Community Programs & Crime Prevention

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The Crime Prevention unit or "Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving" (COPPS) is staffed by our Crime Prevention Technician, Michaelia Parker. She is responsible for coordinating Neighborhood Watch, Business Watch, Citizen Police Academy, Alameda Bike Safety, Community Outreach, APD's social media, (Facebook, AC Alert, Twitter, Instagram), and has been specially trained in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).

Office hours are Monday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The Alameda Police Department hosts quarterly community beat meetings in an effort to create direct lines of communication between residents and the APD officers and lieutenants who directly serve your jurisdiction. Community members will learn more about activities in their neighborhoods and have the ability to collaboratively address public safety matters in their direct area. These meeting are intended to be attended by residents and business owners who reside in their designated beat in order to collaboratively work together to formulate and address concerns that directly impact their immediate neighborhoods.  


Use the button below to search and RSVP for the next meeting in your respective community beat.  


Find Your Next Beat Meeting

The City of Alameda’s Community Police Academy is intended to strengthen the relationship with the community by giving the community a better understanding of how their police department operates and how they can contribute to the community.

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Program Overview

The Community Police Academy takes is held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. over the course of 8 weeks. The sessions are conducted at the Alameda Police Department and other Alameda locations. Participants are responsible for their own transportation. 

Throughout the program, participants will engage with APD officers and personnel while covering a variety of topics – officer onboarding and training, patrol procedures, dispatching, collision investigations, traffic, investigations, marine patrol, and more.

The academy concludes with a graduation ceremony. All graduates from Alameda’s Community Police Academy are welcomed to apply for APD’s Volunteer in Policing (VIP) program to assist in future department events and programs.

The course is not intended to train any participates as a law enforcement official or other roles in any capacity.

Program requirements

  • At least 18 years of age;
  • Resident or business owner in the City of Alameda;
  • Willing to undergo a cursory background check;
  • Not convicted of any felonies;
  • Not convicted of any misdemeanor in the past year.

Applications can be completed online or picked up in person at the police department. Completed applications should be returned to the COPPS Unit,


Apply Today

The Special Needs Awareness Card is intended to provide the Alameda Police Department with specific information that can help our team best support and communicate with residents with special needs or disabilities during a call for service. Should a call for service be initiated that includes your loved one, the information provided can assist dispatchers and officers with relevant information to help foster positive interactions during an incident.  

Individuals themselves, parents, or legal guardians may enroll a person of any age with any type of medical condition or disability. Examples include but are not limited to, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Bipolar Disorder, and Down Syndrome.  


Submit An Awareness Card

The Alameda Police Department is committed to the safety of our children.  Children involved in motor vehicle collisions run a great risk of death or serious injury.  A properly installed child safety seat can greatly reduce these factors. California law states each child MUST be properly restrained in a child safety seat, booster seat, or other restraint systems in the back seat, until the child is 8 years old OR at least 4'9" in height.

Free car seat inspections and installations 

We offer free child safety seat inspections and installations conducted by our Car Seat Inspections Specialist, Bob Rollins. Weekday inspections/installations are by appointment only, please contact Bob Rollins, 510-337-8590, to schedule an appointment. Weekend inspections/installation are also available at select times during the year without an appointment. 

CPTED is a multidisciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental improvements. Research into criminal behavior shows that the decision to offend or not to offend is more influenced by cues to the perceived risk of being caught than by cues to reward or ease of entry. Consistent with this research, CPTED based strategies emphasize enhancing the perceived risk of detection and apprehension.

The CPTED process requires a homeowner or business's participation and involves the following steps:

Assessment: The first step is to assess the property in question. This includes a comprehensive evaluation of the physical layout, existing security measures, and potential patterns of crime or concerns. 

Analysis of crime trends: With the help of our Crime Analyst and Records Department, we will generate reports based on reported crimes in the immediate area of the property for the previous two years. 

Design and planning: Based on the assessment, a report of the findings and suggestions for improvement is developed using the CPTEP principles. This may include changes to landscaping, lighting, access control, and other design elements.

