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New season, new crime: Police offer prevention tips

In addition to sunny skies, the season’s warming weather has a habit of enticing some arguably careless habits from those enjoying it. Local law enforcement agencies – including the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the Mountain View Police Department – published a series of tips last week to remind residents how to safeguard themselves against criminals who might seek to exploit their mistakes.

• Always keep home doors and windows closed and locked when away or asleep. Likewise, ensure vehicle windows and doors are secured and never leave valuables behind – even for a short time or while vehicles are parked at home.

“Unfortunately, in this day and age, you have to lock up your things no matter what,” said Katie Nelson, Mountain View Police spokeswoman. “You never know.”

• Keep garage doors closed and stow lawn and gardening equipment inside or within a locked storage shed, the agencies advised.

• Notify trusted neighbors of vacation plans so they know to watch for suspicious activity and to clear telltale signs of prolonged absence like mail accumulating or garbage cans left at the curb.

• Beware of home improvement scams and “contractors” who spontaneously appear with offers to tackle projects. Perpetrators of these cons are infamous for accepting payment without completing the work, as several Los Altos residents who live near downtown learned late last month after shady dealings with a purported driveway pavement business.

Report emergencies to 911. Nonemergencies should be directed to the appropriate law enforcement agency: call 947-2770 for the Los Altos Police Department, 903-6344 for the Mountain View Police Department and (408) 299-2311 for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

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