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Petaluma Police Street Crimes Unit

Due to staffing reductions, the Street Crimes Unit has been disassembled and the officers reassigned to patrol duties. You may report drug activity, gang activity, or neighborhood problems by contacting the Police Department general numbers. The police department will still assist you with neighborhood problems, however we do not have investigators dedicated solely to this purpose. Your call will be prioritized and assigned to an Officer as soon as possible. We recognize the vital role this unit played in combating drugs, gangs, and neighborhood problems and intend to reinstate the unit when staffing levels and funding allow.

The Petaluma Police Department Street Crimes Unit is made up of 3 detectives and one supervisor. The unit is sometimes supplemented with officers from the patrol division and other agencies such as DEA, BNE, ABC, FBI, Sonoma County Probation, State Parole and neighboring police Departments.

The Street Crimes Unit investigates crimes such as narcotic activity, gang activity, problem houses, problem people, chronic crimes (repeated crimes) and vice crimes, where an officer has to conduct an investigation while undercover. The Street Crimes Unit also at times supplements the Petaluma Police Investigations Division with major crimes such as but not limited to, murder, rape, kidnapping and major assaults. Additional responsibilities of the Street Crimes Unit include monitoring the city's alcohol establishments, enforcing gambling and liquor laws and participating in virtually any undercover assignment.

The Street Crimes Unit works with the cooperation of the DEA Task Force and the Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force (SCATT) where a Petaluma Police Detective is assigned fulltime to both units.

The Street Crimes Unit is responsible for the registration of convicted narcotic offenders and convicted gang members.

The Street Crimes Unit is also involved with educating the public regarding the topic of narcotics and gangs. Several lectures and speaking engagements are scheduled throughout the year with public and private schools as well as private clubs and neighborhoods.

Although the Street Crimes Unit is a pro-active policing unit, it handles an influx of information from the public regarding suspected narcotics activity and other crimes.

Our primary goal is to facilitate the delivery of services that match community needs to resources as they apply to the quality of life within our city. We actively seek input from all segments of the community as well as civic organizations that wish to have an impact on the community.

Drugs and Narcotics

If you suspect narcotic activity in your neighborhood:

Things to look for:

  • Unusual amount of traffic (vehicles or pedestrian)
  • Traffic that stays for only a short period of time
  • Activity at the location at all hours of the day and night
  • Unusual odors

Signs of drug use:


  • Becomes disrespectful-is verbally and physically abusive
  • Is angry a lot, acts paranoid or confused, or suffers from extreme mood swings
  • Seems depressed and less out-going than usual
  • Is secretive and lies about what they are doing and where he is going
  • Is stealing or "losing" possessions they are used to value
  • Seems to have a lot of money, or is always asking for money
  • Withdraws from the family and family activities

Physical Appearance:

  • Not taking care of hygiene and grooming
  • Not sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Too hyperactive or too little energy

Social Activity/School Performance:

  • Drops old friends and activities
  • Is skipping school
  • Loses interest in school work and is getting low grades
  • Is sleeping in class
  • Loses concentration and is having trouble remembering things

Narcotics: Lethargy, drowsiness, euphoria, nausea, constipation, constricted pupils, slowed breathing.

Hallucinogens: Trance-like state, excitation, euphoria, increased pulse rate, insomnia, hallucinations.

Alcohol: Slurred speech, impaired judgment and motor skills, lack of coordination, confusion, tremors, drowsiness, agitation, nausea and vomiting, respiratory ailments, depression.

Depressants: Drowsiness, confusion, lack of coordination, tremors, slurred speech, depressed pulse rate, shallow respiration, dilated pupils.

Cocaine/Crack Cocaine: Excitability, euphoria, talkativeness, anxiety, increased pulse rate, dilated pupils, paranoia, agitation, hallucinations.

Inhalants: Slurred speech, lack of coordination, nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing.

Marijuana: Mood swings, euphoria, slow thinking and reflexes, dilated pupils, increased appetite, dryness of mouth, increased pulse rate, delusions, hallucinations.

Stimulants: excitability, tremors, insomnia, sweating, dry mouth and lips, bad breath, dilated pupils, weight loss, paranoia, hallucinations.

Tobacco: Smelly hair, clothes, and breath; yellowing of teeth; coughs; increased asthma attacks; shortness of breath and poorer athletic performance. After only a few weeks, users of spit tobacco can develop cracked lips, white spots, sores, and bleeding in the mouth.

For mor information, check our Crime Prevention pages - Drug Hotline, Drug Free Kids and Dealing.


Gang Activity

The Petaluma Police Department aggressively monitors the gang activity in the City of Petaluma by tracking members, identifying their monikers and their locations.

Grafitti Hotline - 707.776.3606

What is a Gang?

Gangs are usually formed according to ethnic, racial or economic reasons. Traditional youth gangs structured along ethnic lines include Black, Hispanic, Asian (e.g., Laotian, Mein), Pacific Islander (e.g., Tongan, Filipino), and White (e.g., Skinheads, White Pride) gangs.

Criminal street gangs are three or more people who form an allegiance for a common purpose and engage in violent, unlawful, or criminal activity. A gang may or may not claim control over a certain territory in the community.

Factors Contributing to Gang Affiliation

Some contributing factors include:

  • Ineffective parental skills.
  • History of family gang involvement.
  • Evidence of parental abuse or neglect.
  • Poor academic achievement and early anti-social behavior.
  • Displays low self-esteem or experimenting with drugs or alcohol.
  • Isolates themselves with others experiencing similar social and personal problems.

Signs of Gang Involvment

This list is a guide. Some singular items may not be signs of involvement.

Look for change in behavior and lifestyle.

  • Drug or alcohol use.
  • Decline in grades at school.
  • Truancy.
  • Change of friends.
  • Keeping late hours.
  • Having large sums of money or expensive items, which they cannot explain.
  • Gang graffiti in their bedroom.
  • Wearing gang clothing or colors (e.g., Blue or Red).
  • Using hand signals to communicate with other gang members.
  • Having photographs showing gang names, gang slogans, gang insignia, or gang activities.
  • Gang tattoos or gang insignias.
  • Disclosure of gang membership.

How Gangs Function

Gangs thrive on intimidation and notoriety. They often find violence glamorous and a necessity to maintain individual and gang status. Like most groups, street gangs depend upon both individual and group participation. Unlike legitimate groups or organizations, street gangs generally do not have an identified leader. The person who is the toughest, has the weapons, or has the most money may rise as the leader. This status is generally short-lived. Steps to Discourage Your Child from Gangs (see also our Crime Prevention page)

  • Discourage or stop your child from hanging around with other gang or suspected gang members.
  • Know your child's friends.
  • Occupy or supervise your child's free time.
  • Develop good communication with your child.
  • Spend time with your child.
  • Do not buy or allow your child to dress in gang style clothing or colors.
  • Set limits for your child.
  • Do not allow your child to write or practice writing gang names.
  • Teach your child respect for others' property.
  • Learn about gang and drug activity in your community.

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


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