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Crime Prevention

The goal of crime prevention is to reduce the opportunities for criminal activity to occur. This is primarily acomplished by raising community awareness, offering safety information (such as the following), and ensuring that the City of Petaluma environment is designed to ensure public safety.


Report Crimes on our "Crime Tips Page."



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Identity Theft - A Quick Reference Guide

Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number and mother's maiden name, in order to impersonate them. This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud which include, but are not limited to, taking over the victims financial accounts, opening new bank accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards and social security benefits, renting apartments, and establishing services with utility and phone companies.

How does Identity Theft occur?
  • Theft of purse or wallet containing ID, credit and bank cards
  • Theft of mail, especially bank and credit card statements and pre-approved credit applications
  • Change of address forms that can be completed by a thief with your information
  • Personal data retrieved from trash cans
  • Personal information that is either bought or stolen from inside sources, such as the internet.
What to do if you become a victim of identity theft
  • Contact all creditors by phone and writing informing them of the problem
  • Set up a folder to keep a detailed history of the crime
  • Notify the US Postal Inspector if you mail has been stolen or tampered with:
    • See phone listing for local post office
    • www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the problem:
    • www.ftc.gov - The FTC is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. The FTC helps victims by providing information to help resolve financial and other problems that could result from identity theft.
    • Identity theft hotline: 1-877-IDTHEFT
  • Contact each of the three credit bureaus' fraud units to report identity theft:
  • Request that a copy of your credit report be sent to youContact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline: 1-800-269-0271Contact the state office of the Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-866-658-5758 to see if another license has been issued in your name. If so, request a new license number and fill out a DMV complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process. Obtain a description of the suspect if known. Obtain witness information if any.
  • Determine the financial loss to you and attach all supporting documentation.
Preventative Actions
  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery
  • Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office. Do not leave in unsecured mail receptacles.
  • Never give personal information over the telephone (social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number, or bank PIN) unless you initiated the call. Protect this information and release it only when absolutely necessary.
  • Shred pre-approved credit applications, credit card receipts, bills, and other financial information you don't want before discarding them.
  • Order your credit report from the three credit bureaus quarterly to check for fraudulent activity or other discrepancies.
  • Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank counters, trash receptacles, or unattended gasoline pumps. Keep track of your paperwork, and destroy it when it is no longer needed.
  • Shield your hand when punching in your PIN number
  • Memorize social security number and important passwords. Do not record them on any cards or anything in your wallet or purse.
  • Sign all new credit cards upon receipt
  • Save all credit card receipts in a secure place and match them against your monthly bills
  • Notify credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number
  • Never loan credit cards to anyone
  • Never put your credit card or any other financial account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope
  • If you applied for a credit card and it hasn't arrived in a timely manner, contact the bank or credit card company involved
  • Report all lost and stolen credit cards immediately
  • Closely monitor expiration dates on your credit cards. Contact the credit card issuer if replacement cards are not received prior to the expiration dates
  • Beware of mail, telephone, or internet solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes or awards that require personal information to be disclosed
Internet Privacy Issues
  • Use caution when disclosing any personal information at any website or online service location unless you receive a secured authentication key from your provider
  • When you subscribe to an online service, you may be asked to give credit card information. When you enter any interactive service site, beware of con artists who may ask you to "confirm" your enrollment service by disclosing passwords or the credit card account number used to subscribe. Don't give them out.
Other informational web sites

Identity Theft Protection Reviews

California Department of Consumer Affairs

Privacy Rights Clearing House

U.S. Government Accounting Office

U.S. Postal Inspection Service

International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (Go to "links" section)


Marsy's Rights: The Victim's Bill of Rights Act of 2008

On November 4, 2008, the People of the State of California approved Proposition 9, the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law. This measure amended the California Constitution to provide additional rights to victims. Crime victims may obtain additional information regarding Marsy’s Law and local Victim Witness Assistance Center information by contacting the Attorney General’s Victim Services Unit at 1-877-433-9069.

A ‘victim’ is defined under the California Constitution as “a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act. The term ‘victim’ also includes the person’s spouse, parents, children, siblings, or guardian, and includes a lawful representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or physically or psychologically incapacitated. The term ‘victim’ does not include a person in custody for an offense, the accused, or a person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a minor victim.” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(e).)


Click here to download Marsy’s Card and Resources (English)

Click here to download Marsy’s Card and Resources (Spanish)


Neighborhood Crime Stats

Click here to view crime statistics for each neighborhood within Petaluma city limits.


Guide for Moving to Petaluma
A guide to help you find the right neighborhood for your family.

Moving can be an exciting adventure for some; however it can also be stressful and at times, unpredictable.

If you are planning on moving to the City of Petaluma, the following information may be helpful to you when looking at potential neighborhoods:

  • Drive through the neighborhood at different times of the day, night and on weekends to see what types of activities are occurring.
  • Talk to neighbors on the street you are considering living on as well as the neighbors to the rear.
  • Find out what their perceptions of the neighborhood are and whether or not they are happy living there.
  • Does it appear that the homeowners have pride in their properties?
  • Are the houses and yards well maintained?
  • Are the trees and shrubs trimmed to allow greater visibility in order to enhance a feeling of safety?
  • Are there abandoned or broken down cars on the street or near property you are looking at?
  • Is there a lot of vehicle traffic on the street you're looking at?
  • Are speed limits and other traffic laws practiced by drivers?
  • Is the neighborhood part of an association that enforces Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&R's)?
  • Utilize the resources that are available through your real estate agent. In addition to real estate information, their office should provide you with names and numbers of the utility companies that you will need to contact in addition to letting you know which schools are in or near your new neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood Watch Program - check with neighbors in the area for the "Captain" of the neighborhood.
If you will be renting
  • In addition to what has already been listed, talk to the property manager to find out other specifics about the property.
  • Find out what problems (if any) were noted with the last renters.

Click here to check crime statistics in your neighborhood


Megan's Law Information

Megan's Law Information (State of California web site)


Victim's Compensation Law

Under California law (Government Code Sections 13959-13969.3), qualifying victims of crime may receive financial assistance for losses resulting from a crime when these losses cannot be reimbursed by other sources. The State Board of Control (Board), Victims of Crime Program (Program), administers California's Crime Victim Compensation Program.

Losses That May Be Covered
  • Medical/Dental
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Wage/income
  • Financial Support
  • Funeral/Burial
  • Job Retraining
Losses That Are Not Covered

Personal property losses, including cash, are not eligible for reimbursement under the Program. The Program also cannot reimburse applicants for expenses related to the prosecution of an alleged perpetrator or compensate applicants for 'pain and suffering.'

However, losses not covered by the Program may be recoverable either through court- ordered restitution as part of a convicted perpetrator's criminal sentence, or through the enforcement of a judgment obtained in a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator. For more information about these two methods of loss recovery, contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Center in your area (see the government listings of your local telephone directory).

Who Is Eligible?
  • A "victim" who was injured or died as a result of a crime.
  • A 'derivative victim' who was not directly injured or killed as a result of a crime but who I at the time of the crime, was a resident of California,


  • Was the parent, sibling, spouse, or child of the victim;


  • Was living with the victim at the time of the crime;


  • Had lived with the victim for at least two years in a relationship similar to a parent, sibling, spouse, or child of the victim;


  • Was another family member of the victim, including the victim's fiance(e), and witnessed the crime.
  • Anyone who pays for the medical and/or funeral/burial expenses of a deceased victim.
Who Is Not Eligible?
  • Persons who commit the crime.
  • Persons who contributed to or took part in the events leading to the crime.
  • Persons who do not cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of known suspects.
  • Persons who do not cooperate with the staff of the State Board of Control and/or the Victim/Witness Assistance Center in the verification of the claim.
These Requirements Must Be Met
  • The crime must have occurred in California, or if the crime occurred outside of California, the victim must have been a California resident at the time of the crime.
  • The crime must be reported to the police, sheriff, highway patrol, or other appropriate law enforcement agency.
  • The victim must cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of any known suspect(s).
  • The victim must cooperate with staff of the State Board of Control and/or the Victim/Witness Assistance Center in the verification of the claim.
  • All other sources of reimbursement must first be used.
Felony Convictions

The law limits eligibility for persons convicted of felonies committed on or after January 1 1989. If you fall within this category, you may wish to seek further information or assistance from the State Board of Control or a local Victim/Witness Assistance Center.

