Millbrae Police Bureau: Community Meeting to Address Neighborhood Burglaries
Be vigilant, look out for your neighbors, and call 9-1-1. That was the major takeaway from last Thursday’s Burglary Response Community Meeting hosted by the Millbrae Police Bureau and San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
During the meeting, more than 120 residents heard from the Sheriff’s Office on efforts to investigating and apprehend criminals, reduce the number of property crimes in the City of Millbrae, and tactics residents can take to help prevent future burglaries.
“I could have more deputies on the streets. It will help but it won’t solve the problem,” said Millbrae Police Chief Roger Copeland. “In the past month, we have put additional reserve deputies and volunteers on the streets. What we really need is your help. If you see something suspicious, call 9-1-1, and we will respond.”
Deputy Dan Young, community policing deputy for the San Mateo Sheriff’s Office, spoke to residents about building good relationships with their neighbors and keeping an eye on surrounding homes.
“Get to know your neighbors. They will look out for you, and you should do the same for them,” said Deputy Young. “You know your neighborhood. You know who doesn’t belong there. We need you to quickly and accurately report crimes. You can directly impact how fast we respond to burglaries and apprehend suspected criminals.”
Before breaking into a home or car, burglars will typically look around a property, look over fences and in windows, and check to see if someone is home by knocking on the door. If no one is home, they may burglarize it.
“Many times, I will hear a neighbor say they saw something but didn’t call 9-1-1 because they weren’t sure,” said Deputy Young. “If something doesn’t feel right or if you see someone suspicious, call 9-1-1. We will respond and sort it out, but don’t hesitate to call.”
Before calling 9-1-1, neighbors should try to get as many defining details about the suspicious person as possible without putting themselves in harm’s way. Race, gender, height, weight, and clothing are all important, and can help responding officers quickly identify suspects. If they have a car, get the make, model and license plate number.
Sgt. Mark Myers, Crime Suppression Unit Supervisor for the Sheriff's Office, suggests taking pictures of your property, or marking high-value items with identifying numbers. Often, law enforcement officers will find suspected perpetrators with a bag full of jewelry or valuables in their car, but officers can’t do anything because they don’t have proof of who the items belong to.
“If you put an identifying number on your property, I will see those numbers, run a stolen property search, then give you a call to verify that it’s yours,“ said Sgt. Myers. “When I get your verification, and prove that the property is not theirs, I will make an arrest.”
While Millbrae is still one of the safest places to live in the Bay Area, the increase in property crimes is due to out-of-city residents, primarily from Oakland and East Palo Alto, who drive-in, burglarize a home, then quickly flee the area according to crime analysis conducted by the San Mateo Sheriff’s Office.
“Burglars are not targeting any one race. Nor are burglaries perpetrated by any one ethic group,” said Detective Joe Cang. “The common thread is that most of our suspects are not from Millbrae, and they are very organized. They check out neighborhoods and homes before they hit them.”
Millbrae Police Chief Copeland concluded the meeting by saying, “We will continue to address this issue and keep this discussion going. If residents have ideas on areas we can target, or possible solutions, we want to hear them. In addition to working with the City’s leaders, we are working with our state and federal partners to get more resources. This isn’t going to be a quick fix, but it will get better.”