Palo Alto sees spike in car burglaries


Car break-ins have become a huge problem in Palo Alto. Thieves broke into cars along California Avenue during the month of September and they are after anything you leave behind.

"Month to date we've had approximately 70 auto burglaries. It's the most we've had in one month since about 2008," said Palo Alto Detective Sgt. Brian Philip.

Sixteen of those happened in just one night at the Oak Creek Apartments on Sand Hill Road.

"The cost of living in these apartments is actually pretty steep so people who live here must be pretty wealthy and you can see the cars are all pretty nice so it makes sense that people would maybe target this area as a place to steal things," said resident Jackie Low.

The break-ins are happening all over the city during all hours of the day. There have been nine cases at the parking garage on Bryant Street on three separate occasions. Palo Alto resident Greg Tarr parks on the street for that very reason.

"There's a lot of break-ins over the last few years. Whether it's down on High Street or whether it's here, nobody wants to pay the deductible on their car insurance," said Tarr.

Police believe there may be several crews coming into Palo Alto to break into cars and rentals are very attractive to thieves.

That's something Tarr suspected. He told us, "They know it's a very transient community here with visitors from Europe and Asia and folks would not be aware of certain crimes, so they'll leave their laptop bags and luggage in the car."

And thieves have learned to spot a rental because some are marked with barcodes.

"The problem with auto burglaries and that's why they're hard to solve is that it's a very quick crime. Sometimes they're crimes of opportunity. They're in, they're out and they're gone," said Philip.

If you can't lock your belongings in your home or hotel before going out, police say the best advice is to just take them with you.

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