BRENTWOOD -- Brentwood officials announced at a public safety forum last weekend that there has been a 12-percent drop in most crimes citywide this year.
The Saturday morning event at the Brentwood Community Center was attended by about 40 residents. Many of the attendees are active members of some of the city's 65 Neighborhood Watch groups.
"We don't want to take back our neighborhoods. We want to maintain our neighborhoods," said Brentwood Police Community Services Officer Michele Keady.
According to Keady, Brentwood police officers have arrested four burglary rings with connections to the 117 residential burglaries reported in Brentwood so far this year.
She added that there have been 58 auto thefts and 54 auto burglaries in 2013. Keady provided tips on how to avoid being the victim of these "quality of life" crimes.
"Burglaries are the most difficult to solve because they are in and out," she said. "All you can do is make yourself a hard target."
Keady encouraged local residents to protect their homes by installing motion detector lighting, utilizing alarm systems, planting landscaping like cactus that deters unwanted visitors and signing up for Vacation Watch when out of town.
Brentwood Police Detective Mike Thompson's message was aimed at parents and the digital safety of their children in this age of fast technology.
He urged parents not to be afraid of monitoring their child's Internet usage and becoming tech-savvy with the latest apps and programs popular among the younger generation.
"Educated parents equals safer kids," Thompson said. "Just because your kids are fluent in new technologies, doesn't mean that they have the wisdom we have."
Thompson advised that smart phone and Internet usage among adolescents should include open communication with parents and clear boundaries like checking the phone or computer in with parents before bed time.
The forum also featured home fire safety information and a CPR demonstration from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
"I want us to constantly keep growing and thinking about crime prevention," said Keady to the audience. "We want you to stay connected and get that information."
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174.