February 10, 2017 Newsletter

Crime in the Elmwood

Over the past few weeks, our neighborhood has experienced an uptick in high-profile robberies. I take this very seriously and have been working with the Berkeley Police Department and our City Manager to address these issues.

I have set up and attended neighborhood meetings with Berkeley police officers and am willing to help your neighborhood if you haven’t reached out to me. I also encourage your neighborhood, if you haven’t already, to set up a neighborhood watch organization.

To form a group or join a Neighborhood Watch, please contact the Community Services Bureau at 510-981-5806. After your initial meeting, a local beat officer will attend your regular meeting to provide information about crime conditions in your neighborhood, crime prevention, and ways to focus on safety in and around your home. Our Berkeley Police Department Area Coordinator is Officer Sean Tinney stinney@cityofberkeley.info

For more information on how to get started, please visit http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Police/Home/Neighborhood_Watch.aspx

Also, please download a neighborhood watch packet here.

Please remember to always report theft incidents that don’t require immediate police attention. For instance, if you accidentally left your car unlocked overnight and someone rummaged through the vehicle, it is very important to report that via the online crime reporting system. BPD meets regularly to determine where/if they need to allocate more officers in a particular area. Reported incidents can influence how many officers are allocated to a particular area. Please remain vigilant.

Finally, I will continue to discuss with City management beats, staffing, and circulation throughout our district in order to ensure we are utilizing our City resources appropriately and employing effective strategies to deter crime. I share your concerns in wanting Berkeley Police Department to have a plan to suppress robbery and I support efforts to address crime in our neighborhood. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have further questions.

Elmwood Business Vacancies

I have been meeting regularly with our Economic Development director to address vacancies in the Elmwood. He reports that there are no new issues or “red flag” root causes threatening the overall economic health of the district. Some of the businesses have closed/are closing for unrelated and unique situations. For instance, Jeremy’s and Lululemon were thriving over the past year with record sales, but the owner of each business chose to pursue other opportunities.

That said, there is a decades-long trend of non-food retail sales being generally flat in Berkeley, primarily due to competition from the Internet and big box retail in neighboring cities. It’s been tougher to find new, independently-owned retail businesses that are looking to take over new spaces. That’s why I think it’s incredibly important to patronize our local businesses on College Avenue!

Nevertheless, the vacancy rate is still within the bounds of what is considered “healthy” and our Economic Development Director feels confident those spaces will be filled shortly after vacancy.

Your Input is Needed to Help Berkeley!

Use the City's new online engagement tool – Berkeley Considers – to provide input on the Berkeley Strategic Plan, a blueprint to guide City priorities for improving our service to the community.

The survey, which will take less than 10 minutes to complete, is an opportunity for you to communicate what you think are the most important issues facing the Berkeley community. The input from you and others' will inform the goals and priorities included in the Berkeley Strategic Plan, which will serve as a guide for how we allocate our time and resources over the next two years and beyond.

Access the Strategic Plan survey on Berkeley Considers through Tuesday, February 28th.

Read more at CityofBerkeley.info