DPD Assistant Chief: Homicides Are Way Down For the Year, But Burglaries Still a Problem
Cato pointed to the violent-crime numbers especially, claiming "a tremendous success" on that front -- especially since last year there were 148 homicides citywide. "It's important, because 110 people have lost their lives," he told the council, "but the last four years we've seen our homicide rate drop significantly."
Burglaries of residences and businesses are still an issue, though -- and have been since a spike in May, which prompted the door-to-door'ing Operation Heatwave. Cato also noted that Chief Brown's controversial plan to put detectives back on the patrol is still in place, with a third round forthcoming.
There's also been a spike in recent months of car thefts, Cato explained; hence a recent redeployment of bait cars.
Said Cato, one problem is that the DPD isn't getting much help from Regular Citizens: There are only 500 Crime Watch-ers "in a city of over a million people. We need to encourage people to increase the pool," he said, "to be our eyes and ears." Chair Pauline Medrano said this actually came up at the council retreat last week; the way the council see it, each member needs to "help start eight or more Crime Watches in our [respective] districts."
There were also a few questions about plans to install surveillance cameras in the top 10 crime hotspots; a briefing on that subject's forthcoming, said Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez. Cato said, though, they're still trying to figure out how to proceed: "We're looking at different models," he said -- chiefly, "how mobile they can be." Carolyn Davis then wrapped up this particular discussion by asking the chief to market the DPD "to the hip-hop audience."