OAKLAND, Calif. - Oakland police are boosting patrols in the Fruitvale neighborhood, with officers walking the beat and motor cops looking for traffic violators.
Officer Ernesto Leyva, an Oakland native who is a bilingual "trust building officer," is among those patrolling on foot.
"Our role is to build relationships with the community, provide a constant presence and also build relationships and provide a deterrence and address crime as needed," Leyva said at a news conference Thursday at the busy corner of Fruitvale Avenue and International Boulevard.
The initiative has already paid off.
On Wednesday, the first day of the boosted patrols, a rider going 80 mph on a stolen motorcycle in the bus lane slammed into an SUV and died in a fiery crash at 39th and International.
"The officers were able to respond within seconds, and it just shows the importance of that presence," said Oakland police Capt. Jake Bassett.
Bassett said the crash, as well as recent spree of ATM robberies, are proof that citizens want more police visibility.
"You can tell that there is this incredible demand for additional police presence and police service. And when we can, we try to deliver it," Bassett said.
Adnan Mohsi, who owns a market in the Fruitvale said, "From break-ins, thefts, robbery, we appreciate the change, and I hope it doesn't stop here. We need more officers."
Mohsin said he hopes the patrols are sustainable in the long term.
"If they don't do something about it, these businesses will shut down," Mohsin said.
One business, Ale Industries on East 10th Street, is already in the process of shutting down.
"The crime in this neighborhood is one of the factors we're leaving," said owner Morgan Cox.
Cox says his business has been broken into five times over the past year. That means he'll no longer use bioenergy brewing technology to make craft beer at his warehouse.
"If you combine our margin going down with getting broken into, and all that just adds up to where its very difficult to continue," Mohsin said.
Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at Henry.Lee@fox.com and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and www.facebook.com/henrykleefan