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Commercial burglaries up, residential burglaries down

Claremont crime in 2017 was steady compared to the year before, according to a newly-released report.

The report, presented to the city council on Tuesday, details the number of part 1 crimes—which includes murder, rape, car theft, residential and commercial burglary, robbery, assault and arson—committed within the City of Trees.

Overall in 2017, there was a one percent decrease in part 1 crimes throughout the city—1,018 in 2017 compared to 1,029 in 2016.

There were no murders in 2017, the same as 2016; nine rapes in 2017 compared to eight in 2016; 30 robberies compared to 29 in 2016; 35 assaults compared to 28 in 2016; 279 burglaries compared to 290 in last year; 593 thefts compared to 607 in 2016; 67 auto thefts compared to 63 in 2016; and five arsons in 2017, one less than in 2016.

These numbers include both the Colleges and the city. When looking at the city numbers only, burglaries are actually up by two percent, with 255 in 2017 up from 251 in 2016. Reported burglaries were down in the Colleges by 15 percent, from 39 incidences in 2016 to 24 last year.

Breaking it down further, the holding pattern seems to come from the uptick in commercial burglaries—111 in 2017 versus 92 in 2016—coupled with the downturn in residential burglaries—168 in 2017 compared to 198 in 2016.

Claremont Police Chief Shelly Vander Veen told the council the increase in commercial burglaries was in large part due to the dramatic jump in incidents at Extra Space Storage during the first half of the year. As reported previously by the COURIER, the beleaguered storage facility was burglarized 19 times in the first six months of 2017.

Overall, the facility was hit 21 times between January and August, compared to just seven burglaries in all of 2016.

Due to extra security measures installed at the facility, no new burglaries were reported in the final months of 2017, the chief said.

The police department recorded an 11 percent increase in auto burglaries in 2017, at 98 incidences. Chief Vander Veen said this was in part due to the increase of break-ins at the Evey Canyon turnout, which has become a popular destination for hikers.

The chief noted there were 31 burglaries in Evey Canyon in 2017, compared to just six in 2016. While about 16 percent of burglaries at the turnout result in arrest, the perpetrators don’t stay in jail for long, due to early release programs and jail overcrowding.

Chief Vander Veen told a story of a woman who was just arrested Tuesday after being previously caught stealing from Evey Canyon cars a week ago.

“This person pled guilty in her first court appearance, was sentenced to one year in county jail, was released 15 days later and within a week was committing more auto burglaries in Evey Canyon,” she said.

Councilmember Joe Lyons asked the chief if a surveillance camera could be installed to curb crimes in Evey Canyon. The chief noted that shading in the area has caused some difficulties with solar-powered surveillance cameras, but the situation is being evaluated.

There were 90 thefts overall from unlocked vehicles in 2017, which was almost no change from 2016.

Mayor Pro Tem Opanyi Nasiali cautioned that locking car doors at night was a citizen’s responsibility.

“It’s entirely up to each of us in our community to make sure we’re not victims of crime,” he said. 

Mr. Schroeder expressed appreciation to residents for their effort to stay alert.

“We can put a policeman on every corner and you can’t still see everything, so we do appreciate the public’s involvement in that.”

Chamber not happy with Edison

Chamber of Commerce CEO Maureen Aldridge took to public comment to express her displeasure with last Friday’s power outage in the Village.

The outage was initially planned to be over at 6 a.m. last Friday, however, the power was still not on for many businesses throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Ms. Aldridge said 65 businesses have been affected by the outages.

The outages are due to vault construction on Second Street, which has closed down the roadway between Indian Hill Boulevard and Yale Avenue, causing headaches for residents and business owners.

“If Edison knew the work was going to take longer than planned, they should have had a representative in the Village to speak with business owners,” Ms. Aldridge said. “Instead, we had to ask the work crew, who were quite rude and very uninformed.”

Councilmember Sam Pedroza also expressed his frustration, stating that businesses were hurt and the city needs to work with Edison to prevent this from happening in the future.

Councilmember Corey Calaycay said the Village Market, which is at the epicenter of the construction, was not provided a generator by Edison because of their size.

“If they were a supermarket, they would have accommodated them, but because they are a small market they were on their own,” he said.

The council also approved the city’s 2017-2018 mid-year budget. A more comprehensive article will be published next week. The next council meeting will take place March 13.

—Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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