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By Henrietta J. Burroughs
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Posted on Friday, June 3, 2011  
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The latest crime statistical report released by the East Palo Alto Police Department shows that, while overall crime in East Palo Alto is down by ten percent, certain types of crime in the city have increased. Burglary is up by one percent and larceny is up by thirteen percent.

According to the report, there were three rapes in May of 2010, but there were four in May of this year, an increase of thirty three percent.  While there were nine robberies committed in May 2010, the crime report shows that there were 11 robberies committed in May 2011, an increase of twenty two percent.

The increase in shootings and gun-related incidents this past May is of particular concern to the police and to city residents, since there were five gun-related incidents last month and none in May 2010. In the last crime statistical report released in March 2011 by the East Palo Alto Police Department, there were two gun-related incidents.

East Palo Alto’s Police Chief Ron Davis said that these increases, while small, are still of concern to the police department, given the recent jump in violence throughout the Bay Area (Click here to see the complete Crime Statistical Report - May 2011 & YTD.).

 “We want to make sure that this is not a prelude to a violent summer,” Davis said.  In responding to the current crime increase, the East Palo Alto Police Department will continue the special enforcement operations (funded by DOJ grants) that target those involved in gangs, drugs and violence.

Davis added that the East Palo Alto City Council “has authorized $200,000 for community and faith-based organizations to implement summer youth programs. The Police Activities League (PAL) will implement additional youth programs during the summer and host a Youth Summit in August (thanks to DOJ grant funding).  The Police and community are continuing with Operation Ceasefire and will conduct the third “call-in” in July. “

In describing the other activities that his department was pursuing to combat crime, Davis mentioned the formation of the department’s anti-graffiti task force, which will develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce graffiti in the East Palo Alto over the summer.

Davis said, “Graffiti is much more than the defacement of public and private property; it is a language that is used by gangs to declare ownership of a neighborhood and, in some cases, call for violence.  We must respond aggressively to this growing problem and make it clear that the only people who own a neighborhood are the families that live there.  Our response to this challenge will be holistic and address not just to the taggers (those responsible for the graffiti) but the root causes of their destructive behavior as well.”

In ending his remarks, Davis said that he is confident that with the community’s collaboration and the strategic focus of available resources, East Palo Alto will “end this year with the lowest crime and violence rate in over 12 years.” 

To contact the author of this article, email Henrietta J. Burroughs at epatoday@epatoday.org.


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