San Rafael police told a group of approximately 100 people Wednesday night that the best way they will catch the person or people responsible for a is by phone calls reporting suspicious behavior.
Since August, there have been 20 burglaries in the area with the last incident occurring on Oct. 16. As the police department continues to investigate, homeowners organized a meeting Wednesday night at the Loch Lomond Yacht Club to address their safety concerns.
The suspect or suspects generally gain access through unlocked windows and doors, and search for jewelry or cash. The items are then stashed in a pillowcase stolen from the house. The number of suspects involved in the burglaries is unknown, according to Det. Michael Vergara. Since the houses are left neat and not ransacked, many of the residents are unaware of the burglaries for days.
Once the burglaries began, police stationed unmarked cars and increased random patrols in the neighborhoods. “We’ve been saturating the area with patrols, with our street crimes unit,” Police Chief Diana Bishop said. “I’ve been out there myself.”
The police department is also considering using a license plate reader in the future if their investigation doesn’t yield any solid leads, according Vergara. The reader would scan license plate numbers and run them through a database to see if a car was stolen or if there are any outstanding warrants.
They have not yet resorted to this technology due to the time commitment involved. “It is a very labor-intensive task to enter in hundreds of license plates,” Vergara said after the meeting.
The burglaries are currently the top priority of the police department, according to Bishop. However, new leads will probably come from neighbors being aware of their surroundings and reporting suspicious activity. “It usually is that one call from a neighbor who sees something odd that breaks the case,” she said after the meeting.
Many neighbors worry that the burglars will stop their activity in the area due to the increased police activity, but resume once it quiets down. Police are urging homeowners to protect themselves from being victims of a burglary by making sure their windows and doors are locked and installing alarm systems. A full list of their burglary prevention tips is available on the right.
Sarah Gant has called the police twice for suspicious activity in her neighborhood since the burglaries began. She also cut a piece of wood to serve as a wedge for her sliding glass door, started locking her fence from the inside and has two barking dogs to keep watch.
“I think the police are doing what they can do,” she said. “But those are the things that make me feel safe.”
See what else is happening in San Rafael:
- Small Rock That Hit Novato House is Confirmed Chunk of Meteor
- Meteor the Size of a Car Lands in the Bay Area
- Local Suspects Among Boy Scout Leaders Accused of Sexual Abuse
- Where Are You Watching Game 1 of the 2012 World Series?
- Now Hiring: BioMarin is Looking for Employees