March News: Community Safety Mtg, Ohlone Greenway Funding & More

Hi Neighbor,

I was disheartened to hear about the multiple reports of auto break-ins in District 1 locations over the last month. On Feb. 21, 23 car break-ins occurred at the N. Berkeley BART parking lot; and the following evening, several blocks in West Berkeley experienced more than 50 car burglaries. According to Police Chief Jen Louis, the victimized areas in West Berkeley include residential parking lots in the 2000 blocks of Fourth and Fifth streets, 1400 block of Seventh Street, 800-1000 block of Jones, 900 block of Cedar, 1400 block of Santa Fe and possibly the 2700 block of Acton. The perpetrators primarily rifled through center consoles and glove boxes. Police investigators are following leads taken from security cameras installed close by.

I have introduced and supported Council items requesting security cameras at key locations that serve as entry and exit points to the City, which have been shown to deter and reduce crime. I have also supported the acquisition and use of automated license plate reader (ALPR) technology. The ALPR technology captures images of license plates and allows law enforcement agencies to identify and compare plates against those of cars driven by people suspected of being involved in illegal activities. This automated tool enables safer and better policing. The Berkeley Police Department is working closely with public works staff to prepare for the installation of security cameras and ALPR technology at key locations chosen based on crime data and efficacy. Installation is planned for this spring.

Please join me this Thurs., March 14 at the West Berkeley Family Wellness Center (1900 Sixth Street) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., where we’ll be joined by Berkeley Police Sgt. Kevin Kleppe and another staff member from our Community Services Bureau to talk in greater detail about public safety and answer your questions.

Today at 4 p.m., Police Chief Jen Louis and other members of the Berkeley Police Department will present the 2023 Police Department Annual Report. This is the most comprehensive report to date that covers department staffing and workload, crime data and investigations, road safety and collisions, stop data, and use of force. You can join the meeting in person in the BUSD Board Room at 1231 Addison Street or via Zoom. Finally, the Berkeley Police Transparency Hub is updated regularly so you can find accurate information on stop data, calls for service, use of force, crime data and trends, as well as traffic collision data.

In this newsletter:

  • Park in a well-lit, secure area when possible
  • Lock your vehicle and roll up the windows. If you have an alarm, set it. 
  • Leave nothing of value in the vehicle
  • Remove all personal identifying information from the car: Consider taking photographs of insurance cards and DMV registration rather than leaving them in the glove box.
  • If you must leave items in the car, store them out of sight. Put items in the trunk before your arrival so no one sees you do it.
  • Hide charging cords: Someone may break in just to see if devices are attached.
  • If you must leave devices in the car, turn off Bluetooth and WiFi, put devices in airplane mode or turn them off completely to avoid detection.

Residents can report suspicious activity through the BART Watch App, a free mobile app available that allows you to quickly and discreetly report criminal or suspicious activity directly to BART Police. For crimes in progress or emergencies at BART, please call 911 or 510-464-7000. BART Police can also be reached via text message for non-emergencies at 510-200-0992. The Berkeley Police non-emergency number is 510-981-5900.

Ohlone Greenway Safety Improvements Fully Funded

I’m so pleased to share that the Ohlone Greenway Safety Improvement Project has been selected to receive $3 million from the Measure RR Safe Routes to BART grant program. With this award, this important safety project is now fully funded. According to our Interim Public Works Director, the design will be finalized later this year with construction beginning in early 2025.

This project will bring much-needed safety improvements to the pathway:

Volunteers at Golden Bear Homes (Photo: CC Miksza).

  • Widening to a standard 12 feet (where feasible);
  • New lighting;
  • Wayfinding; and
  • Crossing improvements at 7 intersections, including raised pedestrian crossings (4), median refuge islands and/or bulb-outs (5), rectangular rapid flashing beacons (2), two-way cycletrack connector at Peralta to connect raised crosswalks, a new marked crosswalk, and repaving

You can view the final conceptual plan HERE, and Project Information Sheet HERE.

My Budget Request for a Permanent Bathroom at James Kenney Park

At tonight’s Council meeting, the Council will consider my budget request for $160,000 to renovate an existing permanent restroom at the James Kenney Community Center to make it ADA-compliant and permanently accessible to all park visitors.

A new permanent restroom facility has recently been installed at Strawberry Creek Park and soon other District 1 parks, including Cesar Chavez Park, Harrison Skate Park, Ohlone Park and Tom Bates Sports Field will see new or renovated restrooms thanks to our Measure T1 infrastructure bond. If this item passes tonight, it will be considered for possible funding during our budget process in June.

Photo: City of Berkeley

Hygiene Drive for Formerly Homeless Residents

Thank you so much to all of our kind and generous neighbors who donated gently-used winter coats and other winter clothing items to residents of Golden Bear Homes and the Berkeley Inn. All donated items have found new homes and the recipients are reportedly very happy.

This month, we are requesting hygiene products for our formerly homeless neighbors at Golden Bear Homes and the Berkeley Inn, including unused and unopened shampoo, conditioner, bars of soap or body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and body lotion

Please see drop off details below:

Golden Bear Homes: 1620 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley

Donation drop-off details: Please drop off Monday to Friday anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the main office. If no one is in the office when you arrive, please call Resident Manager De’Anthony (510-776-7664) for assistance. Please do not leave items outside.

Beyond the Horizon at the Berkeley Inn: 1720 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley

Donation drop-off details: lease drop off Monday to Friday anytime from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the main office. Please do not leave items outside.

Please feel free to reach out to my office with any questions about this effort: 510-981-7110 or