OAKLAND -- Amid the revamping of the Oakland Police Department, the hills area has been assigned a new problem solving officer, Jason Trode.
Problem solving officers work on larger crime-related issues, in cooperation with the community, to solve crimes in order to prevent their reoccurrence. This policing strategy focuses on the underlying problems that contribute to crime, targeting the elimination of these problems at their roots.
Trode was introduced to approximately 40 residents who attended the monthly meeting of the Montclair Safety Improvement Council, the Montclair area's Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council.
Trode attended Montera Middle School and graduated from Skyline High School in 1992.
Trode has spent six years on Oakland's police force, and four years as a problem solving officer. His last assignment included working on the North Side Gang Injunction and covering Uptown.
"I grew up in the area," Trode said. "I want to remind you that you live in a wonderful area. You are doing the job we can't do right now. You are the eyes and ears of the police department."
Burglaries are by far the most frequent crimes in the hills area; however, home-invasion burglaries are on the rise, Trode said.
"I get my statistics the old-fashioned way, by reading reports," Trode said. There were 20 burglaries in the month of January in the Montclair area. Fifteen of the homes had no alarm systems; three more had alarms; however, they were not activated at the time. Seventeen of the perpetrators gained entry by kicking in the front door, which is how 95 percent of the burglaries in the area occur.
The numbers of burglaries in the nearby Woodminister neighborhood are even more dismal. They are experiencing two to three incidences a night, said Angie Haller, a steering committee member of the Montclair Safety Improvement Council, as well as a member of the Community Police Advisory Board and the chair of The Citywide Neighborhood Watch Program.
"If it happens there, it can happen here. They travel around," said Jill Broadhurst, chairperson of the Montclair Safety Improvement Council.
These burglars are usually in and out of your house within minutes, said Trode, who suggests that the single best deterrent is an audible alarm that can be heard from outside of the house.
While burglaries in the Montclair area have dropped from 33 incidents in January 2012, Trode is "shooting for zero".
The hills area, defined as Beat 13, is the largest beat in the city. The beat runs from Joaquin Miller Road to the south, Skyline Boulevard to the east, the Berkeley border to the north and the Piedmont border and Broadway to the west.
For more information, contact the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/montclairsic/ and MDISC for discussions http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MontclairDisc/