Filing Deadlines
  • Applications for adult victims must be filed within one year of the date of the crime' The Board may, for 'good cause,' grant an extension for such applications filed up to three years after the date of the crime.
  • Applications resulting from crimes against a minor must be filed before the minor's
  • 19th birthday. The Board may, for 'good cause," grant an extension for such applications up to the minor's 21st birthday.
  • Applications filed more than three years after the date of the crime against an adult or after a minor victim's 21st birthday cannot be accepted.
Filing Assistance

Victim/Witness Assistance Centers are located throughout the State. These centers-have staff who are trained to assist victims in applying for compensation under the Program.

Applicants may also be assisted by a private attorney. California Government Code Section 13965(d) provides that the Board shall pay private attorney fees of 10 percent of the approved award up to a maximum of $500. The attorney fees are not deducted from the applicant's award and are paid separately from the approved award. The law also prohibits attorneys from charging, demanding, receiving, or collecting any amount for their services except as may be awarded by the Board.

Emergency Awards

If you have an un-reimbursed loss of wages or income and/or emergency medical treatment expenses as a direct result of a crime, you may be eligible for an emergency award of up to $2,000.

If you receive an emergency award and intend to claim additional losses or expenses in the future, you must file a regular application within one year of the date of the crime. This is because an emergency award is only an .advance" on a fully verified regular award.

However, if you expect no other losses or expenses other than those paid by your emergency award, you do not need to file a regular application if you verify on the emergency award application form that you will submit no further losses. Your emergency application will then be verified based on the information you provide on that form. Applications for emergency awards are processed within 30 business days after the application is accepted as complete.

If you receive an emergency award but are later found ineligible to receive any part of the award, you will have to repay the amount received in error.

Verification and Hearing on the Application

Applications filed with the Program are reviewed to determine eligibility. After completion of this review, you will be advised by mail of the staff recommendation to the Board of Control on your application. Appeal rights will also be provided should you disagree with the staff recommendation.

Program Pays Last

The Victims of Crime Program is the "payer of last resort." If you have any other sources of reimbursement available for your crime-related losses, you must use these available source before becoming eligible for payments from the Program. If you receive other reimbursements after obtaining benefits from the Program, you must repay the Program. Other reimbursement sources you may have available include, but are not limited to, medical or dental insurance, public program benefits, life and auto insurance, workers' compensation benefits, court-ordered restitution, or civil lawsuit recovery.

By using all other sources of reimbursement for your losses, you enable the Program to assist other deserving victims who have no other source of reimbursement for their losses.

If you fail to disclose your available sources of reimbursement, your claim may be denied by the Board for lack of cooperation. If this happens, you may have to repay any amount the Program had already paid to you or on your behalf.

General Payment Limitations

The total of all reimbursements to a victim cannot exceed the maximum Program benefit of $46,000.

There are also several specific payment limitations governing particular benefits under the Program, for loss of wages or income, loss of support, medical expenses, outpatient mental health counseling expenses, and funeral/burial expenses.

An applicant who has incurred expenses that exceed the Program's rates/limitations may not be eligible for reimbursement beyond the Program's maximum benefit levels.

State law requires a provider who accepts the Program's payment to consider it as payment in full and prohibits the provider from seeking further payment from the person who received the services. (This limitation does not apply to reimbursement of funeral/burial expenses.)

An applicant's eligibility for Program benefits does not guarantee payment for services rendered.


If, after reading this brochure, you have questions or need more information, please contact the Program toll-free at 1-800-777-9229; the Victim/Witness Assistance Center in your area (see the government listings of your local telephone directory); or the Statewide Victims Resource Center toll-free at 1-800-VICTIMS (842-8467).


Excerpts from the Petaluma Municipal Code

Excerpts from the Petaluma Municipal Code



Alcohol & Drugs

Neighborhood Drug Dealing
Tips for Reporting

What can you do if illegal drugs are being sold in your neighborhood?

You are a long-time resident in your neighborhood in Petaluma and just recently you became aware that the rental house down the block has new tenants. These new tenants seem to be very popular because of the following...

  • They always have a constant flow of visitors, 24 hours a day. Most of the visitors arrive by vehicle, but others arrive on foot or on bicycles.
  • The visitors usually spend about five minutes at a time inside the house.
  • Sometimes when pedestrians leave the house, they find the most inconspicuous place in the neighborhood and begin smoking something out of a pipe or even injecting something into their body.
  • You begin to see vehicles parked in front of the house or across the street with people waiting inside.
  • On occasion, you see individuals exchanging money for unknown items in small bags out in front of the house.
  • When you take a walk in the neighborhood, you start seeing discarded syringes, pipes and other miscellaneous items that you believe are narcotic related.

If you live in a neighborhood where some of the above listed examples are occurring, you probably already suspect by now that illegal drugs are being sold from your neighbor's residence. What would you do in a situation like that? Would you just ignore the problem, or would you say "enough is enough" and take action? If you suspect drugs are being sold from a residence, here a few examples of what you could do and the steps you could take to solve the problem in your neighborhood.

  • Contact the Petaluma Police Department regarding the problem in your neighborhood. You will also want to get in touch with the sergeant in charge of the zone where the problem exists.
  • Usually, on a problem involving narcotics activity such as the example given, the Petaluma Police Department's Street Crimes Unit (S.C.U) would be assigned the task of solving the problem. The Street Crimes Unit officer assigned to handle the problem would work hand-in-hand with you to clean up your neighborhood.
  • Contact a Petaluma Police Department's Community Services Officer (C.S.O) to get information on starting a Neighborhood Watch Program in your area. Have a date and time in mind when you would like to set up your first Neighborhood Watch meeting.

Petaluma, CA 94952

The above article was reprinted from an ad in the Sonoma County Independent September '99.


Raising Drug Free Children
Ten Tips for Parents

Office of National Drug Control Policy

Start: It is never too early to prevent your children from trying drugs. Building protective factors, such as letting your child know you care, plays an important role in protecting even the youngest children from drugs.

Connect: Take every opportunity to build lines of communication with your children. Do things as a family. Spend time together - eat dinner as a family, read together, play a game, attend religious services. Show that fun doesn't involve drugs.

Listen: Take a more active interest in what is going on in your child's life. Listen to their cares and concerns. Know what they are up to - what parties they are going to, with whom, and what will be served or available.

Learn: Children today are sophisticated. In order to educate your child about the danger of drugs, you need to educate yourself first. In many cases, you and your child can learn side by side. Sit down together and learn about the risks drugs pose.

Educate: Spend at least thirty minutes with your kids every month explaining with simple facts how drugs can hurt youngsters and destroy their dreams.

Care: Spend at least a few minutes each day telling and showing your children that you care. Make sure they know you care that they are drug-free. Explain to your child that you will always be there for them - no matter what happens. Make sure that they know to come to you first for help or information. The extended family plays a major role in influencing a child's life.

Be Aware: Look for the warning signs that your child may be developing a substance-abuse problem and get help before the problem occurs. Your pediatrician can help.

Set Limits: By setting limits on what is acceptable behavior, you show your children you care and help guide them to a safer, drug-free future. Declare limits: "This family doesn't do drugs. This family doesn't hang around people who do drugs." Enforce these limits. If you say no drugs or no drinking and driving, the rule applies to parents, too. Be consistent.

Get Involved: Effective prevention extends beyond the home into the community. Get involved in your community. Ensure that your community's streets, playgrounds, and schools are safe and drug-free. Start or join a community watch group or community anti-drug coalition. Become active in the PTA. Get involved in your church, synagogue, or faith.

