By Doug Oakley
In a move to head off more violence following two shootings earlier this month, Berkeley police have stepped up searches of residents on parole and probation and added officers to two west side neighborhoods where six people were injured.
And Berkeley City Councilman Darryl Moore is hosting a community safety meeting with police on Monday in response to the shootings.
"As soon as the second shooting occurred, there was a lot of concern that something might be escalating throughout the community, so immediately we developed a violence suppression plan," said Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.
No suspects have been arrested in the two west Berkeley shootings.
On March 2 at about 6:20 p.m., three people involved in a dice game in front of an apartment building in the 2200 block of Bonar Street were shot by someone in a car that stopped in front of the building, police said. About 2 a.m. March 4, three people were shot and injured while hanging out in front of an empty house in the 2100 block of Seventh Street. Witnesses said suspects approached the group on foot and fired.
Kusmiss said the department has added two officers to patrol both neighborhoods. They are stopping suspicious cars while other teams of officers have been "doing probation and parole searches at individuals homes."
"We don't want to see some kind of rise in violent crime that could have been headed off by focused work," Kusmiss said.
She said the police department gave the owners of three apartment buildings on Bonar Street where the March 2 shooting took place a plan advising them on how they can make their properties less prone to crime. And on Seventh Street the department contacted a real estate agent representing the empty building where the victims were hanging out and got the owner to add security lights and a better gate on the property.
Monday night's meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the gymnasium of Berkeley Youth Alternatives at 1255 Allston Way.
According to a statement from Moore, police will discuss the incidents, what progress they have made in the investigations and what residents can do to help.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.