After months of planning, the City of Santa Clara has officially accepted state funds to help in the fight against car burglaries.
During its Sept. 17 meeting, the City Council voted to accept the funds provided by the state.
At the start of the summer, the state legislature approved a budget that included $3.75 million to help Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont and Newark fight the recent rise in auto burglaries.
Santa Clara received $750,000 in funding.
Assemblymember Kansen Chu handed then-Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers a check in the middle of August, but Santa Clara’s City Council had to formally accept the funds before the money could be spent.
The delay prompted some frustrated Santa Clara residents to start a petition on Change.org. The petition called on the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) to work with local merchants to install video surveillance where there isn’t any and look into federal and state grants to help fund efforts.
It also asked the department to “…regularly share the results of their efforts with the merchants and the community to gauge the successes and future needs.”
The Weekly reached out to the organizer of the petition, but did not receive a response. So far, 30 people have signed the petition.
The SCPD says it will use the funding to fight the issue on a number of fronts.
“We plan on using the funds to continue to provide directed enforcement in areas where we see significant activity,” said Captain Wahid Kazem, Santa Clara Police Department’s PIO. “In addition, we also plan on purchasing equipment that will assist our officers in preventing and apprehending those that commit these crimes. We plan to continue to educate the community — residents and visitors to our city — on ways they can avoid being targeted.”
As part of its education efforts, SCPD has sent out messages on the SCPD website as well as social media. Officers have held community meetings and distributed flyers in high target areas. They have also met with local business owners to encourage security, video surveillance and ample lighting.
The funds come at a very important time for police because auto burglaries continue to be an issue. Between Sept. 6 and Sept. 9, officers received reports of 23 automobile burglaries primarily along Lawrence Expressway, Stevens Creek Boulevard and Highway 101.
The SCPD is expected to start using the funds immediately.