On Aug. 31, in broad daylight, one of my tenants who lives on Escobar Street property had his apartment broken into.
It happened between noon and 3:00pm and was obviously the work of "professionals" who had cased the place and/or had inside information.
My tenant owns a company in Walnut Creek and had some serious computer equipment as well as other valuables stolen, including four locked firearms and a 38" flat screen TV. For this to happen in the middle of the day on busy streets with limited access deeply concerns me.
The idea that people -- there had to be two or three involved -- can walk off down a busy street carrying bags of loot, a desktop computer and a flat screen TV seems incomprehensible. The police took a report and attempted to get some prints, but offered little hope. Without an eye-witness to the crime or some tangible evidence, there appears little they can do.
The county's crime lab on Escobar St. was hit a couple of weeks ago and all the copper wiring and exterior plumbing was stripped off and taken. With the Martinez Patch reporting the City Police Log on a regular basis, it has become obvious that crime is on the increase. It is hard to just sit back and accept this all as a fact of life and blame it on the tough economy. I would like to see some initiatives taken at the city level to try and deal with the situation.
I think Chief Peterson's new Neighborhood Policing Initiative is a good start. I believe that it should be promoted more and Neighborhood Watch programs encouraged to try and combat the situation. Hopefully, the law enforcement professionals have ideas on how to increase the awareness and put more pressure on the criminal element of our society.
The reputation of our community hangs in the balance based on how we respond to these type of challenges. I was quite pleased when I had the opportunity to take on a tenant who came to Martinez seeking the small town values we represent. He is a successful business person, has disposable income to spend in our community, his girlfriend loves the farmers markets, walkable streets and our growing selection of restaurants. He bought a sailboat and keeps it in the Marina. He even had his parents out from Austin, TX to visit his newfound home, just the kind of people you would want in your town. Well, his folks lost their brand new personal computer in the robbery as well. Not a good welcoming situation at all.
My point here is that we as a community, the city leadership and the police need to make it known that Martinez is not going to be an easy target for this type of activity. We can't just ignore the situation and hope it will go away; it won't, and will only get worse.
The question is, what can we do, what initiatives can we take, and how do we get the word out?