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FBI: Crime in Anaheim Dips at Twice the Rate of National Average

Anaheim’s crime rate dropped about 10 percent in 2009, according to an FBI report released this week.

The decline was double the national average, the report said. The statistics mirror numbers released last week by the California Department of Justice.

“There are several pieces that must come together to successfully battle crime,” said Sgt. Rick Martinez. “Good police work combined with strong community support are among the key ingredients.”

In Anaheim, both are evident, he said. As examples, he pointed out how the homicide bureau solved all 2009 killings – and four old cases.

“And we continue to develop deep and meaningful partnerships with Anaheim schools, the business community and in neighborhoods across the city,” he said. “We are watching out for each other – and working together to keep Anaheim safe.”

To read the Los Angeles Times story, click here. To read the FBI report, click here.

And the Winner Is…

ANAHEIM – The Chula Vista Police Department on Wednesday won the Herman Goldstein Award for excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing for a multi-year effort to clean up the city’s crime-ridden motels.

Chula Vista Winners

Goldstein winners Karin Schmerler, Don Hunter and David Eisenberg with APD Chief John Welter

But CVPD wasn’t the only winner at the 20th annual International Problem-Oriented Policing Conference at the Disneyland Hotel. Dozens of Anaheim police officers and executives made important connections and heard the latest in crime-solving theory from top law enforcement officials and academics.

The three-day conference ended with a short ceremony honoring the top examples of creative police problem solving. APD was a finalist in 2007 for its effort to solve community issues at “The Boogie!” nightclub.

This year’s finalists included police agencies from as far away as England. One project involved the elimination of an open-air drug market in New York; another was the reduction of vehicle thefts in Winnipeg, Canada.

Herman Goldstein, the University of Wisconsin professor for whom the award is named, said each finalist demonstrated the effectiveness of combining in-depth data analysis with intelligent problem-solving techniques.

“It is very uplifting to see this body of work, and I am very proud of what each of you have accomplished,” he said.

The effort to clean up Chula Vista’s motels began in 2003. At the time, the city’s motels were the settings for the majority of drug sales and assaults in the city.

Years of crime and data analysis, research and working with motel owners led to a new permit-to-operate ordinance that resulted in remarkable improvements.

Calls for police service dropped by 45 percent; drugs arrests dipped by 40 percent and overall motel crime plummeted by 68 percent.

The department shares its story on its Web site – and has authored a Problem-Oriented Policing guide titled “Disorder at Budget Motels.”

Cops 4 Kids Anaheim Chamber’s Non-Profit of the Year

Vodpod videos no longer available.

An Anaheim Police Department charity aimed at helping at-risk youth make better decisions was named the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce’s non-profit of the year, officials announced today.

Cops 4 Kids, a 12-year-old non-profit best known for its innovative Junior Cadet Program, has made a difference in the lives of thousands of children.

Jr. Cadet Program

Click on the photo to see an OC Register profile of the Jr. Cadet Program

“They do a lot for children in the area and are very deserving of the award,” said Melodie Farr, a chamber spokeswoman.

Police Chief John Welter said the department was honored to be recognized.

“The award validates the important difference our officers have made in the lives of so many children,” he said. “Community support plays a critical role in our success. I invite residents, business leaders and others to get involved.”

C4K is holding a fund-raiser Nov. 13. For details, click here. The chamber will honor Cops 4 Kids at a luncheon Dec. 10.

Below is some background on Cops 4 Kids.

Introduction

When Anaheim police officers hear crime rates have dropped nationwide, they take heart in knowing they are part of a grassroots effort that is making important contributions toward that worthy goal. A spin off of the Anaheim Police Activities League, the Cops 4 Kids program provides a safe haven to hundreds of youth and teaches them to shun the temptation of crime and instead be productive citizens.

“Every hour our kids spend at the C4K facility or in one of our community programs, is one less hour a drug dealer, child abuser, or other criminal has access to these precious children,” said Welter. “Law enforcement is focused on reducing local crime. C4K goes to the root-source of what makes our youth decide the type of citizen they will become as they grow up.”Cops 4 Kids

The impact of the effort is particularly apparent now. During recessionary times, crime rates historically spike. Crime prevention and community building programs such as C4K play a key role in maintaining Anaheim’s outstanding safety record.  “Especially for the younger kids, this is an opportunity for them to have their first interaction with the police department be a positive one,” said Cathy Dutton, president of C4K’s board of directors. “Then they won’t have a negative or fearful reaction when they encounter the police and know that they are there to help them and guide them throughout their lives.”

History

C4K began in 1995 when a few Anaheim police officers began teaching karate to neighborhood children. The need and benefit was immediately evident. The department formed the Anaheim Police Activities League. Over the years, APAL has mentored thousands of former bullies, truants and troubled teens. In the past three years alone, more than 2,500 children have been touched by the program, which was recently re-branded to better describe its expanded mission.

