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Bay Area police offer tips to prevent home burglaries

June 21, 2013 5:37:04 PM PDT
It's a crime that seems to be on the rise -- dozens of Bay Area homeowners have been victimized in door-knock burglaries. And now, as the summer vacation season heats up, police are giving tips on how to protect your home.

Police say they know exactly who they're looking for in a series of burglaries on the Peninsula. They're looking for a man named Melvin Bellard, believed to be responsible for a rash of home burglaries in San Mateo, Burlingame, and Hillsborough. They say the MO is always the same.

Surveillance video shows a woman with an infant knocking on the door. When no one answers, her accomplices enter the backyard and begin trying to pry open the sliding glass door.

"The suspects are what we call opportunists, so we always want to limit the opportunities that these suspects have to break into the residences," San Mateo police Sgt. Al Baccei said.

Because of the rash of home burglaries, it's even more important to safeguard your house when you go on vacation.

Some tips include:

- Turn the ringer on your phone down low or off so people outside the house can't hear your phone go unanswered.

- Put your lights, radio, or television on timers so they go on and off periodically during the evening.

- Make sure you have good locks on your windows, and good locks on your door.

- Hide your garbage cans. If yours are empty and your neighbor's garbage cans are full, burglars will know you no one's been in your house.

- Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to park their car in your driveway every once in a while so it looks like somebody's been home.

And Sgt. Baccei has one more important thing you should do, even if you don't go on vacation.

"Photos should be taken of all your valuables, jewelry, and such, so that it'll help law enforcement later on identify the property," he said.

And of course, tell your neighbors you're going on vacation, keep your lawns maintained, and please don't put your key under the doormat.


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