Police, residents band together to–they hope–put a stop to wave of Saranap area burglaries

Over the past month, dozens of homes have been broken into in and around the Saranap area. Burglars struck five houses on one street that has just a dozen houses. This is according to Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk.
One positive result, he says, is that neighbors have estaliblished a Google groups email distribution system to alert one another to other crimes, and “to see if they could establish patterns and identify suspects to police.”
This collaborative effort may be helping police.

Falk passed along some notes on the crime wave from Lafayette Police Chief Mike Hubbard. He details some of the recent cases, as well as the collaborative efforts among area police departments, including his department and Walnut Creek and Orinda police departments to catch those who are responsible. According to Hubbard, the police are seeing some positive results:

On Tuesday of this week we suffered six residential burglaries. Six in one day! To put this in perspective, we usually have about eight to 10 per month. These burglaries occurred on the east side of the city and appear to have been committed by the same people that have been burglarizing homes in unincorporated Lafayette and Walnut Creek. To tackle the problem on Wednesday, with the help of Walnut Creek PD and Orinda PD, we flooded the area with a team of about ten cars. The result was dismal: we actually had another burglary and didn’t catch anyone.

Wednesday afternoon, however, there was an interrupted burglary in the northern Lafayette, and Walnut Creek PD detectives intercepted the bad guys with their ill-gotten gains still in their vehicle. Along with items that had just been stolen from a home, there were many other items of jewelry in the bad guys’ vehicle.

Because we weren’t sure if these were the same guys, and because we were still determined to stop these burglaries, we put the same team into the field again yesterday. But: still another burglary! This time, however, we got a description of the van and when our crime scene technician just happened to see a vehicle matching the description on the way back from the victim’s house, she radioed the license plate to Detective Hernandez, who traced it to a home in Pittsburg. Upon arriving at that location this afternoon, Hernandez found loads of apparently stolen goods and was able to apprehend a suspect.

With these two arrests, have we solved the crime problem in Lafayette? No. As long as there are bad guys, Lafayette – with its affluence and easy access – will be a target. But with good police work and great neighborhood coordination and activism, we can minimize the problem.

Back to the neighborhood Google e-mail distribution.  Falk shared some samples of the kinds of e-mail that neighbors have been sharing with one another and that are likely to help make the neighborhood safe:

I noticed a man driving an old blue Chevy Van with tinted windows circling and acting “suspicious” in the neighborhood just a few moments ago (breaking every so often, almost pulling off to the side and then not). I took down the lic plate and called the Sheriff’s department – they are sending someone out as I type this now.  –Danielle

The Sheriff’s Dept. is doing an undercover sweep of the area today (Wed.). I saw a suspicious silver Ford Sedan with darkened windows drive through the neighborhood today. I followed it and called it in. As I was calling it in, the Sheriff appeared right after the car. I talked to the Sheriff and he said there are going to be a lot of cars like this going through the neighborhood today. He’s just cruising the neighborhood on the look out. This time the car is looking out for us!  –Michelle

I justsaw him too. I also saw a man on a bicycle by Juanita and Kinney just stopped and on a cell phone – very suspicious. The Sheriff drove by and stopped to check him out. –Deb


9 thoughts on “Police, residents band together to–they hope–put a stop to wave of Saranap area burglaries

  1. These low-life scum, it will only escalate and someone will get hurt.
    I would have a gun and if they break into my place it will be their last.


  2. As a fellow Saranap resident- where can we find more information on these burgleries and how can we get on the google lists you mentioned?


  3. I agree with Anon 8:52: I'd love to know how these burglars got in. Could help us all, no matter where we live.


  4. Since you're already on the web, why not do a Google search on “How to stop burglars” like I just did. There's lots of good information there.


  5. What a shock, from Pittsburgh. Glad to see the PDs working together and aggressively getting out in the neighborhoods. The fact that these guys are going back again and again to the same area is disturbing though.


  6. My husband spoke with a Lafayette police officer who said the burglars are kicking in front doors (YIKES) and breaking into backyard glass sliding doors. Get a big, noisy dog.


  7. I appreciate this article. I live in Livorna Estates between Livorna and Rudgear in Walnut Creek. Over the last year, we have had a few burglaries and a whole LOT of 'smash-&-grab's from vehicles. Almost all of the nefarious activity has been from outsiders. I feel that the easy access from Highway 680 from Livorna is a good get-a-way location. We did have one instance recently of a burlary by smashing through the back glass slider of a locked home. Also, there was one incident that could indirectly be related to landscape contractors in the area.
    Just last week, we had a white pick up truck parked across the street on our exceedingly steep court. When we showed interest, he moved on to Rudgear Park. We notified WCPD.


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