’s update on what’s going on with his department, so here it is.
Using the latest available figures from Dec 2009 to Dec. 2010, Ace said crime is down compared with the previous year. Violent crime down 7 percent, property crime down 14 percent, overall down 12 percent.
He acknowledged that 13 homicides for 2010 is a considerable uptick from the previous year’s seven, but noted that six of them happened in the first six weeks of the year, 11 in the first six months.
“It was an anomaly,” he said. “There were a myriad of circumstances, none of them predictable. I’m not sure what we could have done different, but the situation is under control.”
He said the residential burglary rate has gotten a little better, but not entirely died down. “If it’s any consolation, misery loves company and we’re not alone,” Ace said. “It’s like that in every city in the Bay Area.”
He said the force is fully staffed with 191 positions. They’ve trained 29 officers since June 2009, with many experienced police coming in from Oakland, Vallejo, Manteca and Stockton.
He said that full staffing — plus a grant that gave them nine more cops for three years — enabled the department to do a lot of things they couldn’t before. They have a Gang Investigative Unit, and have been running successful SMASH operations, which involve police officers, parole officers and city inspectors descending on problem homes. The SMASH program was presented at a national law enforcement summit earlier this year — if you’d like to see the video, go here and click on “VIDEO.”
Daily Review is tagging along for one of these SMASH deals in the near future — I’m told I’ll get to wear one of those jackets that says POLICE in big letters on the back and everything.
Ace said they are in the process of upgrading the computer aided dispatch system, which they hope to roll out in the Fall. The current system has been in place since 1991. It will make analyzing crime trends much easier, and information will be available in a much timelier manner, Ace said.
Ace also covered a lot of the material in a presentation to the City Council in December.