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Burglary Spike Reported in Palo Alto, California

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August 21, 2013
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Burglary Spike Reported in Palo Alto, California

Affluent suburbs are often hot spots for burglaries, where bad guys target nice neighborhoods and prey on homeowners who may not consider the security of their homes to be at risk. Of course, that is changing now with higher crime rates in all kinds of jurisdictions across the US – and a burglary happening roughly every 14 seconds, according to the FBI. And when residential crime spikes occur in these communities, it tends to makes headlines – for example in Palo Alto, California, a lovely community south of San Francisco, as reported in this article.

Six residential burglaries in six days have prompted Palo Alto police to warn residents to be vigilant and lock their windows and doors. "We have had a spike," said Det. Sgt. Brian Philip of the police property-crimes investigative unit said Monday. The spate of break-ins began July 26, with the latest occurring Aug. 1. The burglaries were in north Palo Alto neighborhoods. The burglars were believed to be on bicycles and scooters, he said.

What the Burglars Stole

Items taken in three burglaries included jewelry (including a wedding ring), MacBooks, an iPhone, an Apple notebook and a revolver, police spokesman Officer Sean Downey said. In two cases the possessions were worth $4,650 and $5,550, he said. The value of items stolen in two others burglaries were not immediately known, and nothing was taken in one incident, according to police logs.

The average home burglary involves the theft of approximately $2,000 in possessions: these incidents show a loss of over twice that amount!

Police Step It Up

Over the past several months, the department has fought a spate of auto burglaries with the help of law enforcement in other cities and the San Mateo and Santa Clara County gang task forces. Several burglary groups working vehicle and residential break-ins have been affiliated with street gangs, Philip said.

Not the First Spike

Police captured many of the criminals responsible for last year's spate of residential burglaries. Twenty-six burglaries occurred in August 2012 alone. They put pressure on convicted burglars who are on probation and parole. But gangs might now have new players, he said. "It may be that they are passing on knowledge to other subjects," Philip said.

How Thieves Gained Entry

In most of the recent incidents, thieves gained entry through open windows and unlocked doors. One thief climbed up and entered through an open second-story window. In the Alester incident, the thief tried one back yard window and then entered through a second one that was unlocked.

I continue to be amazed that so many people leave doors and windows open, although summer is certainly the most likely time for that to happen. We know exactly where burglars are mostly likely to break in. But homeowners are more relaxed in the summer. That’s one reason why burglaries are highest then. Another reason is that people are away more.

One burglary a day is a lot in a city of only 60,000 or so, but not much bigger than some spikes we’ve seen reported in other jurisdictions. Some people blame the economy, while others blame greater use of drugs, and the need to feed drug habits… Whatever the reasons, residential crime is definitely up in plenty of cities, towns, and counties across the US.

Alarm Systems Make a Difference

Law enforcement professionals also regularly remind residents to arm their alarms systems – and lots of police departments suggest getting a system if you haven’t already done so. Research has shown that a home with a monitored alarm system is only one third as likely to be burglarized as the unprotected home next door. And since the latest home security offerings (like FrontPoint) include safer cellular monitoring, advanced interactive features, and even home automation, there is more reason than ever to make the modest investment now.

As always, it makes sense to do everything you can so your home is not a target. You’ll see that FrontPoint’s Top Ten Home Security Tips overlap nicely with the recommendations offered by police across the US – including installing a monitored alarm system. Your peace of mind is worth a lot, and there’s nothing more important than protecting your home and family. And that’s where FrontPoint comes in: the leader in wireless home security, and the #1 ranked home alarm company in the US.  When you are ready for safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat, FrontPoint is your clear choice – just read the reviews, and you’ll see why.

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