HAYWARD -- Police have started a systematic attack on burglaries and robberies in the city by increasing the number of officers in neighborhoods where those crimes most frequently occur.
Almost 100 residents showed up at a meeting Tuesday to hear about the strategy to reduce crime in the North Hayward area, which had 67 residential burglaries, robberies and car burglaries during a three-week period in November and December.
Lt. Dave Lundgren told the gathering that police were narrowing in on a 15-block area around A Street and Mission Boulevard, where 14 such crimes occurred. The area has several businesses but also includes a number of residences north of A and near BART.
"For 30 days, we want all officers to focus on this neighborhood," he said. When police are not on calls, they will be parked in the area filling out reports, walking the neighborhood and enforcing traffic laws to increase their visibility.
"We believe we will see a reduction in crime," Lundgren said. "You should see an increased police presence."
Police tried a similar approach, increasing their presence this fall in the Spring Drive area in South Hayward. Burglaries dropped from four in a three-week period to zero.
"It's an experiment. But this is a data-driven approach that we think is a better use of our resources," Lundgren said. In February, police will look at the data to gauge their success and decide the next step.
Lt. Mark Koller said a new computer system is allowing police to better analyze crime data to figure out how to best prevent crime. But he stressed the importance of educating residents on how to avoid becoming a victim, such as not leaving valuables in a car.
Several people at the meeting wanted to know what police were doing about the problems downtown, especially along B Street. Lundgren pointed out after the meeting that B Street was in the area being blanketed.
"We can only be at so many places," he told residents and merchants. "You're our eyes and ears."
He and Koller both encouraged residents to call police when they saw suspicious or criminal activity.
Crime prevention specialist Mary Fabian gave tips on how to prevent residential burglaries, including responding when someone knocks on the door. "You don't have to open the door, but let them know you're there."
She said that burglars commonly knock on doors and then break into homes where no one answers.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.