Lead: Young people are as aware of what you do as much as what you say. Don't just say the right things; do the right things. Set a good example. If you, yourself, have a substance abuse problem, get help.


Admin Per Se - DUI License Suspensions

The administrative license suspension program, known as 'Admin Per Se,"(APS) was enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor as a stronger deterrent to drunk driving.

Who is Affected?

This law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of any person arrested for driving under the influence who:

  • Takes a breath test which shows a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, 0.05% or more if under age 21


  • Takes a blood or urine test and the officer believes that the driver is at or above the 0.08% BAC, 0.05% if under age 21


  • Refuses to take or fails to complete a blood, breath or urine test of his or her BAC.
What Happens To My Driver License?

You will receive an Order of Suspension/Revocation from the officer. If you hold a valid California driver license, the officer will pick it up and send it to DMV. The Order of Suspension/Revocation serves as a temporary license which expires 30 days from its issue date. Then the suspension/revocation action goes into effect.

The temporary license does not allow you to drive if you do not have a valid California driver license or there is another driver license action in effect.


What Does DMV Do?

DMV automatically conducts an administrative review which Includes an examination of the officer's report, the suspension/ revocation order, and the blood, breath or urine test results. If the review shows that the BAC is less than 0.08%, or less than 0.05% if under age 21, the suspension/revocation will be set aside. You will be notified by DMV in writing only if the suspension/revocation is set aside.

What Can I Do About The Suspension/Revocation?

You have 30 days from receipt of the Order of Suspension/ Revocation to request a hearing to show that the suspension/ revocation is not justified. A telephone hearing will be conducted unless you request an in-person hearing.

The suspension/revocation will not be stayed (delayed) unless:

You request a hearing within 10 days from the issue date of the order, and DMV cannot provide a hearing before the effective date of the suspension/revocation.

Before the hearing you may see or obtain copies of DMV's evidence. If you want copies released to someone else, give them signed permission.

You may be represented by an attorney or other person, or you may represent yourself. You may present oral testimony and other evidence or you may file the information you would like to present in written form.

DMV ordinarily will not arrange to have the peace officer testify. However, DMV reserves the right to call the officer if it is later determined that his or her testimony is needed. You may subpoena the officer or any other witness you feel may help your case. You are responsible for payment of any required fees and for making sure your witness receives the subpoena.

After the hearing, you may request a departmental review in writing within 15 days, or a court review within 30 days, from the date shown on the bottom of the notice telling you the results of your hearing.

To reinstate your driving privilege after a suspension/revocation, you must pay a $100 reissue fee to DMV and file proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR-22), or $35,000 cash deposit, or surety bond, or self- insurer certificate under Section 16430 VC. You must maintain proof of financial responsibility for 3 years.

Hearing Issues

Your need for a license cannot be considered at the hearing. Only the following issues will be discussed:

A. If you took a blood, breath or urine test:

  1. Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140, 23152 or 23153?
  2. Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  3. Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had 0.08% or more by weight of alcohol in your blood or 0.05% or more if under age 21?

B. If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath or urine test:

  1. Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23140, 23152 or 23153?
  2. Were you placed under lawful arrest?
  3. Were you told that if you refused to submit to or failed to complete a test of your blood, breath or urine, your driving privilege would be suspended for one year or revoked for two or three years?
  4. Did you refuse to submit to or fail to complete a blood, breath or urine test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?
How Long Will I Be Suspended or Revoked?

A. If you took a blood, breath or urine test and the results showed 0.08% or more, or 0.05% or more if under age 21:

First offense: suspended 4 months.

One or more separate offense(s) in 7 years: suspended 1 year.

B. If you refused or failed to complete a blood, breath or urine test:

First offense: suspended 1 year.

Second offense in 7 years: revoked 2 years.

Three or more offenses in 7 years: revoked 3 years.

Can I Get A Restricted License?

NOT IF YOU REFUSED OR FAILED TO COMPLETE A CHEMICAL TEST. If this is your *first offense and you completed a chemical test with results of 0.08% BAC or more, the following restrictions may apply to you.

NON-COMMERCIAL RESTRICTED DRIVER LICENSES. For first offenders only with BAC 0.08% or more who were 21 years of age or older at the time of arrest. Section 13353.7 V.C.

If you provide proof of enrollment in a California Department of Alcohol and Drug programs approved first offender Driving Under the Influence (DUI) program as described in Section 23161 lb) V.C., file proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22), and pay a $100 reissue fee, you may apply for a restricted license after 30 days of suspension. You may then request one of the following restrictions:

Driving Under the Influence Restriction.

Your driving privilege will be restricted for at least 60 days to driving to and from the DUI program.

To and From and During Course of Employment and Driving Under the Influence Restriction. Your driving privilege will be restricted to driving to and from and during the course of your employment and to and from the DUI program. This restriction remains valid for five months.

If you enroll and fail to participate or do not complete the DUI program, the department will immediately revoke your restricted license and re-impose the suspension for up to 4 months from the day your suspension began.

A first offender attending a DUI program who does not apply for a restricted license may request the early termination of the suspension. To end the suspension early, the offender must have served 90 days of the suspension, completed a DUI program, filed proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate (SR 22), and paid a $100 reissue fee.

Course Of Employment Restricted License

For first offender commercial drivers only with BAC 0.08% or more, or 0.05% or more if under age 21. Section 13353.6 V.C.


If you have a valid commercial driver license, as defined in Section 1521 0 VC, and you were not operating a commercial Vehicle at the time of your arrest, after a 30 day suspension, you may pay a $100 reissue fee and apply to the department for a license "restricted to driving to and from and during course of employment." The term of restriction will be for no less than 5 months (1 50 days) after the 30-day suspension ends. You may also enroll in the DUI program as shown above.

FIRST OFFENSE. You must not have another offense within 7 years Of a separate violation of driving under the influence, including such a charge reduced to reckless driving, or vehicular manslaughter, or a violation of Section 23140 V.C., which resulted in a conviction, or separate administrative determination that you were driving with a BAC of 0.01% or more while under age 21, or 0.08% or more at any age, or you refused a chemical test.


Juvenile Admin Per Se - DUI License Suspensions

On July 1, 1990, California became the 28th state to adopt an administrative license suspension program. The program, commonly called "Admin Per Se," was enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor as a stronger deterrent to drunk driving.

This law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of persons arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 % or more or who refuse or fail to complete a blood, breath or urine test. The suspension or revocation is independent of any jail, fine or other criminal penalty imposed in court for the driving under the influence offense.


On January 1, 1994, a new law requires DMV to suspend for one year any driver under age 21 with a BAC of 0.01 % or more as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test, or who refuses or fails to complete the test.

Who Is Affected?

Any detained driver under age 21 who:

  • Takes a preliminary alcohol screening test with a BAC of 0.0 1 % or more, or
  • Refuses to take or fails to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test.
What Happens To My Driver License?

If you hold a valid California driver license, the officer will pick it up and send it to DMV. You will receive a driver license suspension order from the officer. This order serves as a temporary license which expires 30 days from the detention date at which time the suspension goes into effect.

The temporary license does not allow you to drive if you do not have a valid California driver license or there is another driver license action in effect.


What Does The Officer Do?

The law enforcement officer sends documents to DMV within 5 business days following the detention.

What Does DMV Do?

DMV automatically conducts an administrative review which includes an examination of the officer's report, the suspension order, and the preliminary alcohol screening test results. If the review shows there is no basis for the suspension, it will be set aside. You will be notified by DMV in writing only if the suspension is set aside.

What Can I Do About The Suspension?

You have 30 days from receipt of the Order of Suspension to request a hearing to show that the suspension is not justified. A telephone hearing will be conducted unless you request an in-person hearing.

The suspension will not be delayed unless: You request a hearing within 10 days from the date of the detention, and

DMV cannot provide a hearing before the effective date of the suspension.

