Crime Prevention

IMG_3218 (2).jpg

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, NIXLE, Twitter, Instagram), We S.E.E. program, 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.

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. If you would like a CPTED evaluation done or more information regarding any other COPPS program, please contact the Crime Prevention Unit.

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

CPA week 5_51.jpg

Program Overview

The Citizen Police Academy takes place Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. over the course of 11 weeks. The sessions are conducted at the Alameda Police Department, with the exception of an Alameda County Santa Rita Jail tour. 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, the SAFE schools program, traffic, canine unit, special investigations, property crimes and more.

The academy concludes with a graduation ceremony. All graduates from Alameda’s Citizen 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, COPPS@Alamedaca.gov

Apply Today

What is a Neighborhood Watch?

Neighborhood Watch programs are intended to build a sense of community while keeping crime out of your neighborhood. This crime prevention program enlists the active participation of residents in cooperation with the APD to reduce crime in their communities. It relies on the best crime-fighting tool ever invented - a good neighbor - neighbors are able to get to know each other to develop a program of mutual assistance. The program allows neighbors to be educated in crime reporting and suspect identification techniques.

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?

Talk to your neighbors. Are they interested? If they are, remind them of the following:

  • 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.
  • When requested, APD personnel will attend your meetings to answer questions about crime and provide information about preventative measures.

Coordinate your first meeting

Set the meeting date and time that is convenient for your neighbors as well as the APD representative that will be attending. If you are anticipating a small group, consider having the meeting at a neighborhood house.

First meeting

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

The APD technician or officer will cover the following:

  • Crime prevention tips.
  • Specific crime problems in the area.
  • How residents can become the Department's "eyes and ears" and assist them with criminal investigations.
  • How to report a crime and what to look for when providing a description.

Select a Block Captain.

The role of the Block Captain is to:

  • Oversee and arrange Neighborhood Watch meetings.
  • 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.

If the Block Captain resigns or passes the responsibility, notify APD.

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.

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.

REPORTING 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?

Remember due to our emergency call load, APD prioritizes their responses based on apparent danger to human life. 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 criminal activity. The following are some obvious things to watch for:

  • A stranger entering your neighbor’s house when it is unoccupied.
  • A scream heard anywhere might mean robbery or assault.
  • Offers of merchandise at ridiculously low prices may mean stolen property.
  • 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.
  • A sound of breaking glass or loud explosive noises.
  • Persons loitering around schools, parks and secluded areas.
  • Persons loitering in the neighborhood who do not live there.
  • Anyone forcing entry to, or tampering with a residence, business, or vehicle should be reported. 

Resources

To aid in the success of your Neighborhood Watch we have provided a suspect and vehicle description form to assist when reporting a crime.

Suspect & Vehicle Description Form(PDF, 994KB)

S.E.E. 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 S.E.Eing with APD 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 S.E.E. 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 S.E.E database 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

Register Your Cameras

Take Action with S.E.E 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)

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. 

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.