Category Archives: Police

Neighbors, police vow new push on crime prevention

Community members and police met Monday night to discuss crime prevention efforts. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A Berkeley community group focused on crime prevention pledged to up its game Monday night, and representatives from the Police Department said they plan to ramp up their own collaboration with neighbors.

Those efforts may be particularly important given the double-digit increase in crime Berkeley saw in 2015. Berkeley police officials reported in March that overall Part 1 crime — a federal designation for the most serious incidents — was up 16% in 2015 compared to the prior year. Violent crime increased 20%, especially in the area of robberies, while property crime was up 16%. There was a 28% increase in vehicle thefts as compared to the prior year.

And, already this year, there has been an unsolved series of high-profile sexual assaults and at least half a dozen shootings.

The group that met Monday, the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee (BSNC), has worked for some time to provide a city-wide scope to, and coordination about, block-level crime concerns. It meets monthly with police and sometimes takes positions on public safety problems, primarily through letters to council and other city leaders. But active participation in the organization has languished, and its board is working to re-energize the group, which has more than 100 people on its email list.

What’s your neighborhood group? Please let Berkeleyside know.*

One way the BSNC hopes to revive itself is through Facebook: The group has launched a new Facebook page to help neighbors connect. Former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, who helps oversee the BSNC, announced the Facebook page Monday night. Dean said the board is committed to a “coordinated approach” that involves all the city’s Neighborhood Watch and disaster preparedness groups that want to join forces. … Continue reading »

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Person goes under AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley

Person trapped under AC Transit bus on April 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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UPDATE, 12:20 p.m. AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles confirmed that a man collapsed while standing next to a stationary bus just before 10 a.m. Friday, apparently due to a medical condition. “He fell against the side of the bus, and slid between the curb and the bus,” Lyles said. There was no collision between the individual and the bus, Lyle said. The man was transported to Highland Hospital. His condition is unknown.

ORIGINAL STORY: Berkeley Fire and Berkeley Police responded Friday morning to an incident in which a man went under an AC Transit bus in downtown Berkeley.

The incident happened some time before 10 a.m. at the bus stop at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street.

BFD paramedics worked to release the man who was near the rear right wheel of the no. 18 bus. He was released at around 10:15 a.m. and placed in an ambulance and transported.

His condition was unknown at press time. … Continue reading »

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BPD, city investigate possible pellet shooting of 5 animals

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According to BPD, who issued a Nixle alert about the incident at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, on Saturday, at approximately 12:48 p.m., BPD responded to the 100 block of Seawall Drive for a report of cruelty to animals. Once there, they made contact with the city groundskeeper who reported having discovered five animals, a feral cat, an opossum and three raccoons, three of which were deceased and two which were suffering from unknown injury or illness.

The groundskeeper had taken the animals to the Berkeley Animal Shelter before the police officers arrived. One of the two remaining animals died shortly after it arrived at the shelter, and the second animal was later euthanized to keep it from suffering further. … Continue reading »

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Sports

Photos: Police take the win in Berkeley Twilite battle

Twilite baskeball game, Friday, March 25. Photo; Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood
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Scoring two 3-pointers in the final minute, a team of Berkeley Police officers narrowly bested teen players from the Young Adult Project’s Twilite Basketball program in the “Battle of Berkeley” Friday night. The officers will now get to display a large trophy commemorating the win, at least until the teams face off again this summer.

The youth team was down by 12 points at half time, then fought its way to a 1-point lead with less than 2 minutes to go. Officer Kelvin Gibbs, who played professional basketball in Europe for nine years, scored two baskets from behind the arc in the final minute to claim the victory. … Continue reading »

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Twilite Basketball helps Berkeley youth, police connect

YAP's twilight basketball program winds up this weekend. Photo: BPD
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After a long hiatus, Twilite Basketball returned this year to the Young Adult Project in South Berkeley. Friday night, local youth and Berkeley Police officers who have been coaching them are set to face each other on the court as the program winds down for the season.

The winning team will get bragging rights, as well as a large trophy to display until the next match up, slated for the summer.

Though the “Battle of Berkeley” — where officers and youth compete on the court — has happened in the past, this year will be the first time Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan plans to play.

Officers credit Ginsi Bryant, recreation coordinator at the Young Adult Project, or YAP, for bringing back the Twilite Basketball program in January. Though it began in Berkeley in the early 90s, participation dwindled in recent years and it was no longer active.

YAP itself was founded in 1972 in South Berkeley to help keep local youth off the streets and give them a safe, positive outlet for their energy. The organization, at 1730 Oregon St., offers a variety of programs including sports, arts and crafts, and leadership skills building.

Don’t miss our feature from January on YAP’s popular boxing program.

The 10-week Twilite Basketball program is aimed at pre-teens and teens. There are three practices a week, with games on Friday and Saturday nights. Bryant runs the program, which has about five coaches of its own. But Berkeley Police officers are also a key part of the equation.

