A recent string of home burglaries – 10 of them in April – has local law enforcement concerned, according to Los Altos Police Capt. Andy Galea.
The burglaries – many of which occurred in south Los Altos – have prompted police to ask residents to report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. Police are actively investigating several cases, Galea noted, while also increasing patrols and using predictive policing tactics.
“We do see some clear patterns,” he said. “This is primarily in the southern part of Los Altos, right off the Foothill Expressway corridor. From what we can tell, they’re primarily happening during the daytime.”
Galea added that the recent spree includes what he called two “particularly troubling” cases of suspects burglarizing homes while the residents were inside.
In both cases, suspects stole garage door openers from unlocked cars parked in front of the homes and used the devices to gain access. In the first incident, Galea said, residents were asleep in their North Avalon Drive home when a burglar entered in the early-morning hours and stole several items from the kitchen. The latter burglary, last week on Merritt Road, involved a suspect ransacking the home in the early evening while the residents were milling about at the opposite side of the property.
“I know that everyone typically keeps (garage door openers) in the car’s visor or somewhere else close by, but people should be locking their (car) doors – even if they’re parked in the driveway,” Galea said.
To spread awareness among residents, Los Altos Police last week distributed a crime-prevention update to Neighborhood Watch block captains, asking them to report any out-of-the-ordinary activity. In most cases, Galea said, suspects will first knock on the front door to see if anyone is home. If no one answers, the burglars typically enter the property through a side gate or side yard, looking for unlocked doors or windows. Forced entry, Galea said, is usually the last option.
“Burglars in general are going to take the path of least resistance,” he said.
Residents can help prevent being victimized by taking time to ensure that all windows and doors are locked before leaving their homes, according to Galea. Activating home alarms – even when running a short errand – can ward off a potential burglary, he added. Because residents generally know their neighborhoods best, any suspicious activity should be reported to police without delay – even if it proves to be harmless.
Anyone with information on the recent burglaries is encouraged to call Los Altos Police at 947-2770.