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Los Altos Hills burglaries spike in 2013

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office spent considerable time chasing burglars in 2013 as the rate of home break-ins in Los Altos Hills unexpectedly rose.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to 40 incidents over the past 12 months. During the previous eight years, the officers reported an average of 22 burglaries annually.

“In the larger perspective of state and national averages, it’s actually quite low,” said Sheriff’s Office Capt. Kenneth Binder. “However, we feel that 40 burglaries a year is still too high for LAH.”

Although the victims of home crimes may never sleep soundly after their homes have been burglarized, the Sheriff’s Office identified and arrested 45 percent of the perpetrators. Binder noted that many other municipalities report solving only approximately 10 percent of cases.

The recent arrest of Nicole Sosa of San Jose, who allegedly broke into 11 Los Altos Hills residences by climbing through open windows, was a major coup for the Sheriff’s Office. Officers also apprehended two juveniles from Santa Rosa and Windsor as they attempted to vault a fence to escape the scene of a June burglary.

A number of cases remain unsolved, but surveillance video, like the footage provided by a Berry Hill Lane homeowner in December, allows the law enforcement team to identify criminals retroactively. Two of the three suspects in the video were identified, and other cases remain under investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office relies on the eyes and ears of residents in its crime-fighting efforts.

“Anywhere there are people, anywhere there are homes, there is going to be crime,” Binder said. “But we want to help people reduce the odds, and that’s what we’re doing.”

To keep residents apprised of crime prevention strategies, the Sheriff’s Office engages neighborhood watch groups and hosts an annual crime prevention forum, usually scheduled at town hall in April.

Binder encourages residents to continue reporting suspicious activity in Los Altos Hills to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office at (408) 299-2311.

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