The San Ramon City Council is set to hear the police department’s 2017 annual report Tuesday night.
The report includes data on the city’s crime rates, staffing and an analysis of the department’s preventative programs -- including police recommendations for future steps, especially in light of the upcoming City Center and a recent uptick in certain crimes.
“While our crime rates are still low, in comparison with surrounding communities, we are addressing these increases with enhanced programs designed to enlist assistance from the entire community,” wrote interim police chief Dan Pratt in a staff report. “These programs are designed to enhance our various Crime Prevention efforts by increasing public awareness of the issue and working closely with our various community partners.”
The city’s total number of recorded offenses has gone up over the past five years from 798 in 2013 to 1,075 in 2017. The most dramatic increase was seen from 2016 to 2017, when the total number of offenses went up by 211 -- a fact Pratt says could potentially be attributed to recently passed state laws.
“Reductions in sentencing and elimination of jail time for some criminal offenders when caught, and the early release of ‘nonviolent’ felons back into the community may have led to a sharp increase in some crimes throughout the state,” Pratt wrote.
Most of the crime increase consisted of property crime, he said, especially theft-related offenses and robbery. Notably, there have been no murders committed in San Ramon since 2013, according to Pratt.
Staffing-wise, SRPD has been operating at less than full staff, due to the long hiring process and the fact that two replacement officers hired in 2016 did not pass the Field Training Program, according to Pratt.
Currently, the department is in the process of hiring and training new sworn officers, but are also seeking to bring on two non-sworn support staff members: an evidence technician and police service technician.
Pratt said that the upcoming San Ramon projects -- in particular City Center, but also The Preserve, Outpost, Chang and Alcosta Senior housing projects -- are expected to create an additional need for police services, considering that traffic and criminal activity will probably increase with the new developments. However, he said, the specific demand won’t be able to be determined until the projects are completed.
The report also includes a proposal to proceed with the installation of “Automated License Plate Readers,” a system that would assist in crime prevention, Pratt said, by “alerting law enforcement to stolen or wanted vehicles and providing investigators with data on vehicles entering and leaving the vicinity where crimes have been committed.”
The license plate readers have already been implemented in neighboring jurisdictions like Danville. San Ramon police are looking to mount 18 readers and 72 situational awareness cameras on overhead traffic control device arms at certain “chokepoints,” or the highest-trafficked roadway segments used to enter and exit the city.
The readers have been included as one of the Capital Improvement Projects, though their installation isn’t currently designated in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget. The project’s initial estimated cost is $780,000, with annual recurring fees of $56,000, though it is scalable depending on the number of “chokepoints” covered, Pratt said.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Council Chamber at City Hall, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.
In other business
* Mayor Bill Clarkson will officially proclaim March 2018 to be American Red Cross Month.
* Clarkson will also recognize the sponsors of the 2017 “Building Bridges” event: Chevron, The Home Depot, Safeway, PG&E, Rewoodd and Waste Management.
* The council will hold a public hearing for an ordinance that would allow the proposed shared autonomous vehicle transportation service to operate within the city limits.
* Council members will consider approving a resolution that would increase the franchise fee charged to the city’s refuse hauler, with fees used for pavement preservation and repair.
* The council will consider two resolutions that relate to The Preserve development.
The first would order the formation of the Preserve Landscaping and Lighting District, confirm its diagram and assessments and levy the assessments for fiscal year 2018-19.
The second would confirm the annexation of The Preserve into Landscaping and Lighting District No. 1984-1 Zones 1 and 2.
* During a closed session beginning at 5:30 p.m., the council will instruct City Manager Joe Gorton on issues related to the sale of the real property located at 9000 Alcosta Blvd.
* During a special meeting starting at 6 p.m., the council will hold a workshop update on the 2018-19 City Council goals.