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May 27, 2011 > Community involvement critical to combating crime

Community involvement critical to combating crime

By Meenu Gupta; Photo by Meenu Gupta

Fremont Police are working to prevent crime on a number of fronts, from focusing on solving more investigations to cutting off crime at its roots through community involvement. Geneva Bosques, Community Engagement Manager with Fremont Police Department believes community initiatives are essential for combating crime. In August, Geneva Bosques will have worked with the City of Fremont for 15 years starting in the City Manager's office, transferring to the Redevelopment Agency in 1996. She joined the Police Department in February 1999 as a Traffic Enforcement Project Manager for two years, Community Engagement Specialist for five years and presently, Community Engagement Manager.

Fremont hopes to continue expansion of NIXLE, an internet information service. "Within a year after Fremont Police started distributing public safety notifications using the NIXLE community notification service, Fremont has reached more than 2,500 NIXLE followers," said Bosques. By sharing the information received, residents not only spread the word but the value of this communication tool as well. This system is most effective with large numbers of subscribers.

Residents who haven't signed up already can sign up at www.nixle.com to see how the system works and receive alerts for both work and home. Signing up for Fremont's Community Alert System is simple and free. The first step is to log on to www. Fremont.gov/CommunityAlert, and follow the links to enroll land-line telephone numbers, cell numbers, text, e-mail, or all of them. The data collected will only be used for community alerts and notifications. "We are going to expand social media, soon Fremont Police Department will be on Twitter followed by Facebook," said Bosques.

Fremont Police also added a new Neighborhood Crime Watch (NCW) sign to publicize private video surveillance. Believed to be a true partnership between police and the community, video surveillance allows private businesses and residents to take a proactive stance in fighting crime. Suspects wanted in connection with the armed robbery of Don's Antique Auto parts in Fremont's Niles District were caught on surveillance cameras. "We would encourage and accept the information from anyone who is utilizing video surveillance as we see it as a significant benefit in our NCW program," said Bosques.

Citizens form neighborhood networks to unite against crime. "We have over 6,000 residents on neighborhood list groups," said Bosques. Warm Springs Neighborhood Watch group; Fremont Vineyard Hills yahoo group; Niles Neighborhood group; Horatio Polonius Neighborhood group are some of the groups that residents can find on search engines and join.

The police department is also working to update its website. "We are going to put up the new website next year in April." When asked about how the Police Department has dealt with the growing diverse population and dwindling economy she said, "Our staffing may not be as it was eight to nine years ago, but with a positive attitude and by refreshing our ideas we have embraced change. We have begun a healthy dialogue and a healthy relationship with the community. We may not have our front desk open 24 hours, but we do care and we want to do all we can to partner with the community," said Bosques.

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