Violent crime plummets in East Palo Alto

Dramatic plunge in murders and shootings will continue to be capped by city funding for youth programs

Crime and violence rates in East Palo Alto took another a dramatic drop, as police, city officials, nonprofit and faith-based groups implement programs to engage youth and target criminals in face-to-face meetings, according to a report released by Chief Ronald Davis.

Murders are down 75 percent, shootings are down 65 percent, and overall crime is down 10 percent from last year, Davis said in a press release on Thursday. The report also noted significant decreases in year-to-date rape, robbery, assault and motor vehicle thefts.

Burglaries rose only slightly, by 1 percent and larcenies rose 13 percent, according to the report.

The city did experience a slight increase in shootings and gun-related incidents in May, Davis noted.

"This increase, albeit relatively small, is of concern to the department based on the nature of these incidents and the recent spate of violence occurring throughout the Bay Area. We want to make sure that this is not a prelude to a violent summer," he said.

In response, East Palo Alto police will resume special enforcement operations funded by U.S. Department of Justice grants to target gangs, drugs and violence.

The East Palo Alto City Council has authorized $200,000 for community and faith-based organizations to start summer youth programs. The Police Activities League (PAL) will implement additional youth programs during the summer and will host a youth summit in August, using Department of Justice funding, he said.

Operation Ceasefire, the city's anti-violent-crime program that targets gangs, will conduct its third "call-in" in July. The program contacts known repeat offenders and at-risk youth for sit-down sessions to renounce gang life and offers social and mental health services and job counseling.

The police department has formed an anti-graffiti task force for the summer.

"Graffiti is much more than the defacement of public and private property; it is a language that is used by gangs to declare ownership of a neighborhood and, in some cases, call for violence.

"We must respond aggressively to this growing problem and make it clear that the only people who own a neighborhood are the families that live there. Our response to this challenge will be holistic and address not just to the taggers, but the root causes of their destructive behavior as well," Davis said.

"If we continue to work together and strategically focus our resources, as we have done throughout this year, I am confident that we will maintain the gains achieved thus far and end this year with the lowest crime and violence rate in over 12 years."

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Like this comment
Posted by good job Chief Davis
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Good job, Chief Davis. And also a big thanks to all the community groups that are helping with this effort.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Yes, folks have gotten very seriously organized on this in many ways. I was very concerned, as the economy was toppling, about upsurges in crime, but law enforcement has been pretty good at being on top of it. Either that or it's a lovely coincidence ;-)

Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:39 pm

EPA must be pushing all the bad guys to SJ. The degree of violence in SJ is sky rocketing. Good job in EPA.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Um, Dave, SJ has enough of its own bad guys. Our bad guys don't like SJ - too hard to park.

Like this comment
Posted by umm
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jun 5, 2011 at 1:50 am

what about all these home burgleries still happening...this is all hogg wash..

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

These statistics can be tossed in the garbage after the death of an infant from gun violence. If criminals are so brazen to shoot at a car with young children inside, then they fear nothing. That level of gang violence sounds like what is happening throughout Mexico right now. I am not reassured by this so-called drop in violent crime.

Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

What a joke. Are you serious. EPA is still dangerous. You can still sell and buy drugs there. Just take a drive around the city and you will see for yourself. police can only do so much but the town is a joke. thugs and crack heads up and down University avenue 24/7. It is still and will always be ghetto in EPA. They have so much low income drama in that poor town.

Like this comment
Posted by Shaun
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? An infant was just killed in EPA!

Like this comment
Posted by Bring in PAPD
a resident of Addison School
on Jun 5, 2011 at 10:10 pm

EPA is still a dangerous place and their polcie department is way understaffed. Palo Alto police should be sent over their to assist them. Palo Alto police seem to take care of buisness and is big enough to help them out.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

I'll spend the gas money and drive all the way to Lowe's in Santa Clara than go to Home Depot in EPA. And then there was the purse snatching incident this weekend with a German tourist the victim. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by kamper
a resident of Monroe Park
on Mar 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

We are and Please join us to fight the disease of drug and alcohol addiction/abuse. We are a driving force of individuals with one common focus to resolve and to have a quality of life without – Addiction.. It’s devastating and its life threatening but we can conquer it together. We can help our fellow man rise out the abyss of death and destruction. Together we can overcome. See how we did it. See where we began, where it took us and how and why we found the solution. It’s a WE process. Only WE can help each other. Please read our short stories of how we did it. If you have a success story that would help others please send your edited story to You can help save a life today, We are the Planet. We are We interface on FaceBook. Join us there as well. We will support you in recovery. Kk

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