Before the hearing you may see or obtain copies of DMV's evidence. If you want copies released to someone else, give them signed permission.

You may be represented by legal counsel, or you may represent yourself. You may present oral testimony and other evidence or you may file the information you would like to present in written form.

DMV ordinarily will not arrange to have the peace officer testify. However, DMV reserves the right to call the officer if it is later determined that his/her testimony is needed. You may subpoena the officer or any other witness you feel may help your case. You are responsible for payment of any required fees and for making sure your witness receives the subpoena.

After the hearing, you may request a departmental review in writing within 15 days, or a court review within 30 days, from the date shown on the bottom of the notice telling you the results of your hearing.

To reinstate your driving privilege after a suspension, you must pay a $100 reissue fee and file proof of financial responsibility by a California Insurance Proof Certificate, or $35,000 cash deposit, or surety bond, or self-insurer certificate under Section 16430 VC. You must maintain proof of financial responsibility for 3 years.

Hearing Issues

Your need for a license cannot be considered at the hearing. Only the following issues will be discussed:

A. If you took a preliminary alcohol screening test:

  1. Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle when you were under age 21 in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23136?
  2. Were you lawfully detained?
  3. Were you driving a motor vehicle while under age 2l with a BAC of 0.01 % or more as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening device?

B. lf you refused or failed to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test:

  1. Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle when you were under age 21 in violation of Vehicle Code Section 23136?
  2. Were you lawfully detained?
  3. Were you told that your driving privilege would be suspended for one year if you refused to submit to or failed to complete the required preliminary alcohol screening test?
  4. Did you refuse to submit to or fail to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test after being requested to do so by a peace officer?
Can I Get A Hardship License?

Not if you refused or failed to complete a preliminary alcohol screening test.

You may apply for a hardship license only if you completed a preliminary alcohol screening test with a BAC of 0.01% or more and you have a critical need to drive.

Contact a Driver Safety office for a hardship license application.



Safety Tips

Personal Safety Tips - Personal Security
Want To Make Life Harder For Criminals?

This brochure is full of tips that can help you avoid becoming a victim of a crime when you are out and about or working at your job. This pamphlet has been prepared for your protection so you will not take unnecessary risks. By taking a few simple precautions, you can reduce the risk to yourself, and also discourage those who commit crimes.

Be Prepared
  • Always be alert and aware of the people around you.
  • Educate yourself concerning prevention tactics.
  • Be aware of locations and situations which would make you vulnerable to crime, such as alley ways and dark parking lots.
Street Precautions
  • Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you, especially if you are alone or it is dark.
  • Whenever possible, travel with a friend.
  • Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
  • Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys where someone could hide.
  • Walk confidently and at a steady pace.
  • Make eye contact with people when walking.
  • Do not respond to conversation from strangers on the street, continue walking.
  • If you carry a purse, carry it securely between your arm and your body. Although a purse snatcher's intent is to steal the purse, your personal safety may depend on not clinging to it.
Car Safety
  • Always lock car doors after entering or leaving your car.
  • Park in well-lighted areas.
  • Have your car keys in your hand so you don't have to linger before entering your car.
  • Check the back seat before entering your car.
  • If you think you are being followed, drive to a public place or a police or sheriff's station.
  • If your car breaks down, open the hood and attach a white cloth to the car antenna. if someone stops to help, stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police or sheriff or a tow trucking service.
  • Don't stop to aid motorists stopped on the side of the road. Go to a phone and request help for them.
While Waiting For A Bus
  • Try to avoid isolated bus stops.
  • Stand away from the curb until the bus arrives.
  • Don't open your purse or wallet while boarding the bus. Have your pass or money already in your hand.
  • Don't invite trouble. Keep gold chains out of sight; don't flash your jewelry; and turn your rings around so the stones don't show.
On Board Buses
  • During off hours, ride as near to the bus operator as possible.
  • Stay alert and be aware of the people around you.
  • If someone bothers you, change seats and/or tell the driver.
  • Carry your wallet inside your coat, or in a front pocket. A comb, placed horizontally in the fold of your wallet, will alert you if someone tries to remove it from your pocket.
  • Keep your handbag in front of you and hold it close to your body with both hands.
  • Check your purse or wallet if someone is jostling, crowding or pushing you.
  • If you see any suspicious activity, tell the driver.
Office Security
  • Never leave your purse or billfold in plain view or in the pocket of a jacket hanging on a door.
  • Personal property should be marked with your California Driver's License number.
  • Don't leave cash or valuables at the office.
  • If you work alone or before/after normal business hours, keep the office door locked.
  • If you work late, try to find another worker or a security guard to walk out with you.
  • If you are in an elevator with another person, stand near the control panel. if attacked, press the alarm and as many of the control buttons as possible.
  • Be alert for pickpockets on crowded elevators.
  • Report all suspicious persons and activities to the proper authorities (office manager, building security, law enforcement).
  • Be aware of escape routes for emergencies and post the police and fire department numbers near telephones.
And Finally, if a crime does occur, REPORT IT!

Everyone should consider it his/her responsibility to report crime. Many criminals develop favorite areas for working, as well as predictable methods of operation. When you report all the facts about a crime, it helps the police assign officers in the places where crimes are occurring or where they are most likely to occur. At least one out of two crimes in the United States goes unreported, either because people don't think the police can do anything about it, or because people don't want to get involved. if you don't report crime, this allows the criminal to continue to operate without interference.

In many cases, it is the information provided by victims and witnesses that leads to the arrest of a criminal. So tell the police as much as you can; no fact is too trivial. The police need the eyes and ears of all citizens.


Vacation Security

Vacation is a time for fun and relaxation. Don't let yours be ruined by crime. Follow the crime prevention tips below.

Before leaving
  • Have good locks on all doors and windows, and USE THEM!
  • Engrave your valuables with your drivers license number (preceded by 'CA") and post Operation I.D. stickers in entry doors and windows.
  • Never leave your house key hidden outside under a doormat, in a flower pot, or on the ledge of a door.
  • Make your house appear 'lived in.' Use timers for lights and radios. Have a neighbor or a friend pick up mail, packages and newspapers, and keep the lawns mowed and watered.
  • Leave your trip plans and an emergency phone number with trusted neighbors or friends.
On the road
  • Never carry large amounts of cash; use traveler's checks. if you must carry large sums of money, do not display it openly.
  • Keep a record of traveler's check numbers and your credit card numbers in a safe place. Have the telephone numbers to call in case your checks or credit cards are lost or stolen.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and never advertise your plans to strangers; this includes travel routes and the amount of cash you are carrying.
  • Do not stop to offer help to a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest phone booth and call for assistance.
  • If you suspect someone is following you, drive to the nearest service station, restaurant or business and call the police or sheriff's department. If you believe it is unsafe to get out of your car, sound your horn and flash your lights to draw attention.
  • If your car breaks down, raise the hood and attach a white flag to the antenna. if someone stops to help, it is advisable that you stay in your locked car and ask them to call the police or a garage. if you must abandon your car, keep all passengers together.
Car Security
  • Always lock your car after entering or leaving it.
  • Park in well-lighted areas.
  • Check the back seat before entering your car.
  • Mark your car radio and other removable car equipment with your driver's license number (preceded by "CA").
  • Always lock valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk. Always carry wallet, checkbooks and purses with you.
  • Do not advertise that you are a tourist.
  • Place maps and travel brochures in the glove compartment.
  • Remember: Planning reduces your chances of becoming the victim of a crime.
  • Ask for directions at a hotel/motel on how to get to those attractions you want to visit.
  • Select tour guides carefully.
  • Ask if there are any areas in town you should avoid. Stick to well-lighted main streets and public areas.
  • Looking lost (stopping and looking at addresses or staring at street signs) may make you look like an easy target for crime. If you do get lost, find an open business and ask for directions.
  • Only carry with you the cash you will need, and only small denominations.
  • If older children go off separately, be sure they understand the importance of keeping track of time and returning promptly at appointed hours.
Hotel and motel security - when staying overnight at a hotel or motel, remember the following:
  • Determine the most direct route to and from your room, to the fire escapes, elevators and nearest phone.
  • When occupying or leaving your room, use all auxiliary locking devices on doors and windows. (You may want to purchase a portable door lock for traveling.)
  • Use the door viewer to identify anyone requesting entry. Open the door only if you are certain the person has a legitimate reason to enter your room. if in doubt, call the hotel/motel office.
  • Unpack and place belongings in the closet and dresser. Arrange your things so you'll know if anything is missing.
  • Consider locking any electrical appliances (blow dryers, electrical shavers, etc.) in your luggage. Suitcases should always be locked so they can not be used to carry your property out of your room.
  • Never leave money, checks, credit cards or car keys in the room. Take them with you.
  • Place extra cash, expensive jewelry or other valuables (furs, gems, gold, or silver) in the hotel/motel safe.
  • Report any lost or stolen items to the hotel/motel management and to the police.
  • Report to the management any suspicious movements in the corridors or rooms.