Implementation: Once the report is completed, the suggestions can be put into action. Some changes, may require collaboration between architects, city planning, and other community stakeholders. 

How long dose a CPTED assessment take to complete?

The process of a full CPTED assessment can take up to three weeks to complete. The completion of a CPTED report can vary depending on the number of individual requests. If you would like a CPTED evaluation done or would like more information regarding any other COPPS program, please contact the Crime Prevention Unit. 

What is a Neighborhood Watch?

Neighborhood watch programs are intended to build a sense of community while keeping crime out of your neighborhood. A neighborhood watch meeting is like a community gathering where residents come together to discuss and address local safety concerns. It's a proactive way to enhance neighborhood security by fostering communication and collaboration among residents. Typically, these meetings involve discussions about recent incidents, sharing safety tips, and planning strategies to prevent and address potential issues. The most effective approach to fighting crime is a proactive one - stopping it before it occurs. This can happen when neighbors cooperate with each other to assist the Department.

How do I start a Neighborhood Watch Program?

Gauge Interest: Talk to your neighbors to see if there's interest in forming a neighborhood watch. You can do this through informal conversations, social media, or by distributing flyers.

If there is interest, but lack of participation, remind your neighbors of the following:

  • Neighborhood watch groups and meeting are self coordinated and run. 
  • Neighborhood watch is a partnership between neighbors to assist the APD in the reduction and fear of crime.
  • Neighborhood watch does not require frequent meetings.
  • Neighborhood watch does not ask anyone to take personal risks to prevent crime.
  • Neighborhood watch is a great way to keep everyone informed and circulate ideas. 
  • When appropriate, invite different subject matter experts to expose neighbors to new technologies, topics, or crime prevention techniques.  APD personnel can be requested to addend occasional meetings to answer questions about crime and provide information about the current crime trends.

Schedule a Meeting: Choose a convenient time and location for the first meeting. It could be at a community center, someone's home, or a local park. Make sure to advertise the meeting to maximize attendance.

Create an Agenda: Plan what you want to cover in the first meeting. This might include introducing the concept of a neighborhood watch, discussing local safety concerns, brainstorming ideas for improvement, or inviting guest speakers.

Use your first meeting as an opportunity to get to know each other, assign roles, discuss recent events, share safety tips, and begin creating a neighborhood map and/or directory. 

  • Distribute nametags/introductions
  • Make opening remarks
  • Provide simple refreshments to create a relaxed atmosphere. 

Select a Block Captain.

The role of the Block Captain is to:

  • Oversee and arrange neighborhood watch meetings.
  • Create the meeting's agenda.
  • Be a spokesperson for the group.
  • Serve as a liaison between APD and the neighborhood watch group.
  • Recruit neighbors to share the responsibility of hosting meetings.
  • Maintain a list of all members.
  • Designate work assignments such as enrolling new members, vacation home watch, block parents, neighborhood patrol, fund-raising, secretarial duties, developing and maintaining block maps and crime prevention material distribution.

Neighborhoods could choose to have co-captains or create committees to help distribute the load.

Develop and distribute maps

A map will help members give APD precise information when reporting suspicious activity in your neighborhood.

  • Identify the Block Captain(s).
  • Provide the name and addresses of homes and identify the ones with burglar alarms.
  • Identify seniors and/or neighbors with health or mobility problems who may need special attention.
  • List the make, model and license plate numbers of vehicles at each home. Help neighbors by letting them know which vehicles belong there during daytime hours.
  • Update and reissue maps when any information changes.

Gather and share information.

Knowing more about your neighbors, their vehicles, and their daily routines will help you recognize unusual or suspicious activities. Consider exchanging the following types of basic information with your neighbors:

  • Home and work telephone numbers.
  • Names, ages, and the number of family members or residents.
  • Work hours.
  • School or day-care hours of children.
  • Planned vacations or visitors.
  • Scheduled deliveries or repairs.