That’s because one goal of the program has been to help police and youth build relationships that can help them off the court. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley first responders join parade in Dublin, Ireland

Berkeley first responders march in the St. Patrick Day's Parade in Dublin, Ireland, on March 17, 2016. Photo: courtesy Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken
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Members of the Berkeley Police and Berkeley Fire departments traveled to Ireland last week at the invitation of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who wished to thank the first responders for the way they handled the tragic balcony collapse at 2020 Kittredge St. on June 16, that killed six and injured seven students, most of them Irish.

The first responders traveled to Ireland with the San Francisco Police Emerald Society on their scheduled trip. According to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, the Berkeley ranks were made up of three personnel who responded to the balcony collapse, and three who assisted the families and Consulate in the days following the incident. Those who went were: Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken, Fire Captain Rick Guzman, Fire Captain Dave McPartland, firefighter/paramedic Ashley Bacher, and police officers Jennifer Coats, Stephanie Polizziani and Jitendra Singh.

Read more about the June 16, 2015 Berkeley balcony collapse.

McCracken said the Berkeley delegation was “treated like dignitaries.” “We had a police escort to our hotel and to the start of the parade on St. Patrick’s Day,” she wrote by email. “On Tuesday night, the day we arrived, we attended a reception at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We were hosted by David Cooney, Secretary General of Foreign Affairs, and Jimmy Deenihan, Minister of Diaspora Affairs. We also met the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Criona Ni Dhalaigh.” … Continue reading »

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Rain has abated, but Berkeley is beset by water problems!

Damage to the street after water main break. Photo Isobel White
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The rain may have abated for a while, but that doesn’t mean Berkeley isn’t experiencing some serious water issues.

A water-main break at Grant Street, between Delaware and Francisco, caused streets to be flooded Friday morning. Berkeleyside was first alerted to the news at around 11 a.m. by Isobel White on Twitter who pointed us to photos taken by her daughter, Norrie White, of the surging water. White then reported that both EBMUD and BFD were on scene: “I think they turned off main but still flowing,” she said as of about 11:40 a.m. This was followed by the comment that the water was “destroying the street.”

Tracie Morales, a spokeswoman for EBMUD, confirmed to Berkeleyside at around 1:40 p.m. that a water-main broke at 1734 Grant St.

“We have crews repairing a main break on a 12-inch cast-iron pipe,” Morales said. A total of 28 customers are out of service in the areas of Grant and Virginia streets, and EBMUD estimates repairing the break will take “a few hours,” she said.

Morales said Berkeley Fire Department was the first to respond to the incident, and was on scene at 10:50 a.m. to shut down the water. By 11:01 a.m., an EBMUD investigator had arrived to conduct an investigation and to call out a crew to make repairs. … Continue reading »

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Father of girl struck by car calls for better traffic control

Oski, the mascot of UC Berkeley, paid a visit to Lillia Bartlow this week. Photo: Bartlow family
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The father of a 9-year-old girl struck by a taxi in a crosswalk last week was among a small contingent of parents and administrators from John Muir Elementary School who asked the Berkeley City Council for pedestrian safety improvements in the area Tuesday.

Darryl Bartlow, whose daughter Lillia was hit March 8 while crossing Claremont Avenue with her mother after they attended an evening PTA meeting at the school, described a devastating week softened by “a great outpouring of love and concern” from the community. Both Lillia’s legs were broken and she may need to be in a wheelchair for up to a year, Bartlow said. It is unclear when she will be able to return to John Muir, where she is a fourth-grade student. She is home from the hospital.

Bartlow is a longtime Berkeley resident and graduate of Berkeley public schools. He worked for the Alameda County Probation Department for 30 years and now sits on the city’s Personnel Board. At the council meeting, he asked council members to install traffic lights at the crosswalk where Lillia was hit, which is directly in front of the elementary school, on Claremont Avenue at Claremont Crescent. … Continue reading »

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2 Berkeley officials call for Fulton Street bike lane

Bike East Bay says a protected bike lane like this on Fulton Street would make cyclists safer. Image: Bike East Bay
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Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and mayoral hopeful Councilman Jesse Arreguín have teamed up to ask the city manager to move quickly to extend a bike lane two blocks south on Fulton Street by the site of a near-fatal crash involving a cyclist and vehicle in February.

In a Berkeley City Council consent calendar item scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, they ask the “City Manager and Transportation staff to prioritize and expedite the installation of a bicycle lane on Fulton Street between Bancroft Way and Channing Way.”

The council item notes that the city needs to conduct a traffic study and public hearing before a new bike lane could be installed.

“This item urges staff to prioritize completion of all steps necessary to install the bike lane by May 12, 2016, Bike to Work Day or as expeditiously as possible thereafter,” according to the brief report. There is a bike lane on Fulton Street north of Bancroft Way but it ends at that intersection.

