The disturbing spike in residential burglaries that began early this year has ebbed dramatically, police said.
During the month of April, only seven residential break-ins were reporting by residents, down from 31 in March, 22 in February and 21 January. Police credit the drop to increased crime prevention efforts by residents and “proactive, targeted enforcement efforts by police,” according to a statement released Thursday by Palo Alto Police.
The overall burglary numbers for 2012 still remain high compared to the first quarter of 2011, however. There have been 81 total residential burglaries reported so far this year, compared to 43 in the first four months of 2011 and 34 in 2010, police said.
“While the April numbers are certainly encouraging, we don’t want you to let your guard down,” said Lieutenant Zach Perron. “Burglaries, after all, are cyclical, and they are crimes of opportunity. We continue to ask that you report suspicious behavior immediately to 9-1-1, and we continue to encourage you to always secure your property whenever you’re not home. If we keep working together like we’ve been doing these past six weeks, we’re hopeful the burglars will get the message that Palo Alto homes are not easy pickings.”
During this quarter, police arrested 18 people with suspected ties to burglaries, including possession of stolen property, prowling, or possession of burglary tools. That is up from two arrests during the same time period in 2011, and five in 2010.
Following the spike in burglaries, Palo Alto Police decided to double down their burglary prevention efforts, shifting patrol officers into neighborhoods and dedicating two day shift officers to work with detectives on burglary suppression.
The department also launched a “Lock it or Lose it!” campaign on March 19, aimed to focus the public’s attention on how best to deter burglaries by recognizing suspicious behavior and report it to police.
Police continue to encourage residents to keep their homes locked up when they are gone, including side gates and windows.