Guest speaker ideas

  • Cyber security expert
  • Home security expert
  • City planner or urban designer
  • Self-defense instructor 
  • Fire prevention 
  • Beat officer
  • Drug prevention specialist
  • Social services or CARE Team representative 
  • Security camera representative 
  • Alarm system company
  • Identity theft protection ' fraud prevention expert 
  • Psychologist / counselor to address psychological aspects of safety, such as managing stress or fear.
  • Emergency preparedness coordinator / CERT (AFD)

Maintaining a neighborhood watch program

After your neighborhood watch is established, be sure everyone understands and observes the following guidelines:

  • Be alert to unusual or suspicious behavior in your neighborhood. Write down descriptions of suspicious person(s) and license numbers and call APD when necessary.
  • Tell a trusted neighbor if your house will be unoccupied for an extended period.
  • Look after your neighbor’s homes when they are away and ask them to look after yours. This includes picking up mail, newspapers and storing trashcans or recycling bins.
  • Remember your job is to report the crime,  leave the apprehending of criminals to the police.

Remember, the success of a neighborhood watch depends on active participation and ongoing communication. It's a great way to build a stronger, safer community!

Reporting a crime

Eyewitness information is the key to solving many crimes. The following tips will assist you when reporting a crime to the APD.

Tell dispatchers/officers as much as you can. You may be asked the following when reporting a crime:

  • Who, What, When, and Where?
  • How many suspects were there?
  • Can you describe the suspect(s)?
  • Can you describe their vehicle(s)?
  • What was/were the license plate number(s)?
  • What did they do?
  • What did they say?
  • What did they take?
  • Which way did they go?

As a reminder on how APD dispatches calls for service,  we prioritizes resources based on apparent danger to human life on in-progress crimes that can result in personal safety. Officers will arrive as soon as possible. Do not attempt to stop or detain the suspect(s) yourself.

What is suspicious?

Anything that seems even slightly "out of place" or is occurring at an unusual time of day or night could be considered criminal activity. The following are some obvious things to watch for:

  • A stranger entering your neighbor’s house when it is unoccupied.
  • Screams or yelling for help could indicate a person is in distress or a crime is in progress.
  • Anyone removing accessories, license plates, or gas from a vehicle should be reported.
  • Anyone peering into parked vehicles.
  • Persons checking car door handles.
  • Persons entering or leaving a place of business after hours.
  • The sound of breaking glass or loud explosive noises.
  • Persons loitering around schools, parks and secluded areas.
  • Persons appearing to tamper with locks or secured areas. 
  • Vehicles and/or individuals following mail carriers and appearing to take mail and/packages after they have been delivered. 
  • Anyone forcing entry to, or tampering with a residence, business, or vehicle should be reported. 


To aid in the success of your neighborhood watch we have provided a suspect and vehicle description form to assist when reporting a crime. This document can be printed and used to note key pieces of information that may enhance your capabilities to be a good witness.

Suspect & Vehicle Description Form(PDF, 994KB)

APD's camera security camera registration program is a crime prevention and investigative program used to help deter and solve crimes.

The voluntary program allows businesses or residences to register the location of their privately owned surveillance camera(s) to assist the Police Department in solving crimes in and/or around your neighborhood.

How it Works

Many community members currently operate surveillance systems at their businesses and/or homes. However, when criminal incidents occur nearby, private surveillance system operators are not always aware that their cameras may have captured vital information that could help solve a crime.

The purpose of registering your cameras is to make law enforcement aware of the locations of surveillance systems around the city. With this knowledge, APD can quickly identify cameras and obtain important information that can assist in the apprehension and prosecution of involved parties. Please note, APD officials will not have direct access or monitor your privately owned surveillance systems.

Upon registering your camera(s), your system will be added to APD’s registry and will only be reviewed, with your cooperation, if an activity occurs in or around your area. The provided information will not be shared or made public. Registered parties would only be contacted by APD personnel if a review of their surveillance footage is needed. Please complete the Security Camera Registration form on our Crime Graphic's website. 

Register Your Cameras

Take Action with Signs

Signs are a great crime preventative measure and can be an effective deterrent for criminal activity. Let potential criminals know that you are working with the Police Department by printing and displaying one of our S.E.E signs in your windows or on the doors of your homes and businesses.

