WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — Shoppers strolling along Walnut Creek’s downtown business district Saturday night voiced an added sense of security as additional police and sheriff’s deputies patrolled the area to combat organized smash-and-grab retail thefts.
Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk said the effort was needed after dozens of thieves ransacked Nordstrom on November 20.READ MORE: Santa Rosa Hostage Standoff Ends; Knife-Wielding Suspect Arrested; Victims Including Small Child Unharmed
“The police that are already patrolling, there’s going to be more of them now,” Wilk said. “The sheriff’s department is going to be able to assist with that and also have patrols.”
In the wake of the Nordstrom’s incident city leaders approved overtime to get more cops in the shopping district. They also requested mutual aid from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department.
“Being able to make sure that we can deter. If there’s anything that happens, we have more people available to arrest,” Wilk said.
Most shoppers and merchants supported the extra police visibility.READ MORE: Thick Fog Bank Blankets San Francisco, North Bay Valleys
“I think it does make me feel better,” said Walnut Creek resident Christina Dikareva. “I do worry about coming out here with the kids. I have neighbors who worry as well letting their teenagers to come out here by themselves.”
Dayanna Orellana echoed the sentiments.
“My siblings are here,” Orellana said. “So we would definitely want it to be safe for everyone.”
Monica Leyva works at Bare Minerals at the Broadway Plaza Shopping Center. She said this is the busiest time of year and it’s important shoppers feel comfortable.
“After the Nordstrom incident just happened, a lot of customers would come in and they were concerned,” Leyva said. “And now since the police are more active, customers don’t really talk about it anymore. And we do see a lot more flowing traffic.”MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Suspect In Attempted Armed Carjacking Killed In Shootout With San Jose Police
The city will hire five new officers to patrol downtown stores. But that hiring and training process will take months. Wilk said that’s why it’s so important to get the mutual aid from the sheriff’s department right now.