Lafayette City Council what about the Attempted Murder July 20, 2011

It was a big night for Lafayette police at a recent Lafayette City Council meeting. Two officers were recognized for their fine service, the chief gave his annual report on crime and a presentation was made about surveillance cameras.

Police Chief Eric Christensen called Brad Imhoff an "inspiration" and a "role model" for other officers in the department - he also made the most arrests, all of which contributed to Imhoff earning the coveted "Lafayette Officer of the Year" award. Also recognized was Jacqui Dennison, who was named Contra Costa County's Officer of the Month, singling her out among Contra Costa County's roughly 400 deputies for her work as a detective sleuthing out auto burglars. Lafayette contracts with the county sheriff's office for police services.
Calling Lafayette "a safe place to be at three in the morning," Christensen outlined all of the various crimes against people and property within the city limits. Crimes to people are obviously a top priority, with a total of 18 incidents for 2013, which the chief pointed out as fairly low compared to other municipalities of the same size, although "one is too many."
The six assaults with deadly weapons crimes last year were all solved; typically the perpetrator is not a stranger, but a neighbor, acquaintance or family member, according to police data. There was only one rape and one sexual battery for the year.
The number of stolen vehicles went up last year to 37, mostly older style cars which were pilfered in the downtown area; there has also been a slight increase in auto burglaries.
Out of more than 3,000 traffic stops, 1,400 citations were issued. In addition, the most common traffic collision in town is car versus tree.
The chief explained they focused on reducing the number of residential burglaries last year, which decreased to a total of 61 with jewelry being hands down the most popular item for thieves. While the number of residential burglaries has dropped, many residents are making it easy for thieves - half of the homes burgled had no locked windows or doors.
In related news, the possibility of obtaining images of thieves in get-away cars was studied by the Crime Prevention Commission to improve the safety and security of the community. The city council asked the commission to examine costs and potential effectiveness of various kinds of surveillance mechanisms. Commission chair Cameron Burks described the three types available: Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) which can be monitored or unmonitored, automated license plate reading cameras (ALPR), and motion-activated still cameras. After doing extensive research, the commission found two of the three options were prohibitively expensive, at approximately $600,000 for CCTV and $700,000 for ALPR, and came with the significant downside of having police sort through a substantial amount of data.
Many neighbourhoods already use motion-activated still cameras that have been very effective, with the cost shared among residents. While carefully not mentioning the neighbourhoods that use them, Burke suggested building on the current still camera system seemed like the most efficient option. The commission supports the use of these cameras - which are, at $700 each, a bargain compared to the alternatives.
Councilmember Mike Andersen agreed. "It's clear that it's economical and there are quite a few cameras out there already." He suggested looking for a way to identify gaps in existing camera coverage, and hinted that there may be potential for the city to subsidize some or all of the cost of expanding camera coverage. Looking for further clarification, the city council asked the commission to come back in six months with more detail.


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