Council approves added police officer to Claremont city force

Claremont’s budget success is coming back to the community in the form of a new part-time police detective. The Claremont City Council approved the $30 an hour, $32,500 a year job Tuesday.

In the wake of the passage of the Public Safety Realignment Bill in October 2011, police are seeing an increased number of low-level offenders released from county jail. In Claremont alone, police have seen a 10 percent increase in arrested persons who are either on active parole or probation.

With increased repeat lawbreakers out on the streets as a result of this legislation—up to 30,000 over these next several years—Captain Jon Traber and councilmembers believe the added patrol will help deter criminals from making a stop in Claremont.  

“Realignment is the thorn in our eye at the moment and we need to deal with it,” said Mayor Pro Tem Opanyi Nasiali, with unanimous support from the rest of the council.

As it is, Claremont has seen a 7 percent increase in Part I Crimes over the past year. Part I crimes are comprised of both violent offenses against persons (homicide, rape, robbery, assault) and those against property (burglary, theft, auto theft and arson). In 2012 there were 947 Part I crimes reported as compared to 2011’s 887, according to Capt. Traber. Of these offenses, 40 were violent, as compared to 33 in 2011, while 907 comprised of property crimes.

Over the last several months, police have seen an uptick in property crimes—home invasions and auto thefts have kept the Claremont community on heightened alert. Capt. Traber believes this is a direct result of the realignment bill.

“In some cases before the ink on the report is dry these folks are coming back or being released,” Capt. Traber said, adding, “We continue to follow up on those crimes as they occur and make arrests.

Though acknowledging the recent burglary increase, Capt. Traber noted that crime in Claremont remains significantly below the city’s all-time year high of 1,661 Part I crimes, which occurred in 1985.

The most effective way to combat these crimes is to remember the 3-prong approach, reminded Mayor Larry Schroeder—lock doors, keep belongings out of sight and report any suspicious activity. Community watch groups, like north Claremont’s Keeping Good in the Neighborhood, are another key way to keep local crime at bay, added Claremont Police Chief Paul Cooper.

“The people need to be our eyes and ears,” Chief Cooper said.

—Beth Hartnett



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