Piedmont community endures crime-ridden November


As of Nov. 13, there have been four armed robberies and five instances of breaking and entering in Piedmont during the past month, according to the Piedmont Police Department.

Senior Nina Adarkar and her family were directly affected by one of these crimes as it took place on their street and in their backyard.

“My family and I were out to dinner and when we came back there were police cars blocking our house and street,” Adarkar said. “The police came up to our car and asked us if we lived on the street, after we responded ‘yes,’ they said there was a gunman running around the street and to come back in an hour or so.”

Adarkar said that while her family drove around Berkeley for an hour or so before returning home, she texted her friends about the crime that was happening.

“It’s interesting how connected and intertwined Piedmont is,” Adarkar said. “When my friend told me she had seen helicopters looking for the man and another friend told me she already knew about the crime, I was reminded of just how small Piedmont is.”

Police Chief Jeremy Bowers said that while communication is very important regarding the crime that is happening, it is also important for people to give and receive accurate information.file_000

“Anything that fosters communication is a good thing to the extent that the information is accurate,” Bowers said. “For example, people often use the terms burglary and robbery interchangeably when in reality they are really two very different things.”

Bowers said that this year there have been 14 robberies in Piedmont, four of which have been armed.

“A burglary is when someone enters your home with an intent to commit a theft, while a robbery is the taking of your property by means of force or fear,” Bowers said. “With the mix of these two terms, information often gets misconstrued, creating a lot of angst.”

Adarkar said the crime that happened did not make her feel any less safe in the long term, however it was scary in the moment.

“Of my family, I think I showed my fear the most,”  Adarkar said. “I was hesitant to go back and sleep at our house, but I haven’t felt unsafe or thought about it much since.”

Junior Morgan Shelly, who lives on the same street as Adarkar, experienced the same crime from a slightly different perspective.

  “I was coming back from work alone and couldn’t get onto my street because it was blocked by police,” Shelly said.

The police said that they had gotten multiple calls from people hearing noises in their backyards, Shelly said.

“The police wouldn’t let me get out of my car or go onto the street, so I slept at a friend’s house around the block,” Shelly said.

According to the Piedmont crime maps and statistics, all of the violent incidents have occurred between the hours of 6 to 9 a.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. While the property crimes have occurred between predominantly between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Shelly said that she feels slightly less safe in Piedmont now because of her personal experience and because of the recent increase in conversations about crime.

“There seems to be a lot of conversation centered around Piedmont crime,” Shelly said. “I’m not sure if the rate has actually increased, but there is definitely more crime-related conversation happening.”

Bowers said the crime rate in Piedmont has actually remained constant.

“While property-type crimes have gone down, robbery rates have gone up, which is why our overall crime rate remains balanced,” Bowers said.

Adarkar also said she has also noticed an increase in conversations about crime due to the lack of crime Piedmont is normally used to.

“People in Piedmont aren’t used to severe crime,” Adarkar said. “I think an increase in crime rates or severe crime could definitely lead to a big uproar from Piedmont parents and a desire to make Piedmont more safe.”

Adarkar said that while the safety of our city is important, we should be cautious in the ways that we go about implementing changes to make Piedmont safer.

“I think an increase in police protection and fear of crime might lead to racial profiling and could emphasize the negative stigma of Piedmont,” Adarkar said.