Oakland cops weren’t shy with their advice to Montclair residents last week. First, they want to hear about any problems you may see, even small things. Second, they want us to lock our cars and houses.
While this fatherly advice seems pretty simple, I’m admitting to guilt on both counts. I often dismiss things that might be suspicious AND I frequently leave my doors ajar. Maybe it’s time to stop singing Que Sera Sera.
Sandra Pohutsky, who attended this village meeting, explained that “Sgt. Bernard Ortiz and Officer Melvin Bermudez want to know all the problems that are happening in Montclair so that they can recognize patterns and do something about it. They get a list each day of our complaints.”
While I enjoy sharing what’s happening around town, my instinct is to clam up about experiences that seem minor. For example, I’m one of many locals who have been solicited for magazines. I didn’t ask to see the seller’s license nor did I get paranoid about him casing my home. So I have officially spoken up now.
Saying something can make a difference. The cops told a story about the “Sierra Club Solicitor” who committed 200 burglaries statewide. One Montclarion was solicited and then noticed this nice guy rummaging around his neighbor’s backyard. By calling 911, our local hero helped nab a hardened criminal.
For reference, here’s how to share anything suspicious:
- Emergencies by land line – 911
- Emergencies by cell phone – 510-777-3211
- Non-emergencies – 510-777-3333
Besides the cops, the Montclair Safety & Improvement Council is a citizen group which encourages everyone to share issues they see in the Village; their Yahoo message board is a great vehicle to ask questions. This group delivers priorities to Oakland cops and city officials about recurring matters.
So the ball’s in our court, to actively communicate with cops and watchdog groups. Except for the Nina Reiser murder, the crimes are petty ones around here. Yet it’s still possible to raise awareness and lower the thefts, by reaching out when something’s amiss.