Dear Atherton Resident:
On Saturday, September 19, 2020, at approximately 9PM, a residential burglary occurred at a residence located on the 100 block of Atherton Avenue (near Elena Avenue). In brief, the resident’s dog alerted to the second story master bathroom. The resident followed the dog to the bathroom and discovered the bathroom window had been broken out. The resident then locked the bedroom door and immediately called the Atherton Police, who arrived in approximately two minutes.
Burglary of an occupied residence is extremely concerning and alarming. The purpose of this Burglary Prevention letter is to provide you, our resident partners, with information to assist in helping you reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a burglary. There are steps you can take to help make your residence a harder target for burglars. The tips we provide here are part of a concept called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTED is part of the National Crime Prevention Council’s tools to create and support a climate of safety in a community. The website is available at the following link: https://www.ncpc.org/resources/home-neighborhood-safety/crime-prevention-through-environmental-design-training-program/.
If you have never stepped back and looked at your residence from the perspective of a would-be criminal, you should take a moment and do so. Burglars look for vulnerabilities and opportunities. They look for an easy target, so making their job more difficult, or more risky, reduces the appeal to most criminals. Burglars will most often try for unlocked windows and doors as a means of entry. If you have windows and doors that create a challenge to burglars, they may move on to something easier. Burglars also want to remain unseen if possible. Lighting, landscaping, natural access control, and other concepts, are forms of Environmental Design that can make your home a harder target and one that will assist crime prevention and deterrence. We have police staff trained in CPTED and we will come to your residence for a CPTED review. To arrange a visit, call our Dispatch Center at 650-688-6500, to set up an appointment.
Burglars want to remain unseen. Proper and sufficient lighting around the perimeter of your home serves as a deterrent. Ensure that lighting is working properly. Use energy efficient bulbs when possible. You can install motion activated lights. Lights should be installed high enough to prevent someone from having access to the fixture itself. Lights can be set on timers both outside and inside the residence to give the appearance that someone is home. Landscaping should not assist with allowing someone opportunities to hide near your home or provide a barrier for detection. Trim trees and shrubs back to improve natural surveillance.
Doors and Windows
Doors and windows should be solid core wood or steel construction. There are some other types of doors, such as fiberglass, that offer some of the same qualities. Hollow-core doors should not be placed on the exterior of a house. Locks should include deadbolts with at least a 1” throw bolt. The strike plate should attach through the jamb and into the wall studs with 3 ½” screws. Glass in the main door or a side panel should be of sufficient quality to prevent easy entry by just breaking the glass and reaching in to turn the lock.
When installed and activated, a residential security alarm can be a great deterrent. There are silent as well as audible alarm options. An alarm can scare an intruder away when they fear the likelihood of apprehension is greater because an alarm has been activated. When considering an alarm, carefully consider the costs of an alarm and compare it to your needs. Find a reputable alarm company to help you evaluate your needs. Strongly consider having your alarm system monitored directly by our Dispatch Center. This reduces the alarm notification time to the Dispatch Center and allows for the fastest police response possible.
Make sure your numerical address is clearly visible and illuminated on the front (and sometimes in the back) of your residence. Work together with your neighbors and report things that are suspicious. If something looks out of place, call the police. Maintain a written record of your valuables with serial numbers documented. Keep certain valuables in a safe inside your home and keep weapons locked up and away from children.
In order for these burglary prevention suggestions to be effective tools, you have to try them! So please, remember to lock your doors and windows, and take the time to make sure that your security lighting and burglar alarms are working. Implementing these suggestions will increase your chances of preventing a burglary, and decrease the likelihood of you becoming a victim.
We hope that together, we can enhance the quality of life in Atherton and make our great community as safe and secure as possible.
Steven D. McCulley
Chief of Police