Advocacy group Bike East Bay has been actively pushing for that extension since last year when the street was repaved, and say city bike planning documents already lay the groundwork for making it happen. They renewed calls for the lane after Megan Schwarzman, a mother, medical doctor and UC Berkeley scientist, was struck by a driver Feb. 2 at Fulton and Bancroft Way and critically injured.  … Continue reading »

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Fundraiser launched to help girl struck by taxi in Berkeley

Supporters of Lilia have already raised more than $5,000. Image: goFundme
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Update, March 12: In just two days, 120 people have raised more than $10,000 for the fourth-grader, whose legs were broken after she was hit by a taxi in a crosswalk in Berkeley. The campaign has increased the goal to $15,000. 

Original story, March 11, 1:43 p.m. Supporters of the little girl whose legs were broken earlier this week when a taxi struck her and her mother in a crosswalk outside their elementary school have already raised more than $5,000 in less than a day to help her.

The gofundme campaign launched Thursday, following Tuesday night’s crash after a PTA meeting at John Muir Elementary School.

Find the fundraising page for Lillia here.

Police received multiple 911 calls about the collision at 7:40 p.m. The woman and her 9-year-old daughter were walking west in the crosswalk when a taxi driver traveling north on Claremont Avenue hit them. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said both the mother and daughter were injured, but that the girl’s injuries were more serious. They were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The driver stayed at the scene and was cooperative. He received a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the incident, said Coats.

The girl, identified as Lillia on the fundraising website, suffered two broken legs, according to the PTA. She is a fourth-grader at John Muir.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley fourth-grader hit by taxi; parents call for better crosswalk lighting

A fourth-grader was struck by a car Tuesday on a crosswalk on Claremont Avenue and suffered two broken legs. Photo: Kevin Chang
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A fourth-grade girl from John Muir Elementary School was hit by a car Tuesday night in a crosswalk on Claremont Avenue that parents have long complained is poorly lit and needs the city’s attention.

A car struck the 9-year-old girl as she and her mother were crossing Claremont at Claremont Crescent, right in front of the school, according to an email sent out by John Muir’s principal, Audrey Amos. Both of the girl’s legs were broken and she was treated at a local hospital.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, police received multiple 911 calls about the collision at 7:40 p.m. The woman and her daughter were walking west in the crosswalk when a taxi driver traveling north on Claremont hit them. Coats said both the mother and daughter were injured, but that the girl’s injuries were more serious. Both were taken to a local hospital for treatment. The driver stayed at the scene and was cooperative, and was ultimately cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash.

The accident happened right after a PTA meeting, and has renewed calls for lighting at that crosswalk. The Berkeley Police Department pays for a crossing guard to help students across Claremont before and after school. But many children participate in the after-school program and there is no one to help them cross the street around 5:30 or 6 p.m. when it is dark. Claremont Avenue is four lanes across with a speed limit of 25 mph.
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Police

BPD: Driver in stalled RV escaped to safety before train hit

Photo: Citizen reporter
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Authorities responded to West Berkeley on Thursday evening after an Amtrak train struck an RV that had stalled on the tracks near Bancroft Way and Fourth Street.

One person, who was able to get out of the RV before it was hit by the train, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries after being struck by debris from the crash, police said.

Scroll to the bottom to see photos of the RV on Friday.

Reports about the crash began coming into Berkeleyside at 6:12 p.m. One reader on Twitter described “Multiple police cars flying west on University.” Another described “Lots of action on Bancroft and Fourth,” including the Berkeley Police and Fire departments.

Police confirmed on Twitter at 6:35 p.m. that a train had struck a vehicle.  … Continue reading »

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Police

Police investigate apparent suicide near UC Berkeley

Photo: Citizen reporter
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Update, Feb. 25, 4:20 p.m. The coroner’s office has identified the woman who died as 25-year-old Hanaa Djouider, and classified the case as an apparent suicide. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt injuries. She is listed in the UC Berkeley campus directory.

Update, 6:35 p.m. Police have identified the woman who died in the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue on Wednesday morning as a 25-year-old Berkeley resident. Police got the call at 5:35 a.m. Authorities are investigating the case as an apparent suicide, said BPD spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Telegraph Avenue was closed between Durant Avenue and Bancroft Way for approximately four hours during the investigation.

Original story, 12:01 p.m. The Berkeley Police Department is investigating an apparent suicide early Wednesday morning near the UC Berkeley campus.

Few details have been released, but many people in the area noticed that Telegraph Avenue was blocked off to traffic between Durant Avenue and Bancroft Way on Wednesday. A coroner’s van was on the scene, along with many other emergency vehicles.

The incident took place around 5:30 a.m. According to preliminary reports, a young woman appears to have fallen from the roof of a multi-story building in the 2300 block of Telegraph. … Continue reading »

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