News Flash

Police Department

Posted on: June 3, 2021

Recent Burglaries and Prevention TIps

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During the past two months, we have experienced and investigated an uptick in burglaries.  In the majority of these burglaries, the thieves are targeting outbuildings and garages.  Their main focus is stealing bicycles and other valuable items.   Unfortunately, in almost all of these incidents, the garage doors and outbuilding doors were left open or unlocked.   Our investigations have revealed that these recent burglaries are not related to our past string of burglaries involving organized gang members from southern California.

The purpose of this Burglary Prevention News Flash is to provide our resident partners with information to assist them in helping reduce their likelihood of becoming a victim of a burglary. There are steps you can take at home to make your residence a harder target for burglars.  We also want to introduce you to a version of a concept called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED),  https://www.ncpc.org/resources/home-neighborhood-safety/crime-prevention-through-environmental-design-training-program/). 

If you have never stepped back and looked at your residence from the perspective of a would-be criminal, you should take a moment and do so.  Where do you think your vulnerabilities are? But do not stop there.  Think beyond that.  A burglary is often a crime of opportunity.  The offenders generally look for an easy target, so making their job more difficult, or more risky, reduces the appeal to most criminals.  Burglars will most often try for unlocked windows and doors as a means of entry.  If you have windows and doors that create a challenge to criminals, they may move on to something easier.  Burglars also want to remain unseen if possible.  Proper lighting, landscaping, natural access control, and other concepts, are forms of Environmental Design that can make your home an easy target, or a harder target, and will assist crime prevention and deterrence.  We have police staff trained in CPTED and will come to your residence for a CPTED review.  Just call 650-688-6500 or email Jennifer Frew at jfrew@ci.atherton.ca.us to set up an appointment.

Again, burglars want to remain unseen.  Proper and sufficient lighting around the perimeter of your home will serve as a deterrent.  Ensure lighting is working properly, and use energy efficient bulbs when possible.  You can install motion activated lights or ask your utility company to install a light on a utility pole for a small monthly fee if you have one near your home.  Lights should be installed high enough to prevent someone from having access to the fixtures.  Lights can be set on timers both outside and inside the residence to give the appearance that someone is home.  

A residential security alarm can be a great deterrent.  Some are silent and some are audible.  An alarm can scare an intruder away when they fear the likelihood of apprehension is greater because an alarm has been activated.  Carefully consider the costs of an alarm and compare it to your needs. What are you trying to protect and what risks do you have?  Find a reputable alarm company to help you evaluate your needs.   Strongly consider having your alarm system monitored directly by our Dispatch Center at no cost to you.  This reduces the notification time of an alarm activation to the Dispatch Center and allows for the fastest police response possible.

None of the ideas we have discussed will help you unless they are used properly.  If you fail to lock you doors and windows, and fail to turn on security lights and alarm, they will not help you much. Make sure your numerical address is clearly visible and illuminated on the front, and sometimes in the back, of your residence.  Work with your neighbors and get to know them so that together, you can help each other out by looking for things that are suspicious.  If something looks out of place, call the police.  Have a written record of your valuables with serial numbers documented.  Keep certain valuables in a safe inside your home, and keep weapons locked up and away from children. 

The Atherton Department of Police’s crime prevention efforts are meant to strengthen the partnership between our residents, and the community that we serve.  With summer fast approaching, summer vacation plans leave homes vacant and vulnerable.  We hope that together, we can help prevent burglaries, to enhance the quality of life in Atherton and make our great community as safe and secure as possible.

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