The preceding information was taken from the "Vacation Security" pamphlet from the office of:

Bill Lockyer
Attorney General
Crime and Violence Prevention Center

California Department of Justice

For further information on this program and other crime prevention material, write to:

Crime and Violence Prevention Center
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
or visit http://safestates.org/


School Safety - Back To School

Back to school! Words parents love to hear; words kids hate to hear. As the beginning of a school year approaches, the Petaluma Police Department would like to remind parents of a few important tips on getting your children to and from school safely.

Bicycle Safety Tips If your child will be riding his or her bicycle to school, going over these simple tips will help ensure a safe arrival at school and a safe return home.

  • Always wear a helmet. California law requires juveniles up to the age of 18 to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • Always stop for a red light or stop sign. Bicycle riders have to obey the same signs that cars do.
  • Always us the proper hand signals when making a turn.
  • At busy street corners, get off and walk your bike across the street.
  • Always ride single file except to pass.

Safe Walking Tips Many children walk to school. In Petaluma, at busy intersections near schools, crossing guards may be available to assist your children in crossing the street. Here are a few tips for kids to remember when crossing guards are not present.

  • Cross at crosswalks. Keep to the right in the crosswalk.
  • Before crossing, look in every direction.
  • At crosswalks with signals, cross only on the proper "Walk" signal. This signal may be different at each intersection. Make sure your children know all the different symbols and what they stand for.
  • Avoid crossing between parked cars.
  • Watch for turning cars at intersections.

Preventing Abduction It's every parent's nightmare. Child abduction is a tragedy that devastates parents and touches all of us. These tips will help you keep your children safe if they are walking or biking to and from school without an adult.

  • DONT TALK TO STRANGERS! It may seem obvious, but you can never stress this point enough to your children.
  • Safety in numbers. Whenever possible, make sure your child travels with a group of children.
  • Tell your child not to accept rides from people with whom you haven't made prior arrangements, even if they say they are police officers, teachers, or friends of the family.
  • Establish a family code word. Tell your child never to go anywhere with anyone who does not know the code word.
  • Always come straight home from school unless you've made other arrangements.

Reprinted from an ad posted in the Sonoma County Independent (Oct '99)


Tips for Senior Citizens - Senior Security
When You Are Out
  • If you must carry a purse, hold it close to your body. Do not dangle it.
  • Never carry a wallet in your back pocket. Put it in an inside jacket pocket or front pants pocket.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Avoid dark, deserted routes even if they are the shortest.
  • Carry change for emergency telephone and transportation use.
  • Whenever possible, travel with friends. Check with your police, sheriff, or senior citizen center about escort services.
  • When using public transportation, sit near the driver.
  • Do not overburden yourself with packages and groceries that obstruct your view and make it hard to react.
  • Have your car or house key in hand as you approach your vehicle or home.
  • Carry a whistle or freon horn. In some areas, community groups offer free alarms for seniors.
  • When you drive, keep doors locked and windows up. Park in well-lighted, busy areas. If you have car trouble, be wary of strangers who offer help. Stay in your car and ask them to call a service truck or the police.
  • If a friend or taxi takes you home, ask the driver to wait until you are safely inside.
  • When walking, act calm, confident, and know where you are going. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a place or situation, leave.
When You Are At Home
  • Use deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Keep your doors locked at all times, even when you are inside.
  • Protect windows and sliding glass doors with good locks or other security devices.
  • Make your home appear occupied when you go out by using a timer to turn on lights and a radio.
  • Never let repair or sales persons into your home without checking their identification. Call their company to verify identity if you are not sure.
  • Install a viewer in your door, and use it.
  • If you live alone, do not advertise it. Use only your first and middle initials in telephone books, directories, and apartment lobbies.
  • Get to know your neighbors, and keep their telephone numbers handy for emergencies.
  • Work out a buddy system with a friend to check on each other daily.
  • Engrave your valuables with a unique identification number recommended by the police. Check with local senior citizen centers for available services. Keep bonds, stock certificates, seldom-worn jewelry, and stamp and coin collections in a safe deposit box.
  • Do not hide extra house keys under a doormat or in other obvious spots.
Protect Your Money
  • If you receive checks in the mail regularly, arrange for them to be sent directly to the bank.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money. If you must carry a large sum, have a friend accompany you.
  • Do not display large amounts of cash.
  • Do not sign a check or contract until you are sure it is for a legitimate reason and know the details. Check with a friend, a lawyer, or the police, if in doubt.
  • Never put your purse or wallet on a counter while you examine merchandise in a store.
What If You Are Assaulted?
  • If the attacker is only after your purse or other valuables, do not resist. Your life and safety are worth more than your possessions.
  • Make a conscious effort to get an accurate description of the attacker and call the police or sheriff immediately.
  • Contact your local victim assistance center to help you deal with the trauma many crime victims experience. They can help you learn more about counseling, victim compensation laws, and how to follow your case's progress.
  • Start a crime prevention program in your building or neighborhood. Turn your tragedy into a helping experience for others.
Don't Be Conned

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, older citizens are victims of fraudulent schemes far out of proportion to their population numbers. Keep informed about the latest con schemes in your community by reading the newspaper. Be skeptical about any proposal that sounds too good to be true or has to be kept secret. Do not rush into anything. Check it out with friends, lawyers, police, the Better Business Bureau, or the state or county consumer affairs department.

If you are the victim of fraud, call the police immediately. You may be embarrassed because you were tricked, but your information is vital in catching the con artist and preventing others from being victimized.

Take Action Today!

Staying active in your community will help YOU feel safer and help make your neighborhood a better place to live.

  • Join a Neighborhood, Apartment, or Window Watch, or Citizen Patrol.
  • Become a foster grandparent or block parent for children who may need help in an emergency.
  • If a friend has been a victim of crime, be supportive. Listen carefully and non-judgmentally, cook a meal, help repair damage' or replace belongings. Accompany the victim to the police station and to court.
  • Volunteer for a local Court Watch to help make courts more responsive to citizen's needs.
  • Ask the crime prevention officer from your local law enforcement agency to talk to your senior citizen's group.

Crime prevention is everyone's responsibility, not just a job for the police. Crime can be reduced by simple measures like remembering to lock a door, knowing about common con games, and watching out for your neighbors.

Although surveys consistently show that persons over 65 are victims of crime far less frequently than young people, senior citizens suffer more as a result of crime. Many senior citizens are so worried about crime they shut themselves up in their homes and rarely go out. Isolating yourselves behind locked doors, not getting together with your neighbors, actually makes a criminal's work easier.

Seniors are more vulnerable to certain crimes: purse snatching, mugging, and fraud. You can reduce opportunities for criminals to strike by being careful, alert, and a good neighbor.


