It's been just over a month since the Redwood City Police Department rolled out its Project SAFE effort to increase safety at the Sequoia Station Shopping Center, and the department is already receiving positive feedback, Redwood City police Capt. Dan Mulholland said.
Situated adjacent to the city's transit hub, county seat and revitalized downtown corridor, Sequoia Station with its anchor Safeway, CVS and Barnes and Noble stores, along with various storefronts such as Sees Candies, Starbucks Coffee and Noah's Bagels, has recently seen its share of small crimes, Mulholland said.
"We've had some ongoing quality-of-life issues there, we've been seeing quite a bit of petty theft, shoplifting, issues of public drunkenness, aggressive panhandling, possession of open containers, smoking in front of doors," Mulholland said.
The Police Department has received its share of complaints over the years, to which Mulholland said, "we spent a lot of time out there to put out the brush fire from time to time ... but our old method of extinguishing the brush fire wasn't working."
He said that a long-term solution has been a longtime coming.
A collaborative effort between the Police Department, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office Transit Police, the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, store and property owners, and other stakeholders, Project SAFE is a multifaceted approach that uses a variety of resources to address public safety concerns and quality-of-life issues at the shopping center.
Rolled out Aug. 9, the program uses an increased law enforcement presence, along with environmental changes to reduce crime and increase safety, Mulholland said.
Some environmental changes include the removal of ashtrays near storefronts and the removal of open power sources that have been used by people to charge electronic devices, Mulholland said.
There is an increased police presence during peak traffic times for people transitioning through the area and for shoppers so that they can feel safe.
Although it's only been a month and with no hard data, Mulholland said that the feedback the department is receiving has all been positive.
It will be a long process, Mulholland said.
"But we're on the right track," he said.