Councilmember Susan Wengraf 
Councilmember Susan Wengraf

Newsletter #26 


January, 2013  

    My very best wishes to you all for a healthy, safe. and satisfying new year.  I look forward to serving as your Council representative for the next four years, and want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued trust and support.


    Warmest regards,

SW Signature top_page

Included in this newsletter is information about:



    We have experienced an increase in crime in the Berkeley Hills. There were many robberies, two of which were interrupted and  resulted in serious injury to the homeowners.  In late December, two neighborhood meetings in affected areas (Fairlawn Dr. and Summit Rd.) were organized with Officer Byron White, Area Coordinator, and Officer Kevin Schofield, Area Commander.


    Please read the notes below and do as many things as possible to deter crime and protect yourself and your property.   

  1. December saw a sudden surge in property crime in the Berkeley hills.  Crime statistics can be found at the Community Crime View web page.

  2. Police resources are spread thin.  Patrols are being re-evaluated, but it will take time to analyze and evaluate.  

  3. The Police Department needs your help.  All suspicious behavior should be immediately reported to the Police Department. Call 981-5911 from a mobile phone or 911 from a land line.  They will follow up.  

  4. Berkeley Police are encouraging a multi-layered approach to home security.  Do as many things as you can to deter crime.
    1. Alarm systems do deter burglars.  If you already have one, use it.  If you do not have one, consider purchasing one.
    2. All exterior doors should have deadbolts.
    3. If you have a sliding patio door, consider putting a dowel in the bottom track.
    4. Be vigilant about locking all windows and doors - even those on the second floor.  Over 50% of all reported residential burglaries involved an open door or window.
    5. Improve the lighting around your home.  Back or side doors that are out of view and unlit are attractive to criminals.
    6. Pay attention to what is happening in your neighborhood.  If you see someone who is behaving in a way that makes you suspicious, call the police: 981-5911 from a mobile phone or 911 from a land line.
    7. Do not open your door unless you know who it is.   Do not open for solicitors.  Do not open for anyone representing themselves as working for PG&E, EBMUD, a phone company, a solar company, etc., regardless of the uniform they are wearing or the identification card they flash.  Utilities will inform you in advance if they need to come to your house.
    8. NEVER confront someone if you see them trying to break into a home.  Walk or drive away and call the police.
    9. For your own safety, do not enter your house if it has been broken into.  Call the police first 981-5911 from a mobile phone or 911 from a land line.
    10. Do not leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. We have had instances of identity theft from crooks stealing outgoing mail.
    11. If you are going to be out of town, make arrangements for newspapers and mail to be collected, or stop delivery.  Also, put interior lights on a timer so that your house appears to be occupied.  You can also put a radio or television on a timer switch.  Notify a neighbor before you leave town, so that they know to watch for anything unusual.
    12. Make sure that the street numbers on your home are clearly visible.  It is very difficult for the police to find your home if your street numbers are obscured by vegetation or are in a dark place.  Response time can be slowed as a result.
    13. Surveillance cameras can be installed on private property, but not city owned property.
    14. If city trees are obscuring light, please call 311 and give them the location of the light and the number on the pole.  If private trees are blocking light, ask your neighbor to trim the branches.

  5. Automobile Security
    1. Do not leave anything of value in your car - even for a few minutes, day or night.  There are criminals roaming the hills looking for things of value in vehicles.  If they think it is worth it, they will smash your window, grab it and run.  They look for laptops, GPS units, MP3 players, cell phones, cameras, backpacks, briefcases, loose change, etc.
    2. Certain makes and models of vehicles are easier to steal than others.  Hondas are especially vulnerable to theft.  There are two steps to stealing a car;  getting into it and then starting the ignition.  Don't make it easy!  Lock your car and use your alarm system if you have one.  Use a club to make theft even more difficult.
    3. Parking your vehicle in your garage is the best action you can take to avoid vehicle theft and break-ins

Next Steps


    If your neighborhood would like to meet with the Berkeley Police, my office will work with you and help to coordinate.  Call us at 981-7160.


    An alert and cooperative neighborhood is the best defense against crime.  We need to get out the word that we are going to work to actively deter crime in our neighborhoods.  My office will work with groups to create email lists, fliers, posters, neighborhood foot patrols, etc.  If a robbery or car theft occurs, fliers should go up on utility poles notifying everyone immediately.  Emails should be sent to neighbors.  Residents should be alerted to all suspicious behavior.  If your neighborhood wants to become a  Neighborhood Watch Group, we will help you do that, as well.


    The Berkeley Police need your help.  They need the assistance of your eyes and ears to catch these criminals.  Please call them and report behavior that you think is suspicious or out of the ordinary.


    I am committed to increasing the visibility of police in the hills.  I will be having discussions with the City Manager, Police Chief, and my colleagues on the council to address these issues.  It will take time as the needs of the entire city and our available resources are evaluated, considered and balanced with other areas of the city.   But in the meantime, as a community, we need to do everything we can to keep safe.  Please read over the suggestions mentioned above and take action to protect yourself and your property.

510 981-5911
To call BPD from a mobile phone

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Recycle XMas trees   
    Through January 31st you can place your holiday tree at the curb on your normal collection day.  You may also choose to drop your holiday tree off at the Transfer Station at no charge during the month of January.  Businesses and residents of multi-family buildings, who don't normally have plant debris service, can call 311 (or 510-981-7270) for the plant debris service day for their street.  After January you can cut up your tree to fit in your plant debris cart, or you can bring it to the Berkeley Transfer Station for the minimum compost fee of $23.
No bags

    Starting on January 1, 2013, grocery stores and certain other food retailers in Alameda County can no longer provide single-use plastic carryout bags at checkout.
  • Affected stores must charge a minimum of 10¢ for each paper bag.
  • Consumers may bring any type of bag to a store for their purchases, and are encouraged to do so.
  • The Reusable Bag Ordinance is intended to reduce litter, keep plastic bags out of local waterways, and encourage the use of reusable bags.

Learn more about the Ordinance


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Animal shelter


    The City of Berkeley is hosting  a grand opening celebration on February 2, 2013, from 12:00 noon to 2:30 p.m. at #1 Bolivar Drive for the new Municipal Animal Shelter and the recently completed East Touchdown Plaza (pedestrian/bicycle bridge). Tours of the new shelter facility and refreshments will be provided.  In addition, several non-profit animal welfare organizations that partner with the City of Berkeley will be present to share information about their overall animal welfare mission and goals.

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Susan Wengraf
Berkeley City Council District 6
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