February 11, 2011 > Milpitas Police Chief discusses crime decline
Milpitas Police Chief discusses crime decline
By Meenu Gupta
According to FBI statistics released recently, the violent crime for 2010 dropped by 6.2 percent for the city of Milpitas. Milpitas Police Chief Dennis Graham discussed the efforts of law enforcement that contributed to it. "We have Compstat crime control meetings every two weeks, in which our detectives, Patrol Watch Commanders, Command Staff and I all discuss current crime trends and brainstorm how to address them," Chief Graham told TCV.
Violent crimes dropped from 2,203 in 2009 to 2,087 last year, with fewer cases of Theft; Arson and Burglary. "We identified a couple of neighborhoods, in particular one neighborhood, where due to gang issues we felt there was a very high potential for gang violence," said Chief Graham. "Our officers visited that neighborhood on a daily basis, often getting out of their cars and talking to the residents. Our officers developed a high level of trust with the residents there, to the point they did not hesitate to call the police department to report suspicious activity, and often asked for particular officers by name. Over the course of several months, we made many arrests and had such high visibility of officers present that we believe we prevented many instances of violence before they could occur."
Chief Graham noted the work of Sgt. Daryl Sequeira who worked with the school district to address gang issues such as gang attire and behavior on campus. Developed about three years ago, the program includes education and training for school staff to recognize gang behavior and other issues. "We are still reaping benefits from this. We saw a tremendous reduction in assaults on campus after implementing this program, with on-campus gang-related incidents decreasing by 75% the first year after implementation," Chief Graham said.
"Overall, I think a lot of our success has to do with the trust we have developed with our community, by actively engaging our residents. My belief is that real cops like to get out of their cars and talk with citizens, whether at the shopping centers, on school campuses, or in our neighborhoods."