Halloween Safety

Halloween may be a fun holiday for kids, but for parents, trick-or-treating can be a little tricky. Concerns about our children's safety - whether they are out in the neighborhood or back home with bags of booty - can darken the day more quickly than a black cat. But not to worry! To make Halloween a treat for all, the Petaluma Police Department would like to recommend a few safety tips:

Make Sure Your Kids Dress Safely
  • Check that the costumes are flame-retardant so the little ones aren't in danger near burning jack-o-lanterns and other fire hazards.
  • Keep costumes short to prevent trips, falls and other bumps in the night.
  • Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks can be hot and uncomfortable and, more importantly, they can obstruct a child's vision - a dangerous thing when kids are crossing streets and going up and down streets.
  • Make sure kids wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.
  • Trick-or-treaters always should be in groups so they aren't a tempting target for real-life goblins. Parents should accompany small children.
Make Trick-or-Treat Trouble Free
  • Make sure older kids trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so parents know where they'll be. Tell them to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
  • Try to get your kids to trick-or-treat while it's still light out. If it's dark, make sure someone has a flashlight and pick well-lighted streets.
  • Make sure kids know not to enter strange houses or stranger's cars.
  • Kids need to know not to eat their treats until they get home. One way to keep trick-or-treaters from digging in while they're still out is to feed them a meal or snack beforehand.
  • Check out all treats at home in a well lighted place.
  • What to eat? Only unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Don't forget to inspect fruit and homemade goodies for anything suspicious. By all means, remind kids not to eat everything at once, or they'll be feeling pretty ghoulish for awhile!

Halloween can be a lot of fun for parents and kids alike - if everybody remembers the tricks and treats of playing it safe.

Reprinted from an ad posted in the Sonoma County Independent (Oct '99)


Family Recreation Tips - Recreation Security
Camping Tips
  • Avoid camping alone in isolated areas.
  • Park your vehicle so it cannot be blocked by another vehicle in case of an emergency.
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency locations and phone numbers in case of accidents or crime.
  • Avoid leaving your camping gear (cook stove, lantern, ice chest, chairs, etc.) out in the open unattended.
  • Get to know your neighbors and help protect each other's belongings.
  • Avoid walking alone at night.
  • Carry a spare lock so you can use storage containers available at many parks.
  • Use a chain and lock to secure propane tanks, extra fuel tanks, portable generators, spare tires, bicycles, etc.
  • Always lock your camping trailer when you leave the vicinity.
  • Install a locking device on the trailer towing hitch, so your trailer cannot be towed away.
  • Before taking weapons with you, be aware of regulations. in many parks and wildlife refuges, it is against the law to carry weapons.
  • Report any suspicious activities and all crimes to the proper authorities parks, the park on private the sheriff or police.
When Boating
  • Never overload your boat beyond recommended capacity.
  • Never leave your keys aboard - even in a "hidden" place.
  • Always moor you boat with a chain or cable. Use a good lock and secure the cable/chain around something that cannot be moved or that will not allow the cable/chain to be lifted over it or torn loose.
  • Secure outboard motors with special transom bolts or clamping screw locks.
  • Consider leaving your engine out of commission when you are away remove the rotor; install a hidden cut-off switch; drain the fuel; remove a spark plug or the propeller.
  • Before leaving your boat moored, secure all removable items. Never leave fishing equipment unattended.
Vehicle Security

If it's not possible to park your vehicle within eyesight of your group, leave it some place where it can be watched by park patrols or someone you know; or arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up later. Other prevention techniques are:

  • If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, place them in the trunk - not under the front seat or hidden under clothing. (Be cautious that you are not being observed when putting valuables in your trunk.)
  • Install a locking hood latch.
  • Install an alarm device in your vehicle which will activate a siren, horn or lights to frighten thieves away.
  • Equip your vehicle with locking lug nuts to prevent your wheels from being stolen.
  • Install a battery locking device to prevent the battery from being stolen.
Mark your Property!

Like your TV, VCR, stereo and other belongings at home, camping equipment is also vulnerable to theft, especially when left in the open. Mark all your belongings with your California driver license number, and keep a record of equipment.

  • Mark your tent, sleeping bags and clothing with indelible ink.
  • Engrave your food locker, thermos, coolers, lamps and flashlights - and don't forget fishing poles, tackle boxes, backpacks, barbecue grills, snorkels and fins.
Safety Precautions
  • Be sure everyone in your party is aware of park/campground rules and regulations.
  • When hiking, backpacking or cross-country skiing, notify the ranger or campground host of your plans, including the trails you are taking, the expected time of your return and the name of a friend or relative to be notified in case of an emergency.
  • Consider having everyone carry a whistle to use in case of an emergency.
  • Never let children wander off by themselves or leave them unattended near a body of water.
  • If you are being annoyed by a discourteous person(s), report the person(s) to the police or park ranger.
You Can Help

Remember, parks and wilderness areas are for everyone's use. Be sure to pick up your litter and extinguish all fires, so that we can preserve the natural beauty of our parks. Report any suspicious activity you witness to park rangers.


Auto Theft
Auto Theft Prevention

You can take an active role in preventing auto theft in your community!

Participate in prevention first. Some proven tips and ideas:

  • Locking all doors of the vehicle and rolling up windows, and never leaving the keys in the car.
  • Parking in well-lit and busy areas.
  • Remove all valuables in sight, including car stereos.
  • Don't "advertise" that you have a state of the art stereo or exhaust system.

In addition to these ideas you can also:

  • Install a visible locking device or alarm.
  • Install a "Disabler" device.
  • Etch the VIN number on vehicle windows.
  • Install an electronic tracking system.
  • Carry the registration with you.

Additional information can be obtained from the Sonoma County - Auto Theft Task Force.

If you suspect anybody or a specific location of being involved in auto theft call the Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force at 1-800-TELLCHP. You may remain anonymous.

If a theft is currently in progress, call the Petaluma Police Department using 911. If the crime is not in progress, or to recieve more prevention information please call the Petaluma Police Dept. at 778-4372.


Project Child Safe
Project Child Safe - Gun Lock Program

The Petaluma Police Department will provide free firearm safety kits to local residents through a partnership with Project Child Safe, the national firearms safety education program. The goal of the program is to prevent deaths or injuries to children, and to help firearm owners understand their responsibility with respect to the safe handling and storage of firearms. The safety kits, which include a gunlock, will be available at the front counter of the Police Station during regular business hours. Also watch for the safety kits at future safety fairs and community events.

Project Child Safe, a program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), will distribute millions of firearm safety kits throughout the country over the next year. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant.

Residents are encouraged to pick up a Project Child Safe safety kits so they can securely store their firearms. Each kit contains a safety curriculum and a cable-style lock. The locks will fit most style handguns, rifles and shotguns. The goal is to prevent a child or any other unauthorized person from accessing your firearm in your home.

Project Child Safe has their own web site for more information.

The Petaluma Police Department currently has resources that can help you. For more information visit the Police Department's FAQpage.


Guide to Securing Homes



Neighborhood Nuisance Remedies
Neighborhood Nuisance - City Services

The City of Petaluma has adopted a number of ordinances over the years to create and maintain a healthy, safe, and pleasant city. It also enforces certain state laws intended to accomplish similar goals.

To increase awareness of City codes and services, and to promote safe, healthy, and attractive neighborhoods, the City has developed this brochure. If you would like more information about these ordinances or services, please contact the appropriate City department.

