Earlier this year, a woman called the Belvedere Police Department to report that her father had been duped into ordering a custom-made $3,500 window and the contractor was refusing to cancel the order. The police jumped into action, pressing the contractor to refund the money.
"'Listen, give the guy his money back and we'll make this go away,'" Belvedere Police Chief Patricia Seyler-Campbell recalls an officer warning the contractor.
The contractor declined, and the police launched an investigation.
"It turns out that the businessman not only did not have a business license, but he was using a fake business license number on a website that he advertised on the Internet," a potential felony, Seyler-Campbell said.
Such is life in Belvedere, California's safest city where even the small-fry criminal is pursued by the law.
According to new figures from the FBI, among 461 city police departments in California, Belvedere had the lowest violent crime rate last year: zero. Belvedere, population 2,050, was the only city of at least 2,000 people to report no violent crimes in 2010 according to the data, which is based on reports from local police agencies.
It was Belvedere's third straight year with no violent crimes after the city logged one -- an assault -- in 2007.
"They say crime in a city is a reflection of its officers," joked Belvedere police Officer Chris Medina.
Belvedere is not the only low-crime city in Marin, which consistently ranks among the state's safest counties in federal and state crime indexes. There are many factors that go into the low rate of violent crime in Marin, said Sheriff Bob Doyle.
"It is an aging community, it tends to be an affluent community, it is suburban and I think that to this point local municipalities have put a high priority on public safety and law enforcement," he said.
A year-and-a-half after he left the police force in Rohnert Park for Marin, Medina, 27, still gets razzed by other officers for taking a job in sleepy Belvedere. Even some Belvedere residents wonder how he could possibly keep busy in the wealthy city of about 0.6 square miles that is almost entirely residential.
"They'll ask, what could be happening here today?" he said. "But the truth is, things do happen."
Last year, Belvedere reported 25 property crimes, which include theft, burglary and other offenses deemed non-violent. But much of Belvedere's police work falls outside of those categories.
"We have a real unique relationship with our citizens out here," Medina said.
There was the man who complained a neighbor had trimmed his tree limbs without permission. There was the woman whose ex-husband took her belongings from the house. And there was the elderly couple who could not lift a hutch that was protruding from the trunk of their car.
Medina lifted the hutch.
"They were afraid they were going to have to leave the car open all night," potentially draining the battery, he said.
From patrol officers to the chief, officers in Belvedere are expected to be available to residents, no matter how small the complaint, Seyler-Campbell said.
"If a citizen walks in and says they want to see the chief, I am here and available," she said.
Belvedere's eight sworn officers also enforce parking rules and work with public works officials to enforce building work hours and keep the city's narrow roadways clear.
As he walked along Beach Road on a recent sunny morning, Medina paused to greet passing residents and business owners. If his job bears little resemblance to the violent, fast-paced lifestyle portrayed on cop shows that is fine by him, he said.
"There are ... guys that need that adrenaline in their lives, that need that kind of police work, but it's a different kind of satisfaction here when people smile and wave at you," he said.