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Police update reveals recent drop in home burglaries

An update on police activities last week included a sliver of good news for Los Altos homeowners – burglaries are down in the early part of the city’s current fiscal year.

Police Chief Tuck Younis reported to the Los Altos City Council that 14 burglaries occurred in the city during the first quarter of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, 18 less than the previous year during the same time period. He added that the second quarter of this year is tracking “about the same” as 2012-2013.

Still, Younis told the Town Crier that he’s taking a cautious approach to the news. Overall, he noted, crime increased nearly 13 percent in the city in 2012. In the county, 2012 crime bumped up 18 percent.

“Right now it’s probably too early to call this a downward trend, but it is encouraging,” he said.

According to Younis, the 2012-2013 fiscal year saw 118 burglaries in the city, 73 more than the previous year – a bump he called “a very significant increase for us.”

On a calendar-year basis, the city showed a spike of 37 burglary incidents in 2012. Younis, however, noted that the lopsided numbers were partly attributable to a 13-year low in burglary crimes reported in 2011.

Younis’ revelation was part of a larger update to the city council about the state of police affairs in the city.

He highlighted the department’s overhauled and user-friendly website – which occurred as part of the city’s overall website redesign earlier this year and increased social media efforts to better engage residents.

“It’s just another opportunity to get feedback from the community and engage in dialogue,” he said, adding that residents can also receive neighborhood crime news via mobile apps like crimereports.com.

Younis pointed out that residents could now file online traffic and code enforcement complaints through the redesigned site.

“We feel that our best asset in our crime-fighting efforts is our community,” Younis told the council. “An engaged community, a community that knows what’s going on in their neighborhoods, is best for us.”

Finally, Younis added that a new tri-city computer-aided dispatch and records management system, which includes the cities of Mountain View and Palo Alto, is slated to roll out in February. The department’s dispatchers are scheduled to begin training on the shared system this week.

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