South Lake Tahoe Police Department saw an increase in home burglaries this weekend compared to the last few weeks, according to police logs.
Lt. Brian Williams said four or less burglary calls usually come in per week, but 18 burglaries occurred Sept. 13 to Oct. 6 and half of them occurred from Oct. 3-6.
“There has been enough of an uptick to get our notice,” Williams said. “It’s very early on, if this is a series or a rash. But there’s enough … (it is) a possibility, and that information is being distributed to our patrol officers.”
Sometimes spikes in burglaries happen over weekends, Williams said, but officers have responded to multiple calls in one shift, which can indicate a group working in tandem.
The burglaries, Williams said, have been scattered around the city, but there have been specific individuals who may have been in the area at the times of the burglaries who could be linked to the recent incidents.
“We have some investigative leads because there’s been some in El Dorado County, also, that involve some individuals we are interested in investigating,” he said.
Williams said the SLTPD has no property investigative detectives, so patrol officers try to work with the county and other agencies to gather information.
“They may or may not be related, but there is a possibility that they are related, even though they are scattered around different neighborhoods,” he said.
Police officer Travis Cabral said he responded to three burglaries this weekend.
“All of them that we have had except for one have been forced entry,” Cabral said. “What’s been happening is it seems to be door kick-ins or people leave their windows open. They get in usually during the day when (residents) leave, and they’re taking laptops, jewelry and coins.”
Williams said it’s a “misconception” that burglaries happen at night. Statistically, he said, they happen during the day when people are at work or elsewhere.
According to the SLTPD press log, 15 of the 18 burglaries that have occurred since Sept. 13 were reported between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Typically, Williams said, items stolen are things that can be taken out of a home and carried away easily, items that can be sold quickly for cash, such as the items Cabral reported missing recently.
He also said it isn’t just the shoulder season — after summer and before ski season — when these break-ins increase in South Lake Tahoe.
“There’s a lot of discovery of these in the summertime when people come up to visit their vacation home because they haven’t been there year-round,” he said, adding burglary is a constant crime that doesn’t have a “season.”
Subtle hints that can entice burglars to a home can be trash left out in the street or bins that have been knocked over, mail left in front of a box or piles of newspapers on the stairs — anything that gives an indication the resident has not been home.
There can be some preventative measures people can take other than buying better locks or alarm systems, Williams said. It could be as much as getting a housedog to deter burglars.
“It can be a Shih Tzu (small dog), just as long as it makes noise,” Williams said.
“What’s been happening is it seems to be door kick-ins or people leave their windows open. They get in usually during the day when (residents) leave, and they’re taking laptops, jewelry and coins.”
— Travis Cabral
South Lake Tahoe Police Department