Crime drops in East Palo Alto, chief reports; meeting set for tonight


East Palo Alto Police Chief Ronald Davis will host a meeting Tuesday (Feb. 22) to discuss the progress the department has made and the challenges still to come.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at East Palo Alto City Hall, 2415 University Ave.

Over the past five years, crime in East Palo Alto dropped considerably, department officials said.

With 120 shootings and 15 murders in 2005, the city had the fifth highest murder per-capita rate in the U.S. and the second highest in California.

2010 ended with four murders and 40 shootings, and overall crime dropped by 22 percent, police officials said.

Davis attributed this change to the department's work within the community to implement prevention, intervention, and enforcement programs as well as the passing of Measure C, a public safety parcel tax, police officials said.

He also noted that these reductions in crime were made with no increase to the department's general fund.

They did, however, use over $9 million in grants and alternative funding to increase the number of officers in the field, advance crime analysis and technology, and launch new anti-crime initiatives, according to the department.

Davis is scheduled to report and outline the department's goals for 2011 during the first "Chat with the Chief" meeting of the year with community members.

He will address the current state deficit and the national economic downturn, which has decreased the availability of grant funding while increasing the competition for these grants.

Davis will also provide an update on Operation Ceasefire and the first call-in, which is scheduled for March 1.

During a call-in, known gang members are summoned to meet with the police, community leaders, and representatives from local, county, state and federal law enforcement, police officials said.

The gang members are offered the choice to either stop the violence and receive assistance from the participants of the call-in or become the primary target of law enforcement.

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