PIEDMONT -- Crime is down overall in Piedmont according to the six-month crime report presented to the City Council at its Monday meeting.
There was a total of 157 crimes logged the first half of 2012, compared to 162 for the same period in 2011.
Burglaries were up with 55 reported this year, compared to 45 last year. Most of these are crimes of opportunity while homeowners are at work, or garages, vehicles, windows or homes are left unlocked.
Thefts were down, with 79 for this year, and 94 reported last year. Motor vehicle thefts saw little change, with 19 reported for 2012 so far, and 20 for the previous year.
East Bay communities such as Oakland, Berkeley, Albany and others have reported significant increases in burglary rates, likely attributed to an increase in unemployment and release of "lower level" criminals back into communities due to jail overcrowding.
Two robberies have been reported so far this year, compared to three last year.
Interim police Chief Scott Wyatt noted that both robberies were home invasion robberies, "of great concern to police because of the potential for violence when victims are confronted in their homes."
"Piedmont police pay special attention to patrolling those areas of Piedmont known to be prone to a higher concentration (of crime)," Wyatt said, adding that neighbors "are the best deterrent to crime." Two burglary suspects were arrested after being caught in the act thanks to sharp-eyed
Residents are encouraged to visit the police department website at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/police for crime maps and other useful crime prevention information.
The council voted to create an athletic facilities preservation fund, under consideration since last October.
Beginning this fall, participants in any Piedmont Recreation Department athletic program will be charged $25 per child, per sport as a one-year pilot program. The money will be used for repair, refurbishment and/or replacement of city or school district athletic facilities.
Fees collected for city programs that take place at school district facilities will go to a special preservation fund for the district. Fees generated for programs at city-owned facilities such as Coaches Field or the tennis courts, will go to the city fund.
The school district will not levy any surcharges for its student athletic programs.
The fees are estimated to raise $36,675 for city athletic programs at school facilities, which would go to the district, and $31,900 for programs that take place at city facilities.
The council also supported a use agreement with the Piedmont Swim Team through Dec. 31 for a use fee of $9,000, a $750 increase from the previous agreement.
The team uses the Piedmont community pool for its practices and workouts. The city and the swim team stressed they wish to continue what has been a long-term relationship.