2019 has so far seen Milpitas experiencing a high number of car burglaries. By this, we don’t mean cars getting stolen. We mean the contents of people’s cars getting stolen…
Since 1/1/19, 145 auto burglaries have been reported to the Milpitas Police Department (88 in January, 57 in February).
“If the current trend continues,” wrote the MPD in a press release, “we are projected to surpass last year’s total.”
Auto burglars are drawn to retail shopping centers. They keep their eyes peeled for bags (from briefcases to suitcases to backpacks) that might hold valuables, namely electronics. They’re often in and out within moments, regularly smashing windows in broad daylight, grabbing the victim’s property, and zipping out of there.
In general, the criminals aren’t local; they’re passing through. As MPD Lieutenant John Torrez explained to The Milpitas Beat, “The vast majority are not going to be from Milpitas. They’re from out of the area.”
Torrez went on to say, “So many shopping centers play host to people traveling through the city or here just temporarily or for work or whatever the case may be…We want to make sure that we reach those people that necessarily aren’t residents of Milpitas, that are traveling through…We’re hoping that message kind of gets across, because it’s a Bay Area-wide problem. So if we can put the message out there and educate people that are just visiting Milpitas, hopefully that’ll help them, but maybe that’ll carry over into some of the other cities that they’re visiting as well and help those cities combat their problem, too.”
In Milpitas, the car burglar element has been drawn to Ulfert’s Center, Milpitas Square, McCarthy Ranch, and the Great Mall.
MPD has personnel in the field, manning vulnerable areas and carrying out operations to make arrests. They’ve also met with private shopping security personnel, as well as relevant property management.
As Torrez made clear, this is not a strictly Milpitas-based phenomenon. Santa Clara and Alameda Counties and the greater region are seeing a general rash of this kind of crime.
Here are the MPD’s tips to avoid becoming a victim of such thefts, while reducing the trend of car robberies overall:
- Do not leave bags in your vehicle that can be seen by looking through your windows.
- Remove ALL valuables from your vehicle, especially laptops, tablets, and phones.
- When items must be left in our vehicle, place them in your trunk BEFORE arriving and parking.
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Report suspicious activity immediately by calling the Milpitas Police Department at 408-586-2400 or calling 911 if a crime is in progress.
Anyone wishing to report more info can call the MPD (408-586-2400) or its anonymous Crime Tip Hotline (408-586-2500), or write in through the Police Department’s website: http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/crimetip