January 26, 2015: Neighborhood Car Burglaries

The Coalition participates in a monthly meeting with two other umbrella groups and the San Rafael City Manager. At the next meeting on January 28, this topic is on the agenda and will be discussed with Diane Bishop, Chief of Police. After that meeting we will have a report on this website (see S.R. Monthly Meetings link) on the content of that meeting. The Coalition Board will then discuss what, if any, action it should take on this matter.

Given the noticeable uptick in reporting of car burglaries and break-ins via NextDoor, the Coalition asked Captain McElderry of the San Rafael Police Department to comment on whether there has, in fact, been an increase in these incidents. Below is what he reported to us:

Captain McElderry’s Comments

Since October 22, 2014, the area of East San Rafael from Dominican to Biscayne Drive (Beat 4) has had 19 auto burglaries reported. Here is a breakdown by month:

  • October 22-31: 1 reported
  • November: 5 reported in a 6 day period (these occurred mainly around the Thanksgiving Holiday)
  • December: 10 reported
  • January: 2 reported on Jan 10th

All but 3 of these were citizen/web reports. So, there is definitely has been an increase in reporting.  Not sure what to credit other than citizens were urged to report them so the PD knew they occurred. Last year there were only 4 auto burglaries reported between October 22, 2013 and January 20, 2014.  I would say that resident reporting is way up!  Although I cannot say that increased reporting is completely the cause for the increase in the number of auto burglaries.  The city and the entire county for that matter is experiencing an increase in auto burglaries.

We do not track an officer’s self-initiation of random patrol of a neighborhood unless it is a “beat project” or a request for frequent patrols because of some chronic problem being reported in a specific area at a specific time.  So, if an officer decides to patrol out Pt. San Pedro on his or her own, this would not be tracked unless they had a reason to stop someone or some other incident happened.  Stating that we “only” come out Pt. San Pedro when someone reports something is not true. Unfortunately, if we are not seen, the perception by some is that we were never there.

Auto burglaries generally occur because something was left visible in a vehicle.  Auto burglaries occur very fast.  We definitely rely on the public’s help to watch their neighborhoods and call us when someone or something is seen that is suspicious.  What we hear too often is that somebody saw something suspicious and didn’t call us because they didn’t want to bother us.  We encourage people to report suspicious vehicles and people.