August 15, 2018
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RP Dept. of Public Safety holds community meetings

By: Irene Hilsendager
June 1, 2018

For the second night in a row, Police Chief Brian Masterson along with crime analyst, Jill Kemf, held a safety and informational meeting in the Armando Flores room at the public library. The chief felt it was time for the Public Safety Department to share with the residents of Rohnert Park about crime related information and how to prevent some of the trends that are happening in Rohnert Park.

About 35 residents all living south of the Rohnert Park Expressway, attended the meeting and had Masterson fielding many questions. He explained there are three beats in the city with Beat I being the sections of D, E, F, G and H, Beat II west of the 101 freeway and Beat III south of the Expressway. 

The chief also explained the different types of crime such as home invasions, forcible rapes, robberies and larceny. A robbery is the use of force to deprive someone of real property such as a car burglary which is breaking and entering with intent to do a crime. Part one crime gets reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Masterson said that his job is to improve and keep the residents of Rohnert Park safe. The city is seven square miles and since there is a shortage of staff and officers, it takes much concentration to keep the 43,000 residents of Rohnert Park free from harm.

Honda cars are the most favored cars to steal. Back in the day, these cars would be taken to a chop shop, at the present most cars are stolen for transportation purposes. If one is stolen in Rohnert Park, usually it is found in Santa Rosa or Petaluma as the thief only wanted to get to another city.

Part II crimes are embezzlement, fraud, stolen property, forgery, drugs and narcotics, weapons, DUI and vandalism. Crime in Rohnert Park went down four percent in the last four months. Masterson said, “Crime is down in Rohnert Park.” 

However, Beat II has more reported crimes than Beat I and III combined.

Rohnert Park has a big problem with parking. The city was designed to have two cars per household, but now there usually are five and six cars for each house. SSU students have used the M section for their parking while attending classes. The citizens of that area went to city council and demanded that parking permits be issued. With Technology High School moving to Waldo Rohnert Elementary school, the A and B section will also have issues.

Jill Kemf gave an instructual vision of why leaving valuables in your car is just asking for car break-ins. Remove everything from inside the car-even an empty box is tempting to a thief. Officers were placing 1,800 cards designed with “If I was a thief” on the windshields of cars in business parking lots to remind drivers to take out all items from the car. Other complaints have been that thieves break into vehicles, look in the glove compartments, find addresses along with a garage door opener and go to the address on the paper work and can literally clean out your house while you are gone. 

There has been a recruitment problem at the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department. Some residents questioned as to will bicycle patrols get re-instated. 

Some attendees talked about the fire storm of October of last year. If it should happen, what kind of escape route would everybody take? Petaluma Hill Road, Stony Point and Highway 101 would be very clogged, is there a plan in place to set up a safe “house” somewhere in the city?

Chief Masterson said, “I don’t know, but we live in a safe community and we need the residents of this city to all help each other.”