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Glendale / Burbank Focus

GLENDALE : Officers on Bikes to Patrol Business Area

May 05, 1994|JENNIFER OLDHAM

Police officers on bikes will patrol the city's busy downtown shopping district during longer summer days to ensure that crime does not creep into the popular nightspots as it has in Pasadena and Westwood.

This is the second year for the bicycle patrol, which is staffed by 10 officers who work in Glendale schools as directors for the Drug Alcohol Resistance Education program, as school resource officers and at the district's high schools.

The officers will alternate day and early evening shifts when patrols begin in early June in the city's downtown area, the Montrose shopping center and several city parks, said Capt. Ron DePompa.

The patrols will end shortly before school begins in early September.

The program--designed to promote interaction among the officers, shop owners and patrons--was highly successful in its first year, DePompa said.

The effort is part of a larger community-based policing program scheduled to begin later this year--if money is appropriated for the program by the City Council in its 1994-95 budget.

The concept calls for officers to get to know people along their beats and to become more proactive in solving neighborhood crime problems.

Local brokers applauded bicycle patrols as a partial solution to concerns that as Glendale becomes a popular destination to shop, eat and go to the theater, criminals may travel to the city to prey on well-heeled patrons.

"As market forces make the downtown area more successful, crime will follow--we need to get security taken care of now," said Bill Boyd, a broker with CB Commercial.

Bike patrols, popularized in beach cities and subsequently put in place in Studio City and Burbank, were formed in Glendale to prevent criminals from entering burgeoning downtown and retail districts, said Mayor Eileen Givens.

"We need to anticipate crime rather than react to it," Givens said.

Bicycle officers will concentrate on Glendale's central business district, which includes the newly renovated Alex Theatre and many well-patronized restaurants, shops and the Mann theaters in the Exchange complex.

Bicycle officers will complement foot patrols staffed by reserve officers that are already in place along the popular commercial strip on Friday and Saturday evenings.

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