Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Report out from SARA Meeting: 3/10/09

A crowd of 21 residents (17 of whom were women -- any insights on this gender asymmetry?) joined a whoppin' nine members of the Pomona Police Department (1 woman -- again, insights?) for the March installment of the community-wide Neighborhood Watch meeting. My minutes and musings appear below. Want to know what I found to be the most exciting "oh ah" info without having to do all the pesky reading? Skip to items #3 and #9.

1. Quadrant Commanders, at your service. Acting Chief Keetle is ready to roll out the Area Commander concept. As you may recall from last month's post, each of the four Watch Commanders will serve as the go-to person for questions and concerns about one of the quadrants (map, names, and contact information coming soon). Beginning in May, the four Watch Commanders will take turns facilitating the monthly SARA meetings. The entire community is invited to attend all meetings, though individual meetings will focus specifically on the issues of a given quadrant.

2. Speaking in my best Kai Ryssdal voice, "let's do the numbers." The month of February brought us:

* 36 incidents of shots heard (down from 55 in January)

* 23 robberies (30 in January)

* 11 assaults (19 in January)

* 138 burglaries (146 in January); note, these numbers include auto, commercial, and residential burglaries.

* 83 stolen vehicles (90 in January)

* 41 stolen vehicles recovered by Pomona PD (39 in January)

* 48 stolen vehicles recovered by other agencies (43 in January)

Thus, a bit of drop appears consistently across categories. Of course, there is that whole 28 days in February issue. Pesky calendar.

3. Smile, you're on the graffiti cam! Using "Weed & Seed" money, the city installed two graffiti cameras in a local park (alas, I neglected to write down which park). The motion-activated cameras become operational at dusk. After giving a verbal warning, the camera takes a flash photo. Why the verbal warning you may ask? It is intended to act as a deterrent. Although the cameras have not yet lead to any arrests, we know they are operational because they captured some stunning images of people mingling at a community event one recent evening. Two more cameras will be mounted soon. Personally, I'm hoping for an end-of-the-year slide show -- except if the cameras capture prostitution; I don't want to see that.

4. Ask and ye shall receive. Last month the meeting organizers requested a heads-up about any issues or concerns individuals planned to bring to the March meeting so that the PD could look up info and respond accordingly. Issues submitted by the PomonaWatch blog and the PD responses appear below:

* Illegal DVD and CD sales in the parking lot of the 99 cent only store on Holt and Paloma. PD received just two calls about such sales. If you see anything shady in parking lots -- other than trees -- please call dispatch.

* How many red light and stop light violations? The breakdown is not available. The traffic guru tells us such infractions are considered minor compared to the types of violations that tend to lead to accidents (including speeding, chaotic turns, etc.). Ed, care to take this one? More on traffic violations below.

* How do we get access to press releases? This one is still under investigation. Blogs are a form of media, right? Perhaps we qualify as press.

* If we call the PD about graffiti are we taking an officer off the streets? Yes. But, the report is very quick, especially if the graffiti sits still for its photograph. The officer will be back on the street in no time. So call the PD.

5. Web Watch: Mutant laptops. A bunch of Pomona Unified laptops have sprouted legs and walked away. Please call the PD if you have an info. Another web watch alert came out today concerning graffiti; I haven't seen it yet, but will post it once it arrives in the trusty inbox.

6. The Community Programs office is hoppin'. During the month of February they attended 13 Neighborhood Watch meetings, attended 1 manager/tenet meeting, and made 5 presentations.

7. Citations and Violations. During the month of February, motor officers made 956 citations, 247 impounds, and 3 arrests (I think it is three -- the squiggle on the page could be a 7). During this same period, parking officers made 2115 citations, 31 video citations, 172 impounds, and 11 grand theft auto recoveries.

8. Checking in on check points. During the month of February, check point personell screened 1372 vehicles, impounded 20 of the vehicles, issued 25 citations, and made 4 arrests. Three of the arrests were for DUIs, including one guy who arrived driving on his rims with a 40 ounce beer and a bottle of vodka in the passenger seat. Individuals attending the meeting expressed thankfulness that the check-point protesters didn't divert these drunk drivers around the check point.

9. Three cheers for an impressive downward linear trend! During the February meeting someone asked how the 2008 traffic fatality stats compare to previous years. Check this out:

* 22 in 2003
* 11 in 2004
* 10 in 2005
* 4 in 2006
* 7 in 2007
* 4 in 2008

Does anyone know when the check points started? These are impressive data. I'm curious to know more about the timing of interventions like the check points.

10. Gang hot zones. 1300 block of East Kingsley and 700 block of East End. Call the gang and narcotics hotline with information: 909-802-7477.

11. The not-so-dirty dozen. On February 20th the Police Department engaged in Operation Bed Check in South Pomona. The PD checked 12 different probation locations to make sure individuals were in compliance with court-ordered curfews. Eleven of the people were at home, safe and sound. The parents of the 12th person were easily able to reach him by phone.

Interestingly, while out and about doing the spot checks, the officers happened upon four individuals dressed in black, lugging around a bunch of spray paint. Busted.

12. Another mission accomplished. On March 6 the police department did a truancy sweep which resulted in 105 citations (kids not in school who should have been). You might ask, "Why would the PD spend precious resources trying to get kids to go to school?" Evidently much day-time crime is attributed to truants including burglaries and graffiti.

13. Hard times.
As with other city departments, the PD has been asked to cut its budget by 10%. Acting Chief Keetle aims to do so without cutting sworn personell, noting a city needs its patrols, detectives, dispatchers, and the like. Tonight I learned the city is approved to emply 200 sworn officers but is currently operating with just 183.

14. Mark your calendar.
All are invited and encouraged to attend:

* Police and community forum: An open dialouge. Saturday, March 14th from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM. Hughes Community Center, 1700 Danbury Road, Claremont CA. Police Chiefs from Claremont, LaVerne, Montclair, Ontario, and Pomona will be there to answer your questions. Let's make sure Pomona represents!

* The next community-wide Neighborhood Watch meeting. April 14th from 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM. Council Chambers. Special topic: EMERGENY PREPAREDNESS.


  1. Thanks a bunch for sharing all this. I'll try to make it next month to add some gender equality.

    Did the PD indicate whether the traffic fatalities were vehicle-pedestrian or vehicle only? I'm also curious about the pre-2003 data and whether the 22 fatalities was an aberration.

    Red lights are minor violations? Hmmmm, is that code for we don't really issue many tickets for this violation? No guarantees about the truthfulness of this statement, but I was under the impression that the yellow to red transition was lengthened in Pomona to decrease the red light collisions. I wonder if the 'Pomona Yellow' may partly account for the decreasing vehicular fatalities. If you're not going to enforce red lights, lengthening the yellow is an effective strategy. Do you think it might lead to more speeding, though?

  2. Pride, thanks for the great report! I wanted to make it out there with the wife but ended up getting caught up til about 8pm. I'll mark my calendar for the next one. The information you've provided is excellent.

    Regarding the gang hot zone, does this mean only on those streets? Is that the hottest zone in the city this month? Or if we see activity anywhere do we call that number?

  3. Pride in Garfield ParkMarch 11, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    Skrip, My understanding is there is plenty of other gang activity out there. These zones are just particularly hot. If you see any activity anywhere in the city, call the number. Great questions! Pride

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