Police to Debut New Street Crimes Team

Four-person unit, funded mostly by grants, will tackle ongoing problems the force otherwise hasn't been able to focus on.

With a boost from grant funding, the is close to debuting a new four-person team to focus partially on relationships with property managers at apartment complexes and other multifamily housing units with an eye on curbing street crimes.

Chief of Police Joseph Kreins said a $1.1 million grant secured earlier this year will allow a team of two officers, a corporal and a management analyst to coordinate efforts with the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force, the Cooperative Probation Enforcement team and other law enforcement agencies. The new beat, which starts in July, will not be geographically restricted within the city limits.

The three-year grant plus a commitment by the city to cover a fourth year allows the department to jump from 55 sworn officers to 58 — still below the 63 officers Novato police had as recently as five years ago.

"I would think the response from the community would be overwhelmingly positive," Kreins said. "There have been concerns about issues relating to gangs, graffiti and crime trends, so I think they'd receive this in a positive way.

"These officers are going to go out there and attack problems on a sustained basis, not just as a two-week task force. We'll be doing this for three or four years. Sustainability is the key to solving any problem."

The street crimes unit, which will be known as the Novato Response Team, will not only have a geographic free reign but also work shift flexibility.

"If we have a bunch of auto burglaries, we can put them on that ... if we have an issue with a gang, we can put them on that ... if we have problems in a particular multifamily unit, we can put them on that," Kreins said. "Their purpose is to be a problem-solving team, more directed toward ongoing chronic issues — things we haven't had the resources to get to for an extended basis."

Novato had 361 felonies committed from Jan. 1 through April 30, down from 484 the previous year. The total misdemeanors for the same time span was 949, down from 1,042 in 2011.

"Crime is down, contrary to what some people believe in our community," he said.

Kreins said he remembers meeting with former city manager Dan Keen about eight years ago when Kreins first came to Novato.

"I walked right into his office and told Dan I needed a team like this," Kreins said. "I said, 'Gimme three people and I'll be thrilled.' But that was right when the budget started to turn south on us. Now that we have it, we think it will be very successful and well-received."

Funding for the Novato Response Team will cover officer salaries and several one-time equipment purchases, the chief said.

