Police, patrols stepped up in the East Bay


With burglaries, robberies, and homicides on the rise, Oakland police are asking for assistance from other law enforcement agencies. And Montclair Village, a small shopping center in Montclair, is getting some private security help.

Montclair Village is a shopping district that is three blocks long, two blocks wide, and sits at the foot of the Oakland Hills. As quiet as it seems, it's seeing an increase in crime.

Shem Coward's family has lived there for eight years, "We've been seeing a lot more home invasions and burglaries, so anything that can help control it, I'm all for it."

Help is on the way in the form of the Bay Alarm Company. Security agents from Bay Alarm are patrolling the area in an effort to help the Oakland Police Department which is understaffed.

The company says it will respond to calls from its existing customers, as well as any other merchant in need. Coward says their presence is already being felt

"We see a fair amount of police patrol in this shopping district and come up and down the streets," Coward said. "But we see a lot of the various alarm companies driving up and down our street where we live."

Oakland police have announced increased patrols throughout the Lakeshore, Piedmont and Grand Avenue shopping districts.

Oakland police welcome the added patrols from other law enforcement agencies and private security like Bay Alarm.

David Sarber owns the Sarber Camera Shop in the Village and is a member of the Village Merchants Association. He doesn't think just seeing a Bay Alarm truck is a deterrent to criminals, "You know you see them out there and you go, 'Oh! That's nice.' But I don't think they do any good. The detriment that we'd like to think that they are I don't believe exists." Sarber says the district needs 24 hour patrols, which is financially unrealistic.

But for Cecilia Franklin of the Piedmont Avenue Merchants Association, more patrols by the sheriff's department, CHP, or police are welcome, "I think it'll work. It's a very good idea, pool the resources."

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