C4K’s Mission, Goals and Values

C4K’s mission is to use simple techniques like friendship, dancing, fishing and camping, music and trips to Big Bear Lake in developing responsible, respectful and disciplined character traits. For many participants, the excursions are an exciting first-time adventure. Another goal and value is creating lasting bonds between law enforcement and at-risk youth.

The program’s growth and leadership

When public funding for the DARE program disappeared, the department’s school resource officers acted immediately to replace it with a program that is arguably even more effective – the Junior Cadet program.  The first of its kind in California, the innovative program puts children through a military-like academy, teaching them citizenship and respect for authority and others. It has become a model copied by other police departments.  Another barometer of its success: About half the kids from the beginner cadet courses return for advanced classes. Several later become police explorers.

Maria Montesdeoca is an Anaheim parent who put her son through the program and saw an improvement in his attitude and his attention to things like homework. “He’s now more responsible,” she said. “After the program, he pays more attention to me. I really recommend other parents bring their kids. It’s really good.”Junior Cadets

The Anaheim Police Department has assigned two full-time staffers to C4K.  Dozens of officers volunteer as youth mentors. Thanks to help from a local charity, C4K recently moved into a new building near Lincoln Elementary School.

Innovation and success

In addition to the Jr. Cadet program, officers interact with the neighborhood kids in the C4K Community Services Vehicle. The yellow VW Bus has a 3,000-watt deejay booth complete with a full stage, LED lighting, wireless microphones, colorful tall logo flags and a big screen plasma TV. This mobile entertainment platform is popular with the kids, and helps spread positive messages.

Community partnerships

C4K’s Board of Directors consists of representatives from the Anaheim City School District, the Anaheim Union High School District, the Anaheim City Council, Disneyland, Clean City, and numerous local businesses. The YMCA and Boys and Girls Club and Downtown Youth Center are also partners.

Working together, the community partners have made a significant impact on overall crime prevention – and helped thousands of children become better citizens.

Domestic Violence Survivors Say Family Justice Center Helped Save Their Lives

Click on the screen to view a video about the Anaheim Family Justice Center

Click on the screen to view a video about the Anaheim Family Justice Center

Three domestic violence survivors shared personal stories of terror Thursday – and then thanked the Anaheim Family Justice Center for giving them enough confidence to walk away from abusive relationships.

“I never knew a place like this existed,” said Eva, whose husband beat her for 12 years before trying to suffocate her. “I’m really grateful that you made sure my family was safe.”

The women are among thousands of domestic, child and elder abuse and sexual assault victims who have been served by the justice center since it opened three years ago.

Survivors Eva and Lisa

Survivors Eva and Lisa

It’s Orange County’s first and only one-stop center for victims – and one of only about 50 in the nation. Community and police leaders gathered to celebrate the center’s accomplishments – and to appeal to the community for continued support.

“This center isn’t just about treating and serving victims,” said Police Chief John Welter. “It’s about preventing crime.”

The statistics are staggering. In the U.S. four people are murdered by a domestic partner each day. Half of Anaheim’s homicides result from domestic issues, Welter said.

“Can you visualize what it’s like to grow up in a household where violence in commonplace?” he asked. “We must stop the cycle.”

In the old days, said Lt. Julian Harvey, after domestic violence victims filed a police report they’d be given bus money and sent to the courthouse to file a temporary restraining order.

The justice center houses representatives from social service agencies, police, the district attorney’s office, legal aid and other agencies. Everything is handled on-site.

The center has even taken it a step further, offering a Survivor’s Academy for women like Sandra, Eva and Lisa.

The classes, attended mostly by women and offered in Spanish, include lectures in financial planning, job training and self-esteem.

Volunteer Deanna Irwin

Volunteer Deanna Irwin

They’ve had a profound impact. Sandra was in an abusive marriage. One night last summer, her husband – in a drunken rage – slammed her against a wall and then pinned her on the bed.

“At that moment I realized he wanted to end my life,” she said. Her five-year-old daughter interrupted and she got away.

“I’m grateful that a place like this exists,” she said. “Because of all of you I am still here.”

For more about the Family Justice Center and to donate, click here.


Unless Going to Playoff Games, Avoid Angel Stadium Area

The police department issued an advisory today encouraging residents and visitors to avoid the stadium area Monday, Tuesday and next Thursday before and after Anaheim Angels playoff games – unless, of course, you have tickets.

Sgt James Kazakos works the 2002 World Series

Sgt James Kazakos works the 2002 World Series

Ticket holders are encouraged to carpool and to arrive early to minimize congestion. The Angels play the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

“This is an exciting time for the city of Anaheim and for the Angels,” said Sgt. Rick Martinez. “To ensure the best experience possible for everybody, please prepare for heavier than normal foot and automobile traffic. It will probably take a little longer to get in and out of the stadium.”

  • Monday’s game starts at 1:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday’s game is scheduled for 4:57 p.m.
  • If necessary, Thursday’s game will start at 4:57 p.m.

To read the police department’s advisory, which also includes important safety tips, click here.

And to read a recent interview with Sgt. Jerry Blair, who heads Angel Stadium security, click here.