As you know, burglaries are one the more common crimes around the Oakland Hills and they tend to occur in neighborhood waves. Typically an unknown car is seen, some guys (at least so far) are walking around and visiting neighbors, and ultimately homes are hit.
“Casing vehicles and persons are a daily occurrence in Oakland,” said John Sebastian, who runs Safety Dynamics. “The only effective viable solution is to flood the area with marked patrol cars on a regular basis so that anyone casing will just go somewhere else. It is impossible to stop criminal activity altogether…you can only hope to push it out of your area.”
What Oakland Cops Do: Our city police are assigned to cover the “beat 13” areas of Rockridge and Montclair, and they patrol areas around our neighborhoods. Besides paying attention to what’s been formally reported by residents, officers serving Montclair also receive a list of monthly priorities from the Montclair Safety Council.
We are trained to call and let the Oakland Police know about suspicious-looking activity. There are different levels of alerts, and spotting unfamiliar folks isn’t exactly an emergency because there’s no actual crime underway. Still this has played out pretty consistently, and the descriptions help cops ultimately nab burglars.
What Private Patrols Do: Some residents are looking for additional reinforcement, and they hire private patrols for more security and protection. These services can fill in the gaps because they patrol 24×7, and can respond to homes or businesses within five minutes. They still respect and work with the cops, who are alerted first by alarms – but act as backup for their clients.
Private patrols can bolster the safety of entire blocks, too. In the Estates neighborhood, the local watch group recently confirmed that a black Chevy Suburban had been spotted in the area and later served as “getaway car” from a home burglary. They shared this beta with private patrollers, as well as city police.
Demand Is Steady: “Crimes in this area are a serious problem in our view,” explained John Sebastian. “I do not think that any where else in America would the frequency of armed robberies, auto thefts and home burglaries be tolerated.”
Sebastian’s been running a local private alarm and patrol service for 17 years in the Oakland Hills, primarily covering the 94618, 94705 and 94611 zips. My guess is that business is pretty good for Sebastian and his competitors. It makes sense to have a third eye out there, if you can afford to protect yourself.
We continue to rely on the Oakland Police, who have stepped up their responsiveness. But constant coverage of your own home or business is ideal, and that won’t happen anytime soon from the public dole.