Q: I was thinking about moving to Santa Monica and I wanted to know about the crime incidents in the neighborhood where I am going to move. Is there a way I can look up this information?

A: Yes. The Santa Monica Police Departments’ website (santamonicapd.org) has a section titled “Crime Information” where citizens can map crimes based on type and location. The Santa Monica Police Department utilizes a program called Crime View Community. With Crime View Community, anyone can check for crimes reported in the past 90 days. Anyone could search crimes for the entire city, a patrol beat or neighborhood or enter a specific address and search up to a one-mile radius from that address.

Citizens can also look at calls for service and arrests made in the city under the “Community Information” section of the website. The “Calls for Service” report lists all the calls the Santa Monica Police Department received and entered into the computer-aided dispatch system during the 24-hour period specified (from midnight to midnight). The Calls For Service report lists (in order from left to right) the time each call was received, the time the call was completed, the incident number, incident type, address, reporting district, beat, and incident disposition.

The “Arrest Report” constitutes a list of all arrestees entered into the electronic booking system during the 24 hour period specified (from midnight to midnight). The Arrest Report lists (in order from left to right) the date each person was arrested, the time of the arrest, the incident number, arrestee name, birth date, race, gender, and charge(s). Definitions of most charges can be found in the California Penal Code, the California Vehicle Code and Santa Monica Municipal Code.

Q: I walk in Santa Monica quite often and when I cross the street using a marked crosswalk, cars sometimes don’t yield for me. Doesn’t the pedestrian always have the right of way?

A: Yes, the pedestrian does have the right of way. 21950(a) of the California Vehicle Code states:

“The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”

With that said, as a pedestrian, this does not give us the right to walk out into the street without exercising some care for our own safety. In fact, 21950(b) of the vehicle code states:

“This section does not relieve the pedestrian from the duty of using care for his or her safety. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.”

In other words as pedestrians we have to consider the perception and reaction times drivers need when faced with a hazard. Under ideal conditions, the average driver needs about 1.5 seconds or less to perceive and react to something happening ahead of them. If a car is traveling 30 miles per hour that car would travel about 45 feet (30 x 1.5) before the driver begins to apply the brakes. So if a pedestrian steps off the curb and into the path of a vehicle on a street where the speed limit is 30 mph and the vehicle is only 50 feet away, there is a good chance the vehicle won’t be able to stop in time to avoid the pedestrian.

Before you step off the curb into a crosswalk ask yourself, “Does this driver have enough time to see me and come to a stop?”

Remember to be safe out there. Let’s look out for one another and yield for pedestrians crossing the street. Pedestrians remember, although pedestrians have the right of way once they are in the crosswalk, 21950(b) of the California Vehicle Code is a citable offense!

(subhed)

Security tip: Security surveys

A security survey is designed to assess the safety of your commercial or residential property and provide you with information on how to decrease the likelihood of a burglary or robbery. A crime prevention coordinator will come to your home, apartment or business to look over items such as lighting, landscaping, locks and alarms, and make suggestions for improvement where necessary. The department offers this service free of charge to residents and businesses within the city of Santa Monica. To schedule your security survey, please contact the Community Relations Unit at (310) 458-8474.

This column was prepared by NRO Artis Williams, (Beat 7, Sunset Park Neighborhood). He can be reached at (424) 200-0687 or artis.williams@smgov.net.