PLEASANT HILL -- Residential burglaries have fallen sharply since police arrested two suspects believed to be responsible for a rash of break-ins, according to Police Chief John Moore.
In the first six months of this year, residential burglaries decreased by 44 percent compared to the same period in 2012, records show. Through the end of June, there have been 55 burglaries, down from 98 last year.
Police identified the suspects, searched their Pleasant Hill home and arrested them late last year.
"We've been able to attribute approximately a dozen residential burglaries to these individuals and at least a half dozen commercial burglaries," Moore recently told the City Council.
City Manager June Catalano appointed Moore police chief a few weeks ago. Moore, a 28-year veteran of the Pleasant Hill police force, has been interim chief since Pete Dunbar retired at the end of September.
At the July 15 council meeting, Moore reviewed the 2012 crime statistics and updated the council on crime in the city through the end of June.
Calls for service are up slightly from a year ago, but there has been a 20 percent drop overall in the category of crimes that includes homicide, rape, robbery, assault and domestic violence. Although property crimes are down 7 percent overall, the number of commercial burglaries increased from 35 in the first six months of 2012 to 59 through the end of June -- a 69 percent jump.
Moore said he hopes commercial burglaries will fall in the second half of the year because police have arrested three suspects who allegedly stole from lockers at the Irvin Deutscher Family YMCA over the past few months.
"The arrests resulted in the clearance of 13 cases in Pleasant Hill," he said. "In addition, it appears these suspects may have been responsible for similar thefts in Concord, Walnut Creek and San Ramon."
Although thefts from vehicles are down, Moore urged residents to be more diligent about removing laptops, purses, GPS systems and other valuables from parked cars. Thieves troll areas where large numbers of cars are parked looking for small items to swipe, he said.
Moore said the department is pushing to beef up the neighborhood watch program.
"I'm a strong believer that this interaction with the community certainly helps us to reduce crime because they're the eyes and ears of what's going on in their neighborhoods," he added.
Through June, felony arrests are up 12 percent over last year and misdemeanor arrests have increased by 5 percent.
From 2010 to 2012, Pleasant Hill had an average of one murder every other year and two to three rapes per year, records show. On average, there were 52 robberies and 46 aggravated assaults annually. Domestic violence incidents accounted for slightly more than one-third of all reported assaults in the city, Moore said. There were 157 residential burglaries and 78 commercial burglaries per year, on average.
Mayor Michael Harris lauded the police department's efforts.
"I'm especially appreciative of the cooperation that you've given to the YMCA," Harris said. "I'm the chair of the YMCA and I know that has been a real sore point for us and you guys have been very, very helpful in making sure that those thefts of opportunity don't occur in the future."
To review the full list of Pleasant Hill's crime statistics, visit the city's website at www.ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us.
Contact Lisa P. White at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.