Category Archives: Crime

Gang violence, drug use, graffiti spark renewed push to clean up West Berkeley park

City maintenance workers have been cutting back and clearing out brush as part of an effort to clean up Strawberry Creek Park. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Stepped up police patrols, trimmed-back bushes and increased efforts to clean up graffiti around Strawberry Creek Park are among a slew of recent steps by the city following two troubling incidents in March, including a drive-by shooting nearby and the violent robbery of a Berkeley middle school student.

Community members around the West Berkeley park have been asking for help from the city to make changes. They cite frequent problems in the area related in part to its use as a hang-out by youth — including many who reportedly have gang ties. Drug sales and the smoking of marijuana at all hours are said to be regular sights. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeley police arrest alleged drug dealer with gun

The 5600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Image: Google Maps
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An Oakland man has been charged with five felonies after a probation search led to his arrest and the recovery by Berkeley police of a loaded handgun, marijuana and two types of cocaine, all packaged for sale, according to court papers.

On April 8, the Berkeley Police Department conducted the probation search of 35-year-old Terrill Orme at his home and business in the 5600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, less than half a mile from Berkeley’s southern border. … Continue reading »

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Drone battle to come before Berkeley City Council

Two quadricopter drones, typical of the designs popular with hobbyists. Photo: Gregor Hartl/Ars Electronica
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More than a year after the Berkeley City Council asked three city panels to take a look at the use of drones around town, two starkly different recommendations are slated to come before officials in a special work session later this month.

The city’s Disaster and Fire Safety Commission has made a recommendation to allow the police and fire departments to use drones “for specific enumerated purposes in emergency situations.” Usage would have to approved by the city manager, police chief or fire chief.

But two other city bodies, the Peace & Justice Commission and the Police Review Commission, have asked council to declare Berkeley a “no drone zone,” citing concerns related to safety and privacy, among other issues. … Continue reading »

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16-year-old girl found naked, pepper-sprayed in Elmwood

A 16-year old girl was found at Ashby and Piedmont Avenues this morning. She was naked and may have been sexually assaulted. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, April 17: The San Francisco Police Department has taken over this case. According to KTVU, “The girl initially told authorities she had been kidnapped and robbed in Oakland and then dropped off in Berkeley. Oakland Police said the case could be related to human sex trafficking. Then they turned the case over the SFPD after the girl changed her story.” SFPD will investigate the case as a kidnapping and robbery, but not a sexual assault.

Update, 7:25 p.m. The Oakland Police Department released the following statement at 4:45 p.m.: “Investigators have learned this incident occurred in another jurisdiction. The victim is a juvenile. This case may be associated with human sex trafficking.” Any instance in which a minor is induced to engage in prostitution or other commercial sex acts is considered sex trafficking; the Alameda County district attorney’s office has made the reduction of these activities a priority.

Original post: A teenage girl who may have been sexually assaulted was found naked and suffering from pepper spray in the Elmwood district early Wednesday morning, according to Berkeley Police scanner traffic, authorities and media reports.

Residents in the 2900 block of Piedmont Avenue, near Ashby Avenue, were awoken shortly after 5 a.m. to the sound of the girl screaming, “Help me,” according to scanner traffic recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside. 

The 16-year-old girl told authorities she had been raped. … Continue reading »

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Councilmen: Time is now to discuss Tasers in Berkeley

Councilman Laurie Capitelli. March 5, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Three Berkeley City Council members are bringing the issue of Taser use by local police to the forefront with a proposed council agenda item currently set for consideration in early May.

Councilman Laurie Capitelli has drafted an item to request a report from the city manager about the possible use of Tasers by police in Berkeley, along with consideration of the idea by the city’s Police Review Commission.

Capitelli said it was last week’s violent attack on a Berkeley Police officer at Aquatic Park that brought about the current proposal. A man has been charged with attempted murder in that case. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, April 3-9

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See recent Berkeley crime coverage here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From March April 3-9, there were 11 burglary reports21 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and eight stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comThree robbery and 11 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries were reported. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, April 3

Five thefts or burglaries from vehicles were reported: at 12:30 a.m. in the 2700 block of Stuart Street; at 8 a.m. in the 1200 block of Haskell Street; at 3:03 p.m. in the 2400 block of Durant Avenue; at 4 p.m. in the 100 block of Seawall Drive; and at 10:45 p.m. in the 2200 block of Parker Street.