Recommendations on what to do about a Neighborhood Problem

First, talk, if appropriate, to your neighbor or property owner and ask for their cooperation. Then, if your "Good Neighbor" effort fails, call the City and:

  1. Identify the specific problem or nuisance.
  2. Give your name, address, and telephone number. (This information cannot be withheld if someone asks who reported a problem to the City. If you are not comfortable furnishing your name, it will be more difficult for City staff to understand and solve the problem.)
  3. Give the exact location of the problem.
    • Street address and house number, nearest cross street;
    • If no address, general location of property;
  4. Give specific description of problem.
    • Vehicle license number, type, color, make of vehicle, damage or other features that may be unique to the vehicle;
    • State if the vehicle is on the street or on private property;
    • Type of debris, car parts, building material, tires, garbage;
    • Selling clothes, bags, furniture, paintings, flowers, etc.;
    • Address where dog lives;
    • Address where loud parties are held.
Information on specific issues:
Auto Dismantling Campers, RV's, Boats & Trailers Cars / Trucks
Trees on Private Property Fences Fire Protection - Vegetation Control
Weeds Street Trees Residential Parking Permit
Basketball Hoops Street Lights, Signals & Signs Sidewalks
Illegal Dumping Garbage / Trash Storm Drains
Disposal into Sewers Theft of Water Home Operated Business
Loud Parties Solicitors
Neighborhood Crime Problems Neighborhood Watch Important Phone Numbers
Auto Dismantling

The right to operate a junk yard or auto dismantling yard is restricted by City laws. Call 778-4372 for information or to report problems.

Campers, RV'S, Boats & Trailers

Generally, campers, trailers, boats, etc., can park on city streets for a 72 hour period. After the 72 hour period, the recreational vehicles need to be moved or it will result in your vehicle being towed along with a citation. There is currently no city ordinance against recreational vehicles being parked on private property.

Cars & Trucks
  • Vehicles can be parked in the street, but must be in running condition and must be moved at least once every 72 hours. Inoperable vehicles may be towed pursuant to the Vehicle Code.
  • Generally, a vehicle cannot be stored in a driveway or required yard area such as any lawn or required side yard area.
  • You can work on your own personal car in your driveway, but it must be registered at that address. There are restrictions regarding the types of tools and equipment and the amount of time during which you may work on a vehicle.
  • Call 778-4372 for information or to report problems about vehicles on private or public property or for information.
Trees on Private Property

The City of Petaluma can provide information or assistance with issues regarding trees on private property, both commercial and residential. Call 778-4301 for information or to report problems.


There are various rules regarding the size, location and construction of fences. Call 778-4301 for information or to report problems.

Fire Protection - Vegetation Control

Once a year the City sends out notices to property owners in densely wooded or brushy areas. These areas are highly susceptible to wild land and vegetation fires. Property owners are directed to clear combustible materials from around their homes to reduce the risk of fire damage. Call 778-4389 for more information or to report problems.


Once a year the City surveys all vacant properties for weed control. Notices are mailed to owners advising them to cut or disc the weeds. For those owners who do not do it, the City sends out contractors to remove the weeds by discing. The cost to do this plus an administrative charge is billed to the property owner and is usually added to his or her taxes. If owners desire to remove weeds themselves, they must disc or cut the weeds below four inches in height. Call 778-4389 for information or to report problems.

Street Trees

There are various City laws and regulations that govern the planting and care of street trees, i.e., trees planted between the curb and the sidewalk. Call 778-4321 for information or to report problems. For a downed tree blocking the roadway, after hours, call 778-4372.

Residential Parking Permit Program

The residential parking permit program was designed to address neighborhood parking problems resulting from long-term parking by non-residents. The program generally restricts on-street parking by non-residents in specified neighborhoods to one hour. Residents may purchase an annual permit that frees them from the parking restrictions in their neighborhood. Permits are available from the Finance Department. Call 778-4352 for more information or to report problems.

Basketball Hoops in the Public Right-Of-Way

There are various ordinances and policies relating to basketball hoops. Call 778-4301 for information or to report problems.

Street Lighting, Traffic Signals & Traffic Signs

To report malfunctioning City-owned street lights or traffic signals, and missing or vandalized signs, call Public Works at 778-4303; traffic signals and signs on state highways, e.g., Highway 101, Highway 116, etc., are maintained by Caltrans. Call Caltrans Maintenance - Petaluma office at 778-8024.


Sidewalk maintenance is the responsibility of fronting property owners. You may call the City at 778-4303 to report problems and obtain information.

Illegal Dumping of Garbage, Trash, & Weeds

Persons seen 'dumping' their trash, garbage, weeds, or garden wastes in public or private places can be prosecuted if the following information is available.

  • Name and address of violator
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • License plate number and/or vehicle description
  • Description of violator

This information can be given over the telephone to the Police Department at 778-4372.

Garbage, Trash, Appliances & Car Parts

An accumulation of garbage, trash, appliances, old furniture, or scrap materials on private property may be a visual blight to a neighborhood. Call 778-4301 for information or to report problems. Car parts should be referred to the Police Department at 778-4372.

Storm Drains

As all City storm drain pipes feed our creeks and channels, only storm water should enter catch basins (e.g., openings in curbs). Anyone seen dumping oil, caustic items, or any other liquids into a storm drain should be reported to the Petaluma Police Department immediately. The number to call is 778-4372.

Disposal into Sewer System

Pollutants, petrochemicals, pesticides and heavy metals, i.e., gold, lead, silver, chrome and zinc, can easily upset the bacterial and chemical balances of the wastewater treatment facility. Therefore, businesses must obtain an Industrial Waste Discharge Permit from Water Resources and Conservation before pouring, placing, or discharging them into the sewer system. Call 778-4546 for information or to report problems.

Theft of Water

Illegal tampering with the water system or theft of water can cause contamination or damage to the city's water system, interrupt waste service, and hamper fire protection. Contractors wishing to obtain water from a city fire hydrant must obtain a permit from Water Resources and Conservation and pay a fee. Applicants will receive a water meter with appropriate back flow device to protect against contamination. Anyone tapping into a city water main without a permit will be subject to pay penalties. Theft of water should be reported to the Petaluma Police Department, call 778-4372 immediately. For more information or to report problems please call Water Resources and Conservation at 778-4546.

Home Operated Businesses

You may be able to operate a business out of your home, however, you must obtain a Home Occupation Permit from the City's Department of Community Development and a business tax certificate from the Department of Administrative Services. The basic premise for issuing a Home Occupation permit is that the business will not change the residential character of the property or the neighborhood. There are further rules governing Home Occupations. Call 778-4301 for further information or to report problems.

Loud Parties

There are City laws that relate to loud parties. Call the Police Department at 778-4372 for information or to report a problem.


Any individual who solicits door to door for a business is required to have a permit or a signed letter issued from City Hall. No individual may solicit or peddle for a business at any home where a sign stating 'No Peddlers or Solicitors" is clearly visible. A solicitor for a non-profit organization should obtain similar permission from City Hall. When a solicitor comes to your door, you may ask to see a permit. If the solicitor does not have a permit or letter, or refuses to show it to you, or causes any problems, you may call the Police Department at 778-4372.

Neighborhood Crime Problems

If you have information regarding any ongoing illegal activity in your neighborhood, you may call the Police Department at 778-4372. You may withhold your name. Names, descriptions, addresses and license numbers of suspected individuals are helpful..

Neighborhood Watch

Experience has shown that Neighborhood Watch has proven to be an effective tool in crime prevention. The Neighborhood Watch Program is operated by residents and aimed at getting people to take simple but necessary steps to discourage crime in their neighborhood. Through Neighborhood Watch, you can learn how to make your home, possessions, and family less likely to be victimized by crime.

Thank you for your help in making Petaluma a better and safer place to live.

This information is intended to aid Petaluma's citizens in locating City services. It is not intended to establish a legal standard for civil or criminal liability. For more precise and complete information, the appropriate City department or applicable law should be consulted.

Important Telephone Numbers

Emergency Assistance
Call 911 any time for police, fire, or medical emergency services


Police (Non-Emergency)


Fire (Non-Emergency)



Neighborhood Watch Guide
What is Neighborhood Watch?

Neighborhood watch is a crime prevention program, which enlists the active participation of citizens in partnership with the police department to reduce crime in their communities.

It involves:

  • Neighbors getting to know each other, taking the time to care about each other and working together in a program of mutual assistance.
  • Citizens being trained to recognize and report suspicious activities in the their neighborhoods.
  • Crime prevention strategies such as home security, Operation Identification and others being implemented by citizens.

