Hills homeowners rally to fight neighborhood crime


MONTCLARION: October 22, 2010

Score one for the good guys. Fed up with a recent rash of home burglaries, Montclair neighbors have helped catch a man who has “copped” to the crimes.

It was a homeowner’s video surveillance system that initiated the search for the thief, who was captured on camera removing property from a house Oct. 7. Less than a week later, a Montclair beat officer spotted the suspect’s silver pickup truck near Mountain and Florence Terrace and made the arrest.

The perception by crooks is that we’re easy targets up here. Community policing and neighborhood watch groups are sending a signal to thieves that we’re not going to take it anymore.

The public is invited to a meeting on the future of community policing, 6:16 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Oakland Police Department Auditorium, 455 Seventh St. in Oakland.

E-MAIL BAG: More readers are reacting to my recent column items about Oakland’s “hidden fees.” Hills homeowner Herb Cockroft says he’s being charged $1,300 in fees and permits just to do some work in his bathroom and change an exterior window that no one can see. “So the city’s investment of time was probably about 30 minutes on this,” he writes, adding “they don’t even have to sign the forms filled out by us “… they have a rubber stamp noting “approved.”

Then there’s the reader (who asked not to be named) who says the city charged her $240 for towing and storage after police recovered her stolen vehicle less than two blocks from her house. “I was so angry that I was being charged for towing at all,” she writes, adding police could have called her before taking her vehicle away. Instead, she was left with the feeling that Oakland was making a profit off its high crime rate.

NOZZLE NUISANCE: Ever hear of a $250 fill up? That could be the cost if you pull away from the pump with the nozzle still in your tank. More motorists make this mistake than you realize. It happened to me near the Oakland Zoo, and the attendant charged me right on the spot. This week I heard two similar stories — including one in which a reader was charged $200 for breaking the nozzle at the Union 76 Station on Lakeshore — cha-ching!

MUSIC SCENE: Oakland’s hottest hip-hop artist is a former Bishop O’Dowd High School student. Bobby Brackins is all over the Internet these days and has a strong club following with teens and 20-somethings. It looks like all that time he spent with his band Go Dav in high school is paying off.

GUY TALK: Let’s hear it for the group of guys who have formed their own book club in Oakland’s Trestle Glen neighborhood. No Chic Lit or romance novels for Jim Hebert and friends — they read manly material about topics like the Mexican-American War. Still, they probably wouldn’t turn down a guest shot on Oprah if she contacted them.

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