DanvilleSanRamon.com

Perspective - March 9, 2007

Crime 101: Danville is 'easy'

Being in jail has advantages for those who walk on the wrong side of the law: It's a great place to learn where to find victims. And guess what? Danville and Alamo get mentioned quite often.

Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel said he always asks thieves and burglars when they are arrested what brought them to Danville. They tell him it has a reputation as being easy, that they know they will find an unlocked home or an unlocked car with a $400 iPod on the front seat.

Danville and Alamo are vulnerable to thefts partly because of their proximity to the freeway. Not long ago, a town employee was held up at gunpoint by some men in a car when he was walking home one night after a meeting. The perpetrators were probably back on the freeway and long gone before he could even report the incident.

Communities in this area work together to track criminals and gang activity, said Wenzel, adding, "We want to be proactive." Law enforcement agencies are in constant touch about criminal activity, and violent crime is rare within 30 miles of Danville.

Because of this community's reputation as safe, there is actually an incredible amount of property crime, Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said at the mayor's informal morning coffee last Friday. "Even though it's a safe place, it's also vulnerable." Several people shared their amazement that anyone would leave their cars unlocked or with valuables in plain sight to encourage a break-in.

As Chief Wenzel watches suspects go off to County Jail, he is sure they will share what they know about Danville. Hopefully their cellmates will factor in that the police were vigilant enough to apprehend them. But it would be nice if they shared that cars and homes are locked up securely and almost impossible to penetrate. •

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