Police Report on Thefts at Downtown Library

Officers investigate reports of bike and personal property thefts at North Broadway library.

Walnut Creek police are investigating thefts, including bicycle thefts, at the downtown library.

There have been 28 bikes stolen from in two years, WCPD reported on its Facebook page this week. There have also been thefts inside the building, including unattended purses and computer devices such as iPads. Police urge residents to report suspicious behavior to police and library staff.

"Library staff is always concerned about the safety and security of our visitors and we seek to make the library a comfortable and safe place to be," wrote Caroline Gick, senior community library manager, in an email. "We encourage everyone to keep their personal belongings with them at all times. We do stay alert and enforce behavior issues, and we ask that people report any suspicious behavior within the library to us immediately so that we can respond appropriately."

Officers have also arrested several transients and registered sex offenders in and around the library, according to a post on the Walnut Creek Police Association Facebook site: "The availability of free computers and WiFi makes this an attractive location to hang out for many people."

This video from KRON 4 News' Stanley Roberts
shows instances on Tuesday where library patrons, apparently feeling safe, left a laptop and a tape recorder unattended on library tables, and a bike unlocked at the bike rack. "All you need to do is turn your back for a moment and — poof — it's gone," says Roberts in a voiceover.

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Bob Brittain August 23, 2012 at 02:47 AM
As I understand it, there are cameras monitoring most of the bike racks around the library. There are one or two weak points. I advocate covering those locations by video as well. The police are very good at tracking down thieves using evidence from these cameras. They see the thief in action and recognize height, weight, other physical characteristics, clothing, and tools for theft such as bolt-cutters for cutting protective cables or chains. This additional protection would be relatively inexpensive to install.
DubCeemom August 23, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Okay, so easy answer--better camera coverage of the bike racks (move the racks or move the cameras, duh!). We're making it too easy for thieves.
One more time with feeling August 23, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Bob Brittain, Please define "relatively inexpensive". I'm no expert, but a quick internet search found the camera (outdoor, ruggedized, weatherized professional quality; ~$1,800); adding it to the existing infrastructure assuming there is space on the existing recorder(s)... if not, add another recorder for $6,000-$10,000. Then there's cabling, labor to install, mounting brackets and some miscellaneous parts and perhaps scissor-lift rental. This is not an inexpensive home system. But, apparently, you are the expert... One would think that with the apparent hoards of people visiting the library, one of them might see something and speak up. I recall that the library project advocates claimed an advantage of having the library was that it would reduce crime. Or perhaps the Library Foundation can "find" some money to fund this item at the Contra Costa County Library downtown Walnut Creek branch. OMTWF
Bob Brittain August 24, 2012 at 03:02 AM
One More, You are correct, I'm certainly not an expert on this. Please pardon me for trying to be helpful. Mea culpa. I did not realize that this was rocket science and might have costs akin to a Mars mission. You said, regarding a single additional camera, "this is not an inexpensive home system." I'm confused why it could not be. Inexpensive systems are used to monitor outdoor eagles nests or perigrine falcon nests. I look at those sites. A recorder @ $10,000 sounds like the cost of a toilet seat on an Air Force jet. Wonder if there's something more affordable that is not targeted to government. I agree with you that, knowing theft is an issue, all visitors should keep their eyes open and report problems. I check the bike rack situation every time I visit. All Walnut Creek residents with cell phones should enter the WCPD dispatch number 925-935-6400 to their contact list to make it easier report problems to the police. Dialing 911 from your cell might land you with CHP and delay the WCPD response.
One more time with feeling August 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Bob Brittain, Where was your "don't overspend" attitude when this Contra Costa County Library downtown Walnut Creek branch happened? $300,000 for artwork, $3,000 each for the many Knoll Womb chairs, $5,000 each for the many Sonoma Stone Cast restroom sinks (or was it the other way around?) and gross over-expenditure on parking & building construction are somehow OK to you. Comparing a several thousand dollar security camera (and maybe a recorder) to a $1 trillion Mars mission http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4031857/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/bringing-space-costs-back-down-earth/#.UDkC1xzK5Jk is idiotic. So is supporting an overpriced library. I repeat: I am not against the library, just spending too much for it. I truly hope us taxpayers did not just waste $120,000 to build-out the (finally opened) coffee shop or we can call it "art" and (apparently) not care. Commercial grade video surveillance systems are not "targeted to government". They are targeted to commercial applications & are more reliable/robust than consumer systems. You admit you are not an expert on this topic. Best if you don't insert your foot in your mouth anymore on it. Two options: Move the bike racks so existing cameras can see them or point the existing cameras at the racks (agree with DubCeemom). OMTWF


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