You may hear it called Neighborhood Watch, Home Alert, Citizens Crime Watch or Block Watch. The names differ, but the idea is the same: Neighbors looking out for each other!

Why Neighborhood Watch?
  • There can't be an officer on every block so citizen involvement is essential to combat crime.
  • You and your neighbors are the ones who really know what is going on in your community.
  • By cooperating with each other and the police, people can help fight crime in their community in the most effective way - before it begins!
  • Neighborhood Watch members place stickers in their windows and Neighborhood Watch signs on the streets, warning criminals that they are in an active Neighborhood Watch Community, and that "neighbors are watching out for each other".
  • Get to know some of the officers working your area
  • Learn:
    • How to prevent burglaries, auto theft, assaults, elder abuse.
    • Safety strategies for: children, women, disabled and the traveling public
    • How to be the eyes and ears of the police
    • How to report a crime and give descriptions
    • How to assist in a police investigation


Neighborhood Nuisances - Small Claims Court Procedures


Dealing with Bomb Threats

A business receives a telephone call. The male caller says "I've put a bomb in your business, get out!" Before the employee can respond, the caller hangs up. What the management of the business may have done in preparation for this call will greatly influence the impact it will have on the staff. If no prior plan exists, then a degree of chaos usually follows. If a plan has already been formulated, the response to a threat is more organized, complete, and ultimately safer for the personnel present.

The citizens of Sonoma County are served by the bomb units of the Petaluma Police Department and the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, which operate jointly. These units are responsible for all bomb-related incidents throughout the county. Combined, these units consist of law enforcement officers specially trained in the recognition, handling, and render safe procedures related to bombs and bomb making materials. The officers provide training to other law enforcement and fire agencies regarding response to incidents involving explosives. They also provide training to private and public organizations in the area of bomb threats, bomb searches, and improvised explosives.

If a bomb threat is received, the business should immediately call 911. Making a bomb threat is a serious crime and will be acted upon accordingly. The report of a bomb threat to a law enforcement agency is a priority call, and a law enforcement officer will immediately respond.

The decision to evacuate a building, based on the receipt of a threat alone without the presence of a suspect item, is at the discretion of the business involved. The law enforcement officer in most occasions, will not direct an immediate evacuation of a facility unless a recognized or suspicious item is present. In addition, the officer cannot conduct a proper search of the facility. Specific people within the business organization need to be assigned to search given areas.

The primary reason that law enforcement cannot conduct the search is they do not have any knowledge of what belongs in the facility. A bomb search includes looking for the obvious; a recognizable pipe bomb or other explosive. It also includes looking for any suspicious item that does not belong. Take a typical work environment; how many gym bags, purses, briefcases, packages, or other easily carried objects are present that could conceal an explosive device? People in this area are not concerned about these items because they are familiar with them.

The law enforcement officer does not have that knowledge. To the officer every gym bag, briefcase, or package in the building is a potential hazard. Officers do not "just look inside" potential hazards, and neither should anyone else. Each "container" should be referred to the bomb unit as a suspect item. Given even a relatively small facility, the number of these "potential hazards" can be overwhelming. Only someone familiar with the facility has the ability to say that nothing unusual is present.

By coordinating businesses' response to a bomb threat with law enforcement, these incidents can be safely and efficiently resolved. But the first step for management and employees is to know exactly what to do if they receive that bomb threat.

(Reprinted from an ad posted in the Sonoma County Independent Oct '99)


Is your child in a gang?
Kids and Gangs

Taken from the pamphlet "What can I do to keep my kids form joining a gang?" sponsored by Radio Shack, National Crime Prevention Council, and the National Sheriff's Association.

Today many communities, maybe even yours, are facing serious problems with gangs. As a member of the community, you may feel helpless against gangs, but there are things that you can do in conjunction with the authorities to prevent or reduce gang problems. And as a parent, there's a lot that you can do to keep your own children from joining gangs.

Learn about gangs
  • Learn about gangs and signs of gang activity
  • Join with others to make or keep your neighborhood gang-free.
  • Sharpen your skills as a parent and use them.

Young people (as young as 9 or 10 years) are joining gangs in ever-growing numbers in all parts of the country. The reasons they give for joining are remarkably similar:

  • To belong to a group
  • For excitement
  • To get protection
  • To earn money
  • To be with friends

Gangs leave signs of their presence. As gang members, young people may adopt specific behavior, such as:

  • Wearing specific colors or emblems
  • Use of special hand signals
  • Wearing or drawing gang symbols - on walls as graffiti or on books, paper or clothing
  • Wearing certain kinds of color of clothing in very specific ways
  • Possessing unexplained, relatively large sums of money
  • Grades becoming worse and interest in school declining
  • Staying out without good reason
  • "Hanging" with known or suspected gang members
  • Carrying weapons
As a parent

Many gang members say they joined because the gang offered them support, caring and a sense of order and purpose. All the things most parents try to give their kids. The odds are that the better you meet these needs, the less need your children will see for gangs.

Here are some parenting skills that are especially important:

  • Talk with and listen to your child. Spend some special time with each child.
  • Put a high value on education and help your child do his or her best in school. Do everything possible to prevent dropping out.
  • Help your kids identify positive role models and heroes, especially people in your community.
  • Do everything possible to involve your children in supervised, positive group activities.
  • Praise them for doing well and encourage them to do their very best - to stretch their skills to the utmost.
  • Know what your children are doing and with whom. Know about their friends and their friends' families.
Address the issue

It is important to discuss with your child gangs and the problems they can create. The best time to talk about gangs is before there's a major problem. Tell your child that:

  • You disapprove of gangs
  • You don't want to see your child hurt or arrested
  • You see your child as special, and worth protecting
  • You want to help your child with any problems he or she might face
  • Family members don't keep secrets from each other
  • You and other parents are working together against gangs
  • Listen to what your child has to say
Talk to other parents

For one thing, you'll find out what everyone else's parent really said. For another, you can support each other and share knowledge that will help spot problems sooner than you can on your own.

As a Citizen

If you suspect gang activity in your area, contact the police immediately. Gangs often lead to crime problems, and the police should be made aware of any potential problem areas.

Develop positive alternatives

Are there after-school and weekend activities kids can enjoy? Can the school offer its facilities? Can parents organize clubs or sports? Can older kids tutor or mentor younger ones? Can the kids themselves help with ideas?

Work with police and other agencies

Report all suspicious activity; set up a Neighborhood Watch or a community patrol; let the police know about gang graffiti; get (and share) the facts on the gang problem in your community; find out what local services, non-profit as well as government, will work with communities to help avoid gang problems.

After contacting the police:
  • Get organized against the gang organization
  • Use the system. Work with the local authorities and city or school organizations. Use your neighborhood association or get together with others to form a new group. Get help from a variety of sources right in your community. In addition to the police: religious leaders, family counselors, community associations, school counselors or principals, athletic coaches, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA/YWCA, Scouts, drug abuse prevention groups, youth-serving agencies and community centers, just to name a few.

The Petaluma Police Department currently has resources that can help you with gang problems in your neighborhood. For more information visit the Police Department's contact page at http://cityofpetaluma.net/police/scu-gangs.html


Graffiti Hotline

Graffiti Hotline - 707.776.3606



Department Crime Stats

Crime Statistics

Click here to view crime statistics for each neighborhood within Petaluma city limits

Contact Us

EMERGENCY cell phone calls: 707.762.2727


Non-Emergency: 707.778.4372
Fax: 707.656.4059

Ken Savano, Chief of Police
969 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952


To submit a commendation or to

report possible officer misconduct,

click here (English) or (Spanish)

Administration 707.778.4370

Code Enforcement 707.778.4469

Graffiti Hotline 707.776.3606

Records 707.778.4372

Property & Evidence 707.778.4328

Mental Health Resources

Report Habitual DUI Offenders 707.778.4379

Parking and Abandoned Vehicle Complaints 707-776-3710


Public Lobby Hours
Monday – Thursday, 8AM - 5PM


Police Department
Police Administration