District 10 is a safe community. I firmly believe this. However, I also realize that as safe as we are, there is no guarantee that crime will not have an impact on our day to day lives. Our San Jose Police force does an excellent job of patrolling our streets and keeping our families safe, but even they cannot be everywhere at every time. Criminals are constantly looking to take advantage of easy opportunities. It is up to each of us, working in collaboration with our friends and neighbors, to make sure that these criminal acts are thwarted. Whether visiting one of our local shopping areas, community gathering spots or even just traveling through your own neighborhood, it pays to be vigilant and take steps to ensure ones personal safety and the safety of our community. Neighborhood awareness is a great first step, but in order to be truly prepared I encourage each of you to take advantage of opportunities the City offers as we work to create safer neighborhoods, business areas and recreational gathering spots.
I was very disturbed to hear that recently a series of burglaries took place in a local District 10 shopping center where thieves cut their way into one store and proceeded to cut holes in the adjoining walls of two additional stores. This type of crime is not common in Almaden Valley or Blossom Valley and will not be tolerated at any level. While Captain Vaughan Edwards and his hardworking team from the SJPD continue to investigate, it is critical to remember that security precautions are just as important for our strong network of small businesses as they are for our residents. Whether it means installing an alarm system or even going so far as to place security cameras in strategic positions, these types of changes can help a business to ensure a constant level of security. While businesses can take several security approaches, involvement from knowledgeable and vigilant individuals in the community can be an incredible deterrent to crime as well. I am confident that new additions to the police department and the Southern Substation that is opening in 2009, will accentuate the great service we receive from the SJPD. In the meantime it is up to each of us to personally build upon the security and safety which the SJPD provides for our families.
I cannot emphasize enough how useful the City's Neighborhood Watch Program is in educating residents on ways to be an active participant in fostering a safe and secure community. Just recently I was able to attend the Montevideo neighborhoods introductory meeting for Neighborhood Watch. Crime Prevention Specialist Dirk Parsons presented an incredibly informative and useful overview of the Neighborhood Watch program and was able to leave that evening with a commitment to safety from nearly every street in the Montevideo area. Many of those streets have since participated in their first Neighborhood Watch meetings and I have received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. The Neighborhood Watch Program focuses on informing the community regarding ways to discourage, deter and prevent crimes such as burglary, auto theft, car break-ins, and personal crimes which often occur in or near homes. Issues such as vandalism, graffiti, drug dealing and gang activity are also addressed when applicable.
I am in the process of exploring a partnership with some of our local small business groups and the Neighborhood Watch program to see if we might be able to offer a future training session for many of the local businesses in District 10. More information will be coming soon in regards to this project, but I am optimistic about its benefit and impact in the District 10 community. I am committed to keeping this community safe. Whether it is the $2.3 million dollars from District 10 that I allocated towards the construction of SJPDs South Substation or my continued fight to not only maintain but increase funding for the Neighborhood Watch program over the past three years, I promise to stand up for your safety and the security of this community. I implore you to explore the possibilities that our Neighborhood Watch program can provide to your neighborhood. For more information, please give Dirk Parsons a call at (408)277-4133 or visit the programs website at http://www.sjpd.org/crimeprev/neighborhoodwatch.html.
Councilmember, District Ten