Novato Chess Club June 15, 2012 at 02:27 PM
it would be nice if we could cut down the thefts from cars between 2-5 am on the streets of Novato--it is getting to be an epidemic---people checking door handles:-) good lord --all night long
Mark Burnham June 15, 2012 at 02:43 PM
let me get this straight. crime is down according to the police department. crime doesn't emanate from affordable housing projects according to housing advocates. but now we are funding a four person team that "focuses on relationships with property managers at apartment complexes and other multifamily housing units with an eye on curbing street crime". i don't get it.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr June 15, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Good plan. I still distrust "crime statistics" given.
Trish Boorstein June 15, 2012 at 03:24 PM
What ever happened to our stalker on Vineyard that Channel 7 news covered for the Bay Area and Novato didn't even get a alert sent out to community nor a report in our local paper? Oh wait, crime is down, never mind.
Answerme June 15, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Not sure how successful "neighborhood watches" are, but how many does Novato have?
Bob Ratto June 15, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Oh, you got it, alright. At least the report did not say this crime was caused by Caucasian Motorcycle Gangs...
Tina McMillan June 15, 2012 at 05:07 PM
This is a good thing. The hard part is funding after the first two years. We need to find more ways to increase the city's revenue sources. Focusing on downtown and on accessing funds to create parking that will serve the new businesses and the theater could be a boon to sales tax. As it is we will have a year or more of construction with even fewer places to park. Having the police focus on property crime, drug related crimes and gang activities is wonderful. Now, how will we pay to keep them?
Ajay June 15, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Thanks to the "reputable" John Stewart Company and their "best practices" with multi-family housing, here is another serious arrest at Bay Vista Novato's multi-family affordable housing, pimping children. Our task force will be busy. Folsom, Amari - (M/B) Age: 19 Map It 2 Hutchins Way Novato , CA 94949-4505 NOT Verified Address -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reported: 05/15/2012 by Crime Reporter: 7200 Crime Report #: 7065095 Source: Marin SD F PC266H Pimping F PC288(B)(1) Forcible Lewd Acts Upon A Child 266I (A) Bail Amount: 100000 Residing in Crime Beat Zone: Marin County
Ajay June 15, 2012 at 08:02 PM
The John Stewart Company manages Bay Vista. Here is another arrest for rape and threatening of life. The media omitted the arrest was affiliated with Bay Vista. Kiruri, Benjamin - (M/B) Age: 35 Map It 2 Hathaway Novato , CA 94949-4528 NOT Verified Address -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reported: 05/09/2012 by Crime Reporter: 7200 Crime Report #: 7047613 Source: Novato PD F PC422 Threats Of Violence F PC262(A)(1) Rape Of Spouse F PC422 Threats Of Violence M PC417(A)(1) Exhibit Deadly Weapon Other Than Firearm M PC417(A)(1) Exhibit Deadly Weapon Other Than Firearm F PC262(A)(1) Rape Of Spouse Bail Amount: 300000
Ugo Innocenti June 15, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I am glad to see that the Novato PD is becoming more proactive. When I ran the Crime Prevention Bureau in the 70's we had more than 40 neighborhood watch groups. Our program was selected by the Governor as one to be contacted by other law enforcement agencies interested to start a similar program for their cities. I would try to run quarterly meeting with all of them to discuss what was going on in their area. We also got involved with the Kiwanis Club and the Chamber of Commerce and started a Business Crime Prevention program. Then from the 80's on the CPB was placed under the control of a Community Service Officer instead of sworn officer. Now I don't know if the Crime Prevention Bureau and the Neighborhood watch are still active. Ugo Innocenti NPD sergeant (retired)
Ajay June 15, 2012 at 08:07 PM
There are so many arrests at Bay Vista, I won't be able to post them all. Why is the John Stewart Company allowing all of this crime? We might as well just send the Task Force to Hathaway, Modoc and Hutchinson Way and plant it there until The John Stewart Company starts doing their job OR their current management is sent packing. Gully, Christian - (M/B) Age: 22 Map It 2 Hathaway Novato , CA 94949-4528 NOT Verified Address -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reported: 06/06/2012 by Crime Reporter: 7200 Crime Report #: 7130639 Source: Marin SD F PC273.5(A) Inflict Corporal Injury On Spouse/Cohabitant F PC245(A)(1) Adw Or Assault W/Force Likely To Produce Gbi Bail Amount: 0 Residing in Crime Beat Zone: Marin County
Victor H. June 15, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Crime is down? Obviously not at Bay Vista! Another mark for THE HALL OF SHAME to be added to City Manager, Michael Frank's resume. I heard he wanted to cut more cops/police services on the last budget crisis! That way he can hire all of his friends from Pittsburg PA to draw pictures for us at $50,000 and call them signs for the downtown.
Rick Voorhees June 15, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Crime is is increasing in Novato, I had my car broken into near the front of the Safeway store off of Delong on a Sunday evening around 7:15. We were in the store no less then 10 minutes and my car was parked 20 yards from the front of the store during daylight with people coming and going and these lowlifes pulled up next to the passenger side smash the window and stole my Iphone from my cup holder which is not easily visible. As I came out of the store they were along side the car and took off in a matter of seconds, with no one seeing anything....The store has cameras but they said nothing was on the video. So whats the point of having video cameras if they can't pick up cars in the parking lot. Crime is on the rise and will continue do so....
M. Calwald June 15, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I lived my entire life in Novato and the crime is up and up and up....AND our services are down, down, down. We have SO MUCH nonprofit housing that doesn't pay into our city yet people like Judy Arnold and her beloved SUNN worshipers just want more and more and more without putting into the pot. How is that sustainable? The Novato taxpayers and schools are severely burdened with all of this nonprofit. There are gangs now in our schools. Our elementary schools have children bringing in weapons. The Board of Supervisors and Michael Frank's and the City Council's vision is to destroy Novato with too much of Marin's social problems. We have over 33% of Marin's low income housing YET only 20% of Marin's population WITHOUT extra police services. If more high density multi-family housing comes to Novato, the city better find the money (as the nonprofits won't pay) to provide more police. Because the cops have to clean up the problems that high density housing brings in. That's just the truth.
M. Calwald June 15, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Look around Novato. Noone is smiling. It use to be everyone was waving and saying hello. Not any longer. WELLS FARGO BANK in HAMILTON got robbed again (I didn't hear THAT in the news) and the WFB at SAFEWAY got robbed again at Diablo. Windover's ATM?
M. Calwald June 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Crime is down? Funny.
Rick Voorhees June 15, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Car was locked...phone was not easily visible do you read english...
Susan Clark June 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Novato has changed forever. Gone is the innocence of a small town. It's funny how city managers can make such negative changes and within 2-5 years they move on to their next town as city manager or should I say their next victim. Do you think they give a damn about the impact their decicions make? Nope, They just move on while we live with the impact!
M. Calwald June 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Susan I don't think Michael Frank could get another job anywhere else. What city would want him? Here is another arrest of a Wyndover resident. He can't handle Wyndover's crime and he can't handle Bay Vista's crime. He has his head in the sand and blocks it out as he relishes in his new city hall. Collins, Marjorie - (F/K) Age: 45 Map It 805 Diablo Novato , CA 94947-4068 NOT Verified Address -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reported: 06/14/2012 by Crime Reporter: 7246 Crime Report #: 7153780 Source: Oakland PD 166(A)(4)_ Bail Amount: 00010000 Residing in Crime Beat Zone: Marin County
Edwin Drake June 18, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Perhaps if the Novato PD actually patrolled and made themselves visible, instead of hiding behind shrubs and buses and lurking to give out traffic tickets. The NPD needs to be on the street, constantly seeing and being seen. My gosh, the Westamerica Bank was robbed the other day and it's, literally, a stone throws from the police station. Where's Andy Taylor when you need him? All we have are Barney Fifes. (How many days were those kids partying at the empty house before a neighbor called? Why isn't NPD roving?)
Erin P. June 19, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Edwin, it is the city council and Michael Frank who are "handcuffing" the police. Our spineless politicians are not addressing our crime problems and cutting police services from our budget, yet wasting money everywhere they possibly can. It would be nice to get some former LAPD to join our forces who have worked in the inner city and could help us. The police are doing what they can, but have to spend too much time at Hamilton and Diablo and Center.
Carol June 22, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Not "easily visible"?!? Really?!? I'd say it was "visible" which is why they broke in to your car. Bummer - I wonder, were you using that phone before you got out of the car? Or did you you move it to a not "easily visible" place before you exited your car? These thugs sit in the parking lots stalking everyone...that's how they target us. Unfortunately, we have to be more vigilant and on the defense...the thugs are here, and not going anywhere.


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