PIEDMONT -- Crime is down in the city for 2013, police Chief Rikki Goede reported to the City Council at its Monday meeting.

In her year-end crime report, Goede noted that crimes overall decreased 11 percent from 2012, with 353 crimes reported in 2012 compared with 317 for 2013. Robberies were up, however, with 13 reported for last year compared to six for 2012. Four of the robberies took place in the Grand Avenue area with victims having smartphones, purses, wallets or jewelry snatched from them.

There also were four home-invasion robberies in early 2013.

Street robberies are a growing national trend, Goede said. Oakland has seen a 70 percent increase in these types of crimes, particularly from people who are not paying attention while they walk, heads down on their smartphones.

A bill has been introduced in the state Senate in February that would require manufacturers of electronic devices to have systems in place that would allow the devices to be quickly disabled if stolen. If it passes, it would take effect in January 2015.

Assaults were down from 14 in 2012 to 10 last year. Burglaries also were down, with 116 last year compared to 135 in 2012. Motor vehicle thefts were up slightly, with 50 last year compared to 47 in 2012. Thefts were also down with 126 last year and 151 for 2012.

The installation of license plate readers, formation of more Neighborhood Watch groups and more officers on the Piedmont police force have all taken a bite out of crime, Goede said.

Residents can visit the department's website at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/police to view a map of crime incidents and locations.

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