OAKLAND -- There was more available at the Tutti Frutti yogurt shop on Mountain Boulevard on Monday afternoon than yogurt and toppings.
Oakland police Capt. Anthony Toribio was on hand talking to residents as part of a neighborhood outreach event called "Coffee with a Captain." It was a chance to meet and talk informally with the city's top officer commanding police Area 2, which includes North Oakland and the hills.
Since being assigned to the area earlier this year, Toribio has also held more formal gatherings with residents at libraries, community centers and a private school to address crime issues and specific neighborhood incidents.
In contrast to a few months ago when a local bank was robbed twice, Area 2 has been relatively quiet with the number of burglaries on the decline compared to the same period last year, Toribio said.
Still, residents should be vigilant because robberies and burglaries can occur even in the best of neighborhoods. Robbers, most of whom are armed, look for neighborhoods with a lot of people walking on the street and access to nearby freeways to make their escape, Toribio said.
One of their favorite targets is smartphones that can be resold after being taken by force on the street. Robberies can be more profitable than other forms of crime, Toribio said.
"It's easier to go out and do robberies than it is to be on a street corner selling drugs, " he said.
When out in public, residents are advised to be aware of their surroundings and alert authorities if anything suspicious is happening. One neighborhood resident wanted to know how to prevent car burglaries and home break-ins.
Most auto burglars are attracted to items left in plain view inside the car, so make certain you don't leave valuables in sight, the captain said. The majority of residential break-ins happen during the day when thieves can get into a house though an open window or by kicking in a door.
Don't leave windows open and make certain that the deadbolt locks on your front door are working, Toribio said. While the number of auto and home break-ins has been going down recently, property owners need be vigilant, he added. But the best way to prevent neighborhood crimes is to know your neighbors and report any crime to the authorities, Toribio said.
"The overwhelming number of burglars that we catch is because a neighbor has written down a (license) plate and called the police," he added.