Residential Signs(PDF, 546KB) Business Signs(PDF, 548KB)

Firearm Disposal

To request a pick-up by the Alameda Police Department, please call our non-emergency line, (510) 337-8340, and request for an officer to respond to your home or business for a firearm disposal. Please advise our APD dispatchers of the location of the firearm and whether or not the firearm is secured in a case, a gun safe, or is secured with a locking device.


You can bring your firearm to the police station for disposal. If you choose to bring your unwanted firearm(s) and/or ammunition to the Police Department, please do so by transporting your firearm(s) in a locked container in the trunk of your vehicle. Once at the police department, leave the secured firearm in your locked trunk and advise our staff of your arrival.

Firearm Security

Safely storing firearms can play a role in the number of gun thefts, violent crimes, suicides, and a child's access to unsecured weapons.

Here are a few measures you can take to safely secure your firearm:
• Store firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, or gun vault.
• Store ammunition separately in a locked location.
• When not in use, keep firearms unloaded.
• In addition to a secured storage unit, use a gun lock to render the firearm inoperable.
• Immediately unload, clean, and store your firearm securely after each use.
• DO NOT give minors access to storage unit codes or keys.
• Never store keys or codes for security units near lockboxes/safes.
• Educate children on the dangers of firearms and remind them to never touch a weapon if one is found in a home.


The Alameda Police Department offers free firearm cable locks to the public. Locks can be pickup at the Police Administration Building located at 1555 Oak Street. 

In an effort to enhance your home security you must make your residence an unattractive target for burglars. 

Secure your home

  • Many burglars simply enter through an unlocked door or window, keep unattended windows and doors locked and closed at all times. 
  • Entry doors should be solid stock (not hollow core) with a deadbolt that has 2 -3' screw.
  • Place a wood or metal rod snuggly in window track for extra reinforcement. 
  • Keep garage doors closed when the garage is not in use.  
  • Reinforce or screen skylights, ventilation ducts or fire escapes.

Light, camera, stop their action

  • Ensure that you have adequate and functioning exterior lighting to deter criminals. 
  • Illuminate home/business address so it can be easily read at night. 
  • Consider motion sensor lights near parked vehicles and entry points - front door, back door, and side of the home. 
  • Place lights on timers to give the impression that someone is home if you will be away for the evening.
  • Consider installing security cameras aimed at walkways, parking areas, porches and/or backdoors. 

Landscaping & signs

  • Eliminate hiding spots by cutting away overgrown bushes or trees near windows or doors. 
  • Consider planting spiny/prickly/thorny shrubs around ground level windows. 
  • Prominently display Neighborhood Watch or We S.E.E decals in windows or on doors. 
  • Use "Beware of Dog" signs. 
  • Create a visible boundary with fencing to act as an obstacle and eliminate quick exits for burglars. However, avoid using solid fences that can provide hiding spots. 

The increase in vehicle burglaries is apart of a natural trend. Vehicle burglaries are often a crime of opportunity car owners unknowingly make their vehicles tempting to a thief by leaving windows open, doors unlocked or valuables in plain view. Auto burglaries can lead to additional crimes, such as identity theft. 

Lock up!

  • Make vehicle entry difficult; lock car doors, windows and trunks. 

Protect your belongings

  • Never leave valuables visible in a vehicle. 
  • Remove items when leaving the car, or at the very least, conceal and secure valuables in your trunk before reaching your destination. 
  • Do not leave chargers or GPS/cell phone mounts visible in cars. These items give the impression that something of value may be in the car. 
  • Never leave garage door openers in your vehicles. These devices can be used to enter a home at a later time. 
  • Avoid leaving forms of identification in your vehicle. 

Park Carefully

  • Always park in well-lit areas. 
  • Consider installing motion lights in or around the area you park at when at home. 
  • Avoid parking behind shrubs, large vehicles, walls, etc. 
  • Report poorly functioning or broken street lights to the appropriate city maintenance department. 

