EAST PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Authorities had reason to celebrate in East Palo Alto, where there has been a significant decline in the city’s crime rate. Partnerships between police and community organizations were credited with helping to send that figure tumbling.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

According to statistics released Friday by the East Palo Alto Police Department, homicides were down 43% and shootings dropped 51%, compared to last year.

There have been 4 murders this year, compared to 7 in 2009.

Overall, crime was down 17%. The only category of crime that rose was car theft, up 13% this year.

Officials offered a word of caution, because there is a often a spike of violence during the holiday season.

Still, the figures were welcome news in a community that has suffered from waves of crime in the past.

“A lot of highly motivated new officers that are willing to get out there, do the job to the best of their ability,” Sgt. David Carson explained what helped to bring the crime rate down. “A lot of it starts with the leadership at the police department. It starts from the chief on down to the captains, through the rank and sergeant.”

Each of the department’s four beats also began meeting regularly with church and community groups to get feedback from residents.

“Whatever issues they might have and we also share information with them,” said Carson. “So this is important because without them we can’t do an effective job.”

He added that sometimes it was meant nipping a problem in the bud.

“As simple as trash being left on the curbside, that might led to bags being left on the curbside and next thing you know, you’ve got a garbage dump.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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