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CERRITOS MAYOR’S COLUMN: Community safety is a top priority in Cerritos

By Cerritos Mayor Mark E. Pulido

Community safety is a top priority in our City. As a father, husband and son, and as Mayor of Cerritos, this is of utmost importance to me. To this end, the City of Cerritos is extremely fortunate to have an excellent Community Safety Division and a dedicated Sheriff’s Station. The City of Cerritos invested $12.5 million to construct the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center, which opened in 1997, and another $6.5 million to upgrade the facility in 2010.

The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station provides a full range of safety services for the community, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sixty-six sworn Sheriff’s deputies, 18 professional staff and four reserve deputies provide law enforcement services. Seven full-time and 42 part-time Community Safety employees provide code enforcement, parking control and crossing guard services, and there are 36 Volunteers on Patrol (VOPs). In addition, the City is home to Fire Stations No. 30 and 35, which provide top-notch fire safety and paramedic services to the community.

The City Council recently approved the lease of seven ALPR vehicles for Cerritos deputies to patrol the City with and to assist in their daily crime suppression efforts. ALPR stands for Automatic License Plate Reader technology, which enables these vehicles to automatically photograph and check the license plate number of every vehicle that passes within proximity of the cameras. The system immediately notifies a deputy if that plate belongs to a stolen vehicle or person of interest.

Cerritos residents also are now fortunate to have the services of a Mobile Stroke Unit. This new service was launched by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn in January. The unit responds to stroke-related emergency calls in Cerritos and surrounding areas.

Many people might not be aware that translation services are available for 911 calls to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station. Immediate translation can be obtained by calling 911 to report an emergency, then by announcing the language desired, such as “Mandarin,” “Korean” or “Tagalog.” The dispatcher will connect the caller to an interpreter in the requested language, and vital information can be relayed to ensure a speedy response by deputies. This helps to ensure that non-English speaking individuals can receive the prompt emergency service that the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station strives to provide.

Educating residents about crime trends and prevention strategies plays an important role in keeping our community safe. The City’s Neighborhood Watch Program encourages residents to be vigilant, with the motto “If You See Something, Say Something.” As the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement, residents have the ability to recognize when a person or vehicle does not belong in their neighborhood, or when something suspicious is occurring. Do not hesitate to report these observations to the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station immediately, even if you think it might not be important. Allow the trained deputies to determine for themselves if what you are observing is a danger to you and/or the community.

Residents and business owners can sign up for the Virtual Block Club (VBC) by visiting safercerritos.com. Members receive weekly crime summaries and a map that shows the locations of certain crimes. Crime alerts are sent to those in the VBC when deputies are trying to locate a suspect or a vehicle, when a unique crime takes place in the community or when information needs to be relayed to the public in a timely manner.

A new crime abatement strategy, “Operation Night Light,” was launched last year to dissuade would-be criminals from targeting Cerritos neighborhoods at night. Residents are encouraged to turn on their porch lights from dusk until dawn to send the message that they are part of an active Neighborhood Watch program. Operation Night Light gives criminals what they don’t want: well-lit areas and exposure. The motto of Operation Night Light is: “Keep ‘em on to keep ‘em out!”

Another program recently implemented by the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center is the Homeowner Burglary Abatement Project. This program aims to reduce overall residential burglaries occurring in the area. The strategy of this project is simple: make your home look and sound occupied, even when you are not at home. Homes that appear unoccupied are welcome targets for burglars. Through small efforts, you can make your home less appealing to criminals. I am pleased to note that this year residential burglaries have declined by 40 percent compared to 2017.

Cerritos Sheriff’s Station VOPs provide free vacation checks to help keep residents’ homes safe while they are away. Residents can call the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center at (562) 860-0044, visit the station in person or go to safercerritos.com and submit a request online. This service is free and the VOPs will leave a concealed notice of service on the first check and then log subsequent checks.

The City’s Community Safety Division, led by Public Safety Manager Daryl Evans, and the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station will present a Town Hall meeting on public safety on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, and I encourage everyone to attend. Cerritos Sheriff’s Station Captain Joseph Nuñez and Lieutenant Ed Wells will discuss crime trends and holiday crime abatement strategies. Deputy Welby Cham and Cerritos Neighborhood Watch captains will share their insights and observations. Sergeant Paul Ramirez from the Cerritos Detective Unit will review noteworthy investigations, and City of Cerritos Community Services Supervisor Emely Merina will cover disaster preparedness information. The public also will have the opportunity to ask questions. The meeting will be televised live on Cerritos TV3 and rebroadcasted on future dates for those who are unable to attend.

For more crime prevention tips and access to current crime reports, statistics and maps, please visit safercerritos.com. Another valuable resource to refer to is crimemapping.com, which posts information obtained from law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. Users can customize their searches to a particular type of crime or a specific geographical area. Residents can also create alerts, which notify them of crimes that occur within two miles of a select location.

Working in tandem with our Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center, together we can harden the target and keep our City safe. The City will continue to make safety a top priority well into the future.


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