Due to the variety of ATMs, the unique characteristics of each installation and crime considerations at each location, no single formula can guarantee the security of ATM customers. Therefore, it is necessary for ATM customers to consider the environment around each ATM and various procedures for remaining safe when using an ATM.

Criminals often select victims who are unaware or unprepared. There are a number of things you can do to increase your personal security and reduce your risk of becoming an ATM crime victim.

  • Walk purposefully with confidence. Give the appearance that you are totally aware of your surroundings
  • Be aware of your total environment and what is going on around you.
  • Follow your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. Remember that your personal safety is the first priority

Tips when using an ATM

  • When possible, it is always best to use an ATM located inside of a bank during business hours.

  • Do not select an ATM at the corner of a building. Corners create a blind area in close proximity to the customer’s transaction. Select an ATM located near the center of a building. An ATM further from the corner reduces the element of surprise by an assailant and increases effective reaction time by the user.

  • Identify an ATM with maximum natural surveillance and visibility from the surrounding area. This will create a perceived notion of detection by a criminal and increases the potential for witnesses.

  • Avoid ATMs with barriers blocking the line of sight. This includes shrubbery, landscaping, signs, decorative partitions or dividers. Barriers provide hiding areas for would-be assailants.

  • Avoid ATM locations with large perimeter parking lots and numerous ingress and egress points.

Considerations before and during a transaction

  • Always watch for suspicious persons or activity around an ATM. Be aware of anyone sitting in a parked car in close proximity or at a distance from the ATM location
  • If you notice anything strange, leave and return some other time. Even if you have already started a transaction, cancel it and leave.
  • Minimize the time spent at an ATM machine by preparing any transaction paperwork before you arrive.
  • Maintain an awareness of your surroundings throughout the entire transaction.

  • If you get cash – put it away immediately. Do not stand at the ATM and count it.

  • Never accept offers of assistance with the ATM from strangers; ask the bank for help.

  • When using a drive-up ATM, be sure your vehicle doors and windows are locked and continue to be aware of your surroundings. 

  • During the evening hours, if the lights around the ATM are not working properly, do not use it.

  • During evening hours, consider taking a companion with you to the ATM. 

  • When leaving an ATM location, make sure you are not being followed. If you are being followed, drive immediately to the local police department.  

  • If you are involved in a confrontation and the attacker is armed with a weapon and demands your money or valuables, GIVE IT TO THE SUSPECT. Do not resist, property may be recovered later or replaced.

What is a carjacking? 

A carjacking is the felonious act of taking a motor vehicle from another person by force or fear.  

Scenarios to be aware of 

The Bump and Run - You are rear ended. A passenger from the vehicle that bumps you jumps into your driver seat when you go to assess the damage and exchange driver information.

The Trap - Carjackers use surveillance to follow the victim home. When the victim pulls into his or her driveway waiting for the gate to open, the attacker pulls up behind and blocks the victim's car.

The Stop - Carjackers will drive in front of you, often at a reduced speed, in the hopes you will drive closely behind them. They will abruptly stop and the occupants will jump out and approach your vehicle. 

Reduce your risk 

  • Approach your car with the keys in hand. Lock your car doors once you get inside. 
  • Always keep your door locked and windows rolled up (or at least part-way) when driving 
  • When you’re coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense trouble and need to get away.
  • Don’t stop to assist a stranger whose car is broken down. Help instead by driving to the nearest phone and calling police to help.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings when sitting in a car. Carjackers often look for unsuspecting targets. 

  • Often, luxury and sports cars occupied by just the driver are targeted by carjackers. But a carjacking can occur to any type of vehicle. 
  • Equip your vehicle with anti-theft/GPS
  • For drivers with a push-start capabilities, keep your keys on your person. If you are forced out of the vehicle and can immediately flee the scene, this will increase the chances of keeping your keys  in your possession and reduce the carjacker's ability to take your car. 
  • Key your cellphone in your pocket. 
  • If you feel like you are being followed drive to your local police department or call 9-1-1 and remain on the line with dispatchers until help arrives.