News

Big increase in burglaries has police on guard

Palo Alto police have issued a warning for residents to be vigilant and lock doors and windows after a significant increase in home burglaries since the beginning of the year.

There have been 12 burglaries alone in the last week, with unlocked doors or windows being the points of entry, Brown said.

There have been 51 residential burglaries in Palo Alto since Jan. 1, Palo Alto Police Sgt. Sandra Brown said. There were 12 last November, indicating more than a doubling of the monthly number of burglaries since then.

Seventeen of the burglaries since Jan. 1 have occurred on Saturdays and Sundays.

The bulk of the home burglaries occur on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Brown said, when people are often at work.

Laptops, digital cameras, iPods and large plasma TVs are common targets of burglars.

"The Palo Alto Police Department continually asks the public to continue to call the police when suspicious activity occurs in your community," Brown said in a press release. "Notify close neighbors when leaving for extended periods of time. Be great witnesses and write down license plate numbers and physical descriptions of suspicious persons. And most importantly, contact the police as soon as possible when crimes occur."

Brown also advises residents to record information about electronics and other valuables, including writing down serial numbers, to aid in their recovery if they are stolen. Taking photographs of jewelry and other valuables also helps.

People are encouraged to call the police tip line at 650-329-2190 with any information about burglaries in the city.

Related material:

Residential burglaries on the rise

Editorial: Residents are best anti-burglary alarm

-- Don Kazak

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2008 at 9:12 am

Interesting that this crime wave is so serious that they have had to send out a CANS message to residents.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gorebore
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 29, 2008 at 11:20 am

I'm confused - how does this relate to global warming? They can take my HDTV but if the average temperature of the earth rises a degree in 200 years, that is unacceptable. I demand that the city cease uselessly trying to catch these thieves, and instead make certain that all residents have CFL's installed in all light fixtures, and have their thermostat set at 69 degrees. Wait - better make that 68. Tomorrow, be prepared to show your carbon credits! I may have been robbed at home and on the street, but I am carbon neutral, thank goodness. That's why the crime is so high over in East Palo Alto - too much carbon.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Al
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2008 at 2:14 pm

About a year ago or so, there were a string of robberies burglaries and the midtown area. The midtown "poo bahs" all got together and started leaning on city council member judy kleinberg who leaned on the city manager's office who eventually scheduled a press release to talk about the what the city was going to do to stem the tide of these burglaries.

According to police chief lynn johnson, the city had trained all of the people who worked on the streets-presumably the public works people, and the like, to keep their eyes open and report anything to the police department that seemed unusual. The newspapers came--of course--there were a lot of pictures and articles about how responsive the city was to this crime wave, and everything was promptly forgotten.

Shortly after this, police chief lynn johnson announced that the police had captured an Oakland-based gang (three people, if memory serves), which had been responsible for the 70 to 80 burglaries, which had occurred over a 3-4 month period. This group from Oakland had been driving down, and burglarizing one or two houses every couple of days for several months. At that rate, it didn't take long for the almost hundred burglaries to add up.

So--since Palo Alto has drained all of these so-called outdoor street people--how come they aren't reporting the burglaries when they are taking place? Most of these burglaries seem to be happening during the same work hours for the Palo Alto outdoor employees. What gives? What are these "eyes and ears" of the city doing their job?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Watchful Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2008 at 5:09 am

The Police have found that residents have left back doors unlocked, windows open - what do you expect?

Since our jails are now full, even if these guys are caught, they get a slap on the wrist; at most put on probation and let go.

The only defense is lock your house with secure "no bump locks." Watch out for your neighbors house, and have them watch out for yours. And, don't keep anything in the house you'd hate to lose, put it in a safe deposit box.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by when common sense fails blame someone else
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:09 am

> The Police have found that residents have
> doors unlocked, windows open - what do you expect?

Ditto ..


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:53 am

A neighbor at work called and asked me to do a small service at their home. I was a little confused as to how to get in until I went to the door. Not only was the door unlocked, there were windows open, and various items of value not even put out of sight, in plain view from the windows at the front.

I was utterly shocked, but I gather that to some this is commonplace and I shouldn't interfere.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 1, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I would love it if we could continue to live in a community where we could leave our doors unlocked. Unfortunately, those days are gone. If we are careful and watchful over our neighbors' houses and they did the same, we could all be ok. Thieves of this sort aren't very intelligent and if we can get a criminal history on these fools then maybe "three strikes law" will kick in sooner.

What do you think?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2008 at 4:23 am

WThere needs to be recording cameras at all major intersections.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I don't think so !
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Leaving the doors unlocked, windows open - why does anyone want to do that? Folks, we live in a City. These are somethings that just do not go along with the city life in 2008 !

I am not saying that each resident needs to be on the edge about the burglars and be paranoid and install cameras, security alarms - go one step further and employ a 24hr security service person to sit on the driveway.

But use a little more caution - forget the times when you left the doors and windows unlocked; lock the doors behing you when you leave - this discourages thieves from getting into the town.

The petty thieves - once they come to know about an easy target, they are going to strike. As responsible residents, its our duty to not make oursleves an easy target.

Do your bit - report the vehicle's belonging to homeless people around your street, know your neighbors and use common sense. Not all, but hopefully a significant roberry attemps may be avoided.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

What's more, if you have naive neighbors who leave their doors unlocked and windows wide open, making robberies easy...I am guessing your area gets to be known as easy pickings. Let's make sure our city is NOT known for that and be reasonably diligent. I have always locked my home, car doors as a matter of course and haven't been burglarized yet (touch wood).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Watchful Neighbor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Very recently a PA neighbor of mine left her car in the driveway of her house overnight, unlocked, with belongings in it. Guess what the car was ransacked, everything was taken. They even took time to smoke in the car. The owners were lucky the car was not taken too.

The obvious lesson - lock your car if you leave it on your driveway or out on the street.

The above poster is right, we are known by thieves as an easy target for this type of crime.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mary Carlstead
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 2, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Warning!! If you are leaving home for more than a day, DO NOT leave your recycling containers and garbage container out for longer than what would be the 'normal' set out time (the night before) and pick up delivery. That, newspapers in the driveway, and overflowing mailboxes are big red flags which scream - NO ONE HOME.
If there is only one car in your household, and one of you takes the car to do an errand making it appear that no one is home, the other person should lock all the doors --ESPECIALLY SENIORS.

There is so much construction and other home repairs going on that one does not know which trucks are legitimate and which are not. Anyone can paint a truck "Joe Blow Painting".A plasma TV was stolen, and it was not carted away on a bicycle.

Thieve are believed to park a car 'around the corner', commit a theft in another place then casually saunter back to the car. Jewelry, cell phones, and other small items can be hidden under a coat.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jmd
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Our house was locked, but apparently the dead bolt on the back door wasn't strong enough. The burglar kicked it in mid-day on a week day when we were at work. Now we have a security system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jose
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 6, 2008 at 5:46 pm

so we have to lock everything up tight and live in fear just because the hood from Oakland might be driving in that day? I reject this rationale. Its fine to lock your doors, but what's the difference, you can't keep your house shut up like a coffin 24 hours a day. people have windows and screens for a reason.

If these crack addicts have the time to go around trying every house in the neighborhood to figure out which ones have unlocked doors and which don't , why in the hell did it take 100 robberies to apprehend them. You would think the trial and error method you have to believe they tried would have made them very conspicuous. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Neighborhood watch should be doing a better job...or is everyone at work? Maybe thats the problem. With the working world and the economy the way it is, its not like the one-income families of the 50's, 60's and 70's anymore. The working people are both out working while the thieves are out stealing. nice.


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