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City remains active addressing Claremont crime issues

Crime in Claremont is at a 34-year low.

A total of 936 assaults, thefts and related Part I crimes—violent crimes against persons and those against property—were recorded in 2013. Last year’s rate, representing a one percent decrease from that reported in 2012, is the fourth lowest recorded in Claremont in more than three decades, according to the city’s annual crime report recently submitted by the Claremont Police Department.

It was pleasant news for many Claremont folks, who have been fighting a surge of neighborhood crime in recent months, particularly residential burglary. In fact, residential break-in rates decreased by two percent this past year, from 163 in 2012 to 159 in 2013, according to Claremont Captain Jon Traber.

Commercial crime rates are a different story. As residential crime rates decreased, commercial burglary rose by more than 89 percent, Capt. Traber relayed. An estimated 121 commercial burglaries were reported in 2013 as compared to 64 in 2012. In fact by May 2013, the reported commercial burglaries for the year had exceeded all of the commercial burglaries reported in 2012, the police captain added.

The Claremont Police Department attributes the swell in commercial crime to a couple of burglary rings that were targeting the Foothill communities last spring. Following their arrests, however, commercial crime rates dropped from an average of 14 incidents in a month to about seven.

The work is far from over. Police continue to collaborate with the Claremont Chamber and local business folk to ensure the city’s business districts remain safe.

“Ultimately it’s just trying to keep people aware and cognizant of what going on,” said Claremont Lieutenant Mike Ciszek.  

In partnership with the area’s first responders, the Chamber continues with its business crime alert email system, notifying shop owners whenever criminal activity takes place within the city’s marketplaces. The alert system remains the Chamber’s most popular correspondence, according to the Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer Maureen Aldridge. She attributes the success to Claremont PD’s enthusiastic partnership.

“It’s really great that our police department is willing to share information and allow us to get it out to our members,” Ms. Aldridge shared.  

In addition to the business crime alert system, the Chamber has set up a “Business Watch” group similar to that of neighborhood watches. With stickers to place in front windows and brochures to hand out to customers, shop owners are equipped with an additional resource to keep crime at bay.

Business owners are also playing their part. Last April, more than 50 local proprietors gathered at the Claremont Chamber to take matters into their own hands. An educational forum with Claremont police provided business owners with the tools they needed to prevent crime. These include installing a proper alarm system—with the police department as the first point-of-contact when the alarm is activated—increasing the lighting at businesses, especially after hours, and refraining from obscuring the view in glass storefronts.

While commercial burglaries are not yet a thing of the past—though only two have been reported recorded so far in 2014, according to Lt. Ciszek—business owners continue to take steps to keep crime out of Claremont’s business centers.

Claremont Lock & Key is not just known for its expertise in supplying local establishments with high-quality security features. Marty Moreno, the store manager, notes his business has taken extra steps to secure their own safety amidst the increased crime. In addition to the shop’s security system, the local locksmith has lined the glass of its storefront with a security film to further deter burglars. The film won’t stop the window from breaking, but will keep it from shattering, says Mr. Moreno.

Mr. Moreno and other shop owners have taken to the Business Watch program, pleased to play their part in keeping Claremont’s business community safe.

“The police can’t be everywhere, it’s important the community does their part,” Mr. Moreno said.

Mr. Moreno and the crew from Claremont Lock & Key will be giving a presentation on their company and security measures at the upcoming Chamber breakfast, taking place this Tuesday, March 11 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Claremont, located at 555 W. Foothill Blvd. The cost is $15 for Chamber members ($17 at the door) or $20 for potential members by reservation only. RSVP by today, March 7, by calling (909) 624-1681 or e-mail marlene@claremontchamber.org.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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