PIEDMONT -- Crime is considerably down in the city, police Chief Rikki Goede reported to the City Council at its Monday meeting.
The biggest decreases were in robberies and burglaries as residents became more vigilant and aware and officers kept a sharp eye on the city. There was only one robbery reported for the period of January to June 2014 compared with eight for the same period in 2013.
Burglaries were down 59 percent with 30 reported this period compared with 74 for the same period last year. Thefts decreased, with 55 reported so far this year compared with 60 for the same period last year. Motor vehicle thefts declined with 23 this reporting period compared to 27 in 2013. Assaults, most of which are domestic disputes, were up by one, with four reported this period compared to three during the same period last year.
Total reported crimes for January to June 2014 were 113 compared with 173 last year. Automated license plate readers continue to be a key component to investigations and arrests, Goede said.
In the second quarter, the license plate readers led to seven arrests and provided information for six investigations, including two robbery suspects wanted by neighboring jurisdictions, she said. They also helped track the whereabouts of an elderly woman driving who had been reported missing.
There was a total of 2,229 plate "hits" so far this year, leading to the recovery of 12 stolen vehicles. The readers also track registered sex offenders and crime suspects.
There was only one Neighborhood Watch meeting held the second quarter. Goede encouraged more neighbors to form watch groups. Councilwoman Teddy King suggested getting the word out through school parent clubs. For the first half of the year, 324 cases were closed, 23 open and 144 inactive. Closed case dispositions include arrests, citations, traffic matters and property only.
The council also reviewed a presentation by IT specialist Rick Kitson from the city of Cupertino. City Administrator Paul Benoit invited Kitson to take a look at Piedmont's aging technological infrastructure, which Kitson did for no cost.
"There are some alarming things in this report," Councilman Tim Rood said.
Namely, Kitson noted that Piedmont staff are overburdened with trying to maintain the city's technological needs. City Clerk John Tulloch also serves as the IT manager. Kitson recommended reorganizing staff for technology management and creating an IT staff position, among other steps.
Tulloch noted there are several pressing IT issues, including the transition from Windows XP, which was discontinued by Microsoft, to Windows 7, and glitches in efficient connections between the city and the Recreation Department, Public Works and corporation yard.
Benoit is compiling a list of IT consultants and residents who might serve on a task force to inform the city of perceived technological needs. The council supported moving ahead wisely and prudently to address the problems.
"Information technology is ever-changing," Kitson said. "It can be a bane and a blessing."
Crime maps by neighborhood and other helpful police information can be found at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/police.