A robbery was reported at 2:30 a.m. at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street. … Continue reading »

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Crime

4 with Berkeley ties held to answer in alleged murder plot

Image via Facebook.
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Four men with Berkeley ties have been held to answer by an Alameda County Superior Court judge on charges that they conspired to murder two rivals last fall.

The alleged victims in the investigation grew up in West Berkeley, according to court testimony. At least one of them attended Berkeley High, according to his Facebook profile.

The preliminary hearing against 27-year-old Joseph Carroll Jr., 36-year-old Emando Roos, 28-year-old Travon Wilson and 28-year-old Joseph Connors wrapped up Wednesday after more than a month of intermittent testimony and legal arguments.

According to authorities, who recorded phone calls among the men as part of an Oakland Police wiretap investigation last fall, the intended targets of the alleged murder plot had disrespected Carroll and two of his relatives in YouTube videos and photographs on Instagram. … Continue reading »

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Police call for Tasers after attempted killing of officer

The Berkeley Police Association, the union for the rank and file, has been making the case for officers to have Tasers. Photo: Creative Commons
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The president of the Berkeley Police Association is asking city officials to consider the use of Tasers by Berkeley officers after a violent attack on an officer Monday.

The police association, the union for the rank and file, has been asking publicly for Tasers since at least last year. According to association president Sgt. Chris Stines, 95% of California’s law enforcement agencies use Tasers, but Berkeley is not among them.

Last fall, after a man tried to stab himself to death in Berkeley, Stines said officers with Tasers would have been able to resolve that situation with less injury. Since then, Stines said this week, there have been at least four other incidents, including Monday’s attack, in which Tasers would have made a difference. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley to launch Nixle crime alerts for phone, email

Berkeley police officer Stephen Burcham presents 10-year-old Brandon Coleman with a certificate. Photo: Mark Coplan
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The city of Berkeley is kicking off its first foray into social media communication with a six-month pilot program to let police officers send crime and safety alerts directly to the public, city staff announced Monday night.

City staff has been saying since 2011 that plans to explore social media usage, and develop a policy to govern its use, are in the works. As of this week, there’s finally something to show for it.

Beginning May 1, Berkeley Police officers will be able to use online alert network Nixle to send out a variety of information concerning anything from missing people or wanted suspects to road closures and other advisories.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko announced the pilot program to a group of about 60 community members who attended a neighborhood watch-type meeting with police Monday night. … Continue reading »

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Police arrest man after ‘violent attack’ in West Berkeley

Image: Google Maps
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Police arrested a 41-year-old man after he struggled with a Berkeley Police officer, tried to take his gun and jumped into the lagoon at Aquatic Park when the officer tried to detain him, authorities said Monday.

The officer received minor injuries during the altercation, and required medical treatment, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

Police initially received a call Monday at 10:30 a.m. about a man on Bolivar Drive, between Bancroft Way and Addison Street, who was trying to set a fire with some type of liquid. A caller told police the man was on his or her roof, and was pouring some type of liquid into the street and lighting it on fire, authorities said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 3/27-4/2

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See recent Berkeley crime coverage here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From March 27 to April 2, there were 13 burglary reports23 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and 10 stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comOne robbery and eight assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries were reported. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor's Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, March 27

A felony assault or battery was reported at 12:08 a.m. in the 1100 block of Ward Street.

A commercial burglary was reported at 4:19 a.m. in the 1800 block of Fourth Street. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police use gift cards, surveillance to track robber

Berkeley Police logo
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March 5 at 9:35 p.m., three men with a gun approached a woman on her way home in the 1500 block of Eighth Street and took her bag, police said.

Berkeley Police officers investigated, and found surveillance footage taken 20 minutes after the robbery showing a teenage girl at Target buying eight Visa gift cards with a credit card stolen during the robbery. Surveillance images also show a gold sedan in the parking lot. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man tied to Berkeley drug sales charged with 5 felonies

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An Oakland man with 12 prior felony convictions has been charged with five more, related to drug sales and gun possession, after his arrest by the Berkeley Police Department in late March.

Arage Hayes, 51, has been charged with possession for sale of cocaine base and powder cocaine; possession of a controlled substance with a firearm — a Bryco Arms 9mm; possession of a firearm by a felon; and the obliteration of the identification number on the firearm.

According to court papers, Berkeley Police officer Christopher Bonaventure served a search warrant for Hayes at his home in the 1100 block of 24th Street in West Oakland in October.

Hayes was not home during the search, but police said they found cocaine base and powder cocaine packaged for sale, a fraudulent credit card and an unloaded pistol that had been hidden inside a jacket. The serial number of the gun had been filed off, according to court papers. … Continue reading »

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