News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Residential Burglaries Plummet During April
Contact : Agent Marianna Villaescusa, Police Department    650-329-2413
May 3, 2012 at 6:10 p.m.

Palo Alto, CA --
Residential burglaries in Palo Alto plummeted during the month of April, in no small part thanks to a combination of increased crime prevention efforts by residents and proactive, targeted enforcement efforts by police.

During April, residents reported only seven residential burglaries to the Palo Alto Police Department.  This number is down substantially from the first three months of 2012 (January had 21, February had 22, and March had 31).  Overall numbers for 2012 remain high, however, with 81 total residential burglaries reported during the first four months of 2012 (as compared to 34 in 2010, and 43 in 2011).

Also, during the first four months of 2012, officers and detectives have arrested a remarkable 18 people for residential burglary or related offenses (such as possession of stolen property, prowling, or possession of burglary tools).  During the same time period, that number was five in 2010, and two in 2011.

The Palo Alto Police Department has made burglary prevention and burglar apprehension its top priorities.  In addition to patrol officers focusing their time in the neighborhoods when not otherwise assigned to calls for service, two day shift officers have been reassigned to work with burglary detectives and have been dedicated specifically to burglary suppression.  Other resources, including plainclothes personnel, have also been reassigned to burglary suppression in the neighborhoods as staffing permits.  All of these efforts are still continuing into May, in order to ensure that the Palo Alto Police Department is doing everything possible to stop residential burglaries.

The Palo Alto Police Department's "Lock It or Lose It!" public education campaign, which first debuted on March 19, has been focusing the public’s attention on how best to prevent burglaries, how to recognize suspicious behavior, and how best to report that suspicious behavior to police.  Police have encouraged residents to keep the doors and windows to their homes locked whenever they are out, and to lock side yard gates to prevent burglars from easily gaining entry to rear yards, where they are free to break into a home unnoticed by passersby.

Officers have briefed several groups whose employees spend a substantial amount of time in our neighborhoods on how to recognize and report suspicious behavior.  These groups have included the United States Postal Service, staff from various departments within the City of Palo Alto (including Fire, Utilities, Public Works, and Parks), staff from large private delivery companies, and personnel from GreenWaste of Palo Alto.  Police have reached out to the community via social media to expand the reach of the campaign’s message, and have created an easy-to-remember URL for crime prevention tips on our website (  Police are also distributing a “Lock It or Lose It!” flyer in all May utility bills.

“While the April numbers are certainly encouraging, we don’t want you to let your guard down,” said Lieutenant Zach Perron.  “Burglaries, after all, are cyclical, and they are crimes of opportunity.  We continue to ask that you report suspicious behavior immediately to 9-1-1, and we continue to encourage you to always secure your property whenever you’re not home.  If we keep working together like we’ve been doing these past six weeks, we’re hopeful the burglars will get the message that Palo Alto homes are not easy pickings.”

Anyone having information about any residential burglary can contact our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

The Palo Alto Police Department is now using social media as another way to connect with our community.  We’re on Twitter (@PaloAltoPolice), Facebook (, Nixle (, and rBlock (  Follow us today to get news releases, crime prevention tips, human interest stories, and more.