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Police Alert: Rash of Burglaries, Community Meeting Called

El Cerrito police have scheduled a community meeting at the Arlington Clubhouse for next Wednesday in the wake of several recent burglaries in the past week, particularly in the northern hill section of El Cerrito.

In the wake of at least six home burglaries Monday and three last Thursday, El Cerrito police have scheduled a public meeting for next Wednesday night at the Arlington Clubhouse.

Police also urge residents to report any suspicious activity, including strangers knocking on doors, to the police department at 510-237-3233. Crimes in progress should be reported at 911.

The burglaries occurred primarily in the north hills section of the city during the daytime when residents were not at home, said El Cerrito police Detective Corporal Gilbert Tang. Some involved forced entry, while others occurred at homes where windows or doors had been left unlocked.

No suspects have been identified. Police believe two groups may be involved, one using forced entry and the other taking advantage of unsecured homes, Tang said.

Tang said the Monday burglaries occurred on the following blocks:

  • 2300 block of Edith Street
  • 2500 block of Nason Avenue
  • 5600 block of Poinsett Avenue
  • 8600 block of Arbor Drive
  • 1600 block of Roger Court
  • 1200 block of Arlington Boulevard

Tang said the three burglaries on Thursday, Sept. 29, occurred at these locations:

  • 6500 block of Barrett Avenue
  • 7500 block of Curry Avenue
  • 700 block of Gelston Place

Asked if police have any leads about who's committing the crimes, Tang said a witness near the Edith Street burglary Monday reported seeing three black male juveniles, about age 16-17, running down the street with some property.

Several residents have contacted Patch in alarm about the crime spree.

"I'm really upset by the burglaries," said one, who lost jewelry in one of the Thursday crimes. "Our house was not trashed, but the bedroom was turned upside down as they looked for jewelry."

The community meeting called by police is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Arlington Clubhouse in Arlington Park, 1120 Arlington Boulevard, Tang said.

Advice on Prevention

Denise Sangster, a resident of the neighborhood who helped spread notice of the burglaries through her Arlington Neighbors email list, urged residents to take precautions. Among the recommendations from police she has listed in Arlington Neighbors are:

  • Your Safety is Paramount:  Be aware of you surroundings at all times!
  • Cell Phones:  Please add the El Cerrito Dispatch number in your cell phone (510-412-8595) for EMERGENCIES only.  (Remember, if you dial 9-1-1 from your cell phone, it will probably be answered by the California Highway Patrol and then need to be transferred to ECPD).  For after hours, non-emergency El Cerrito Police matters, please dial: 510-233-1214.
  • Burglars:  El Cerrito Police believe burglars are checking homes in El Cerrito to determine if there is someone home/away by knocking on doors.  If there is no answer, burglars appear to be looking for a back door or windows to enter that can be broken or are open to gain entry into the home.
  • Do Not Open Your Front Door!:  If there is a person at your front door that you don't know, please call the police and they can check it out.  If someone arrives from a utility or other company (i.e. PG&E, Comcast, etc.) that wants to enter your home AND you are not expecting them, please call the police immediately.

"REMEMBER," one of the recent emails said, "please use a house/security alarm at all time, lock the gate or secure access to your backyard, and be aware of strangers in your neighborhood!  And, please let your neighbors know of any problems." (Those who'd like to subscribe to Arlington Neighbors can send an email to arlingtonneighbors@gmail.com.)

"I think we have to do our part as residents," Sangster told Patch. 

Text of police statement

Here is the full text of a statement issued by El Cerrito police today, Thursday:

El Cerrito, CA: Over the past few weeks several residential burglaries have occurred in El Cerrito.  Many of the crimes were similar, with the burglars entering the homes during the daylight hours.  Most of the burglaries have occurred in the residential hill area of the City.  Only a few witnesses have provided information about possible suspects, describing groups of two or three young African American males with slim build. During one of the incidents the suspects were seen loading property into a green or blue station wagon.

The El Cerrito Police Department is encouraging anyone with any information regarding these cases to come forward and provide whatever information they may have regarding any crimes or suspects they may have observed.  Information regarding the location and dates of the crimes may be obtained by checking the CrimeReports.com website.  

To help prevent the burglary of your home, install an audible burglar alarm, activate it when you are away and never leave any doors or windows unsecured, even when you are home. To help prevent burglaries in your neighborhood, become acquainted with your neighbors and their vehicles. Contact the El Cerrito Police Department immediately (510-237-3233) to report any people or vehicles that are unfamiliar or out of place, or any other suspicious activities. 

If anyone knocks at your door or rings your bell, they may be trying to ascertain if anyone is home before attempting to burglarize your home. If you are home, do not open the door to a stranger.  Announce your presence through your locked door, and call PD immediately to report the incident. When you speak with the Police Dispatcher, be prepared to provide any description you may have of the suspect(s), any vehicles, and what direction they were headed as they left.

The El Cerrito Police Department will be holding a neighborhood meeting at 1120 Arlington Blvd. on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 @6:30-7:30PM. Officers will be providing citizens an update on the recent crime trends and safety tips. Please contact Det. Brosas at (510) 215-4422 with any questions.

Correction: This article earlier gave the incorrect date for the three burglaries last Thursday. It was Sept. 29. The article has been corrected.

PB&J October 06, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Thanks for the info and update Charles.
Claudio Rohrsetzer October 08, 2011 at 03:01 PM
We had a string of burglaries on our block a couple of years ago (Junction ave/Key blvd). Since then, we decided to install an alarm in our house and combined with the increased police patrol in the area things got much better. Our many thanks to the El Cerrito Police Dpto.
Judy October 08, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Keep your family and your home protected - install deadbolts, keep vigilant, and keep alarm activated. Try FREEALARM.org for free home security systems.
pete October 12, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Free Alarm does not really offer free systems because you must sign up for monitoring which is more expensive by 20.00 per month than 911 alarm.
gregormendel July 03, 2012 at 12:28 AM
I disagree with Judy because you end up paying 20 per month for 7 years, and ultimately end up paying 1680.00 by the end of those 7 years - To me it's a better investment to just do it yourself by installing better locks and some simple alarms. If you do a quick search you find that theres quite a bit of simple tricks you can do to ramp up your security without purchasing a system (like these: http://www.homesecuritysystems.net/category/do-it-yourself/ )

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