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Letter to the Editor - Crime Seems To Be On The Rise

Dick Duncan relates the recent burglary of his tenant's home in broad daylight, and wonders what city leaders and residents can do.

On Aug. 31, in broad daylight, one of my tenants who lives on Escobar Street property had his apartment broken into.

It happened between noon and 3:00pm and was obviously the work of "professionals" who had cased the place and/or had inside information.

My tenant owns a company in Walnut Creek and had some serious computer equipment as well as other valuables stolen, including four locked firearms and a 38" flat screen TV. For this to happen in the middle of the day on busy streets with limited access deeply concerns me.

The idea that people -- there had to be two or three involved -- can walk off down a busy street carrying bags of loot, a desktop computer and a flat screen TV seems incomprehensible. The police took a report and attempted to get some prints, but offered little hope. Without an eye-witness to the crime or some tangible evidence, there appears little they can do.

The county's crime lab on Escobar St. was hit a couple of weeks ago and all the copper wiring and exterior plumbing was stripped off and taken. With the Martinez Patch reporting the City Police Log on a regular basis, it has become obvious that crime is on the increase. It is hard to just sit back and accept this all as a fact of life and blame it on the tough economy. I would like to see some initiatives taken at the city level to try and deal with the situation.

I think Chief Peterson's new Neighborhood Policing Initiative is a good start. I believe that it should be promoted more and Neighborhood Watch programs encouraged to try and combat the situation. Hopefully, the law enforcement professionals have ideas on how to increase the awareness and put more pressure on the criminal element of our society.

The reputation of our community hangs in the balance based on how we respond to these type of challenges. I was quite pleased when I had the opportunity to take on a tenant who came to Martinez seeking the small town values we represent. He is a successful business person, has disposable income to spend in our community, his girlfriend loves the farmers markets, walkable streets and our growing selection of restaurants. He bought a sailboat and keeps it in the Marina. He even had his parents out from Austin, TX to visit his newfound home, just the kind of people you would want in your town. Well, his folks lost their brand new personal computer in the robbery as well. Not a good welcoming situation at all.

My point here is that we as a community, the city leadership and the police need to make it known that Martinez is not going to be an easy target for this type of activity. We can't just ignore the situation and hope it will go away; it won't, and will only get worse.

The question is, what can we do, what initiatives can we take, and how do we get the word out?

Nicole diGiorgio September 14, 2011 at 03:30 AM
Using spellcheck will differ across operating systems/word processing software. The easiest way to get started would be to use this spell checker. http://www.spellcheck.net/grammar/ It's pretty straightforward.
Nicole diGiorgio September 14, 2011 at 03:31 AM
I forgot to add that the link above also checks grammar. :)
Jim Caroompas September 14, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Linda, if you'd like to speak to other long-time residents, email me at jim.caroompas@patch.com and I can put you in touch with some others who can share their perspective.
Marshall Cochrane May 07, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Back to the issue of crime in Martinez: Ever since my truck was stolen (5 years ago), I've noticed 2 to 5 car thefts per week in Martinez. Pleasant Hill is usually 3 to 7. When numbers go up in Pleasant Hill they go down in Martinez and visa versa. It’s obvious to me that there is a car theft ring operating in Martinez/Pleasant Hills and it’s been here for years. Back to my experience: Well, I had this great truck...it was 5 years old but only had 15,000 miles. It was stolen out of my driveway and found stripped in Stockton. It was totaled it out. Insurance Company gave me $12 grand for loss coverage. New truck cost $30K. Net cost to me was 18 thousand dollars...So if you think in terms of the real damage to the victim. It probably averages somewhere in the neighborhood of $10K to $30K per incident. Take middle impact or $15K per vehicle: 3 stolen cars at $15K per vehicle X 52 weeks per year = Cost to the residents of Martine is $2.4M. That represents dollars leaving Martinez...You may challenge the math but the conclusion is incontrovertible.
Marshall Cochrane May 07, 2012 at 08:59 PM
(Sorry I couln't fit it all in:) Theft: Auto, Computer, Identity, theft in general represents a huge hidden cost to the victims of those crimes. Think in terms of Dick’s story. What are the replacement costs for those materials? What’s the replace costs for the copper plumbing ripped out for salvage sale? The other more subtle question is: What’s the replacement cost of “shattered tranquility?” We wound up spending over $10K on a comprehensive video surveillance and laser alarm system. No, we don’t keep anything of significant value in the house but that was the cost to regain our tranquility. I highly recommend to all citizens of Martinez to engage the Chiefs program of neighborhood policing. I support Donna Allen’s comments: It’s worth the time and effort to be proactively involved with your neighbors to “AVOID” loss.

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