Q: What is the most frequently committed crime in Berkeley, and what are some tips to prevent it?
Answer by Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss S-6 BPD Public Information Officer.
A: We, the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD), would like to focus on a category of crime to answer this very important question. Property Crimes such as theft, burglary and auto theft have been the greatest crime challenges that the City of Berkeley community has consistently faced over the years.
Small lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in reducing these crimes. Making an effort to close and lock all of your home’s/apartment’s doors and windows are valuable crime prevention measures that deter many burglaries. Approximately 40 percent of all residential burglaries in the City of Berkeley are accomplished through open windows, open doors, unlocked windows and unlocked doors.
Please do not leave your personal property unattended such as bikes, laptops on café tables, purses in shopping carts —we think you get the idea.
In addition, the best proven deterrent to auto theft is a steering wheel locking device. They are relatively inexpensive and yet, opportunistic auto thieves will chose a car without one 100 percent of the time. We have to get in the habit of using it whenever we park anywhere. We recover many stolen cars with the steering wheel locking device on the floorboard or on the backseat.
BPD officers would like to be everywhere when a crime is occurring, but the reality is, we cannot be. Getting to know your neighbors is a simple means to create community and look out for one another. It has not only saved lives, but has led to the arrests of suspicious individuals in neighborhoods with warrants, as well as burglars during and/or after the crimes.
Remember to focus on behavior. What is the person doing that is making you feel uncomfortable.? Some say, “Go with your gut.” This method can make it easier to articulate why the individuals are suspicious or acting suspiciously.
Community collaboration is one of the most essential elements in successful policing. We thank all of you that have supported us over the years in making notable arrests.
BPD encourages you to call regarding suspicious activity or individuals. Please call the BPD 24-hour Non Emergency Dispatch line at (510) 981-5900. For crimes in progress – threats to life or property, call 911 or (510) 981-5911 from your cell phone.
The following table is an excerpt of the 2009 and 2010 FBI UCR (Uniformed Crime Report) reflecting the Property Crimes statistics for those years. Each city reports to the FBI. Follow the link below here further details.BERKELEY 2009 2010 Population 102,700
Violent Crime 615 533 Murder 6 5 Forcible Rape 27 23 Robbery 444 365 Aggravated Assault 138 140 Property Crime 6,467 5,943 Burglary 1,079 1,088 Larceny-Theft 4,661 4,240 Motor-Vehicle Theft 727 615 Arson 21 25 Total 14185 12977
Sgt. Mary C. Kusmiss is a 16-year veteran of the Berkeley Police Department.