What do you do when a stranger knocks on your door at night and asks if you got Crystal? The troubles began brewing in September in the North Todos Santos neighborhood off Bonifacio at Mt Diablo St when the sketchy neighbors moved in. “Who’s Crystal?” you ask. Right?
You know the deal: loud music, lots of characters with attitude coming and going at odd hours. Lots of girls. Violence, threats, stolen autos, property damage, seemingly weekly arrests, late night disturbances, dozens of calls to the cops, but the Concord Police have no record!
Since September, there have been numerous incidents in the neighborhood in and around the intersection of Bonifacio and Mt Diablo Sts. People have been arrested and forcibly removed from the house on the corner along with a stash of high end guitars taken away in the evidence van, per one eyewitness. Additional visits by the constabulary included apprehension of a bicycle mule (3 Concord PD units were involved, the donut skid marks are still in the intersection). Two people report gun shots fired in the evening last week.
My wife and I attended a neighborhood meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation and the need to start a Neighborhood Watch. 12 neighbors from Mt Diablo St. and Bonifacio attended, including representatives from the Concord House who are concerned for their developmentally disabled residents who live nearby. A request was made that Officer Robin Heinemann attend the next meeting to initiate the plan. But then Heinemann calls back on October 2, and says there have been no instances reported since 2005!
Hey, but send us a tip, and have a nice day. Play the tape, Dano.
Just some of the documented calls from personal phone records of neighborhood residents show complaints made to the Concord Police on the following dates: 10/1 x2, 9/30 x2, 9/29, 9/26 x2, 9/25, 9/23 x3, 9/21, 9/7, 8/28, 8/19, among others. These have increasingly produced “Hey what are you gonna do” disinterest from the cops and snippy service from the receptionist at HQ. Neighbors report being pulled aside by an officer and told that certain neighbors shouldn’t make anymore calls to the police.
I myself am out a $1,000 deductible for damage done to my van parked on the street in front of my house, which was hit by a “stolen” truck. Apparently, the driver had stopped to chat with the new tenants across the street, one of whom, witnesses report, was actually in the truck chatting with the driver. Business completed, the driver of the truck then hit my car, abandoned the vehicle that was still running with no key in the ignition, and fled on foot. Police arrived 24+ minutes later, the suspect long gone into the dusk. The truck was towed away with the engine still running. You could look it up: Concord Police Incident Info: #13-13761, 9-7-13, reported by officer Halm. Inspector Clouseau could break this case in his sleep.
So how is it that the Concord Police records gurus would come up with squat from their deep database searches of incident reports? A trouble property has been involved in numerous complaints, police visits and arrests, myriad code violation mitigation for years, with many known bad actors and an known absent slum lord that has been leasing housing to this element for over a decade.
How could city police records be so bereft of proper filing, or officers lack accurate inter-departmental communication as to totally discount dozens of calls, complaints, and police actions, including arrests witnessed by many?
This must be the database Concord Police use to prove to City Council that crime has gone down in Concord.
Or is this the new “We Are Spread Too Thin Tango” Concord residents can expect from the Concord PD when your neighborhood goes to shit? Or has it come to the point that if there isn’t blood in the streets a complaint gets sent to the circular file?
You know what I’m thinking? Maybe Concord should get its act together around Todos Santos before it tries to sell another redevelopment dreamland to residents with its shiny new Downtown Plan.
There may be details the cops aren’t going to make public, perhaps pending some ongoing CNET interagency investigation that can generate better headlines. But in the meantime, perhaps the City expects residents living in ground zero to just live with fear and frustration and either move out or put up with the decline of the neighborhood.
Not this neighborhood. Wanna come fight City Hall with us? Stay tuned and tell us about your neighborhood.
NB: The author of this post, Bill Gram-Reefer, is an appointed member of the City of Concord Measure Q Citizen Oversight Committee. He also serves as a City of Concord appointee to the John Muir Mt Diablo Community Health Fund. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not represent those of the City of Concord, its Committees or community partners.