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Police Chief Offers Advice On Burglary Prevention

Update: Moraga Chief Robert Priebe asks for prompt reports of suspicious activity; Lamorinda chiefs have compared notes on recent burglaries.

Update: 7:45 a.m. Thursday, comments from Lafayette police chief.

The three police chiefs of Lamorinda have been comparing notes on the recent spate of burglaries.

Burglary was a main topic Wednesday morning at a monthly meeting of the chiefs of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda police departments, along with managers from the Moraga-Orinda Fire District and St. Mary's College Public Safety, said Moraga Police Chief Robert Priebe.

The chiefs believe there is more than one group of burglars targeting Lamorinda, said Priebe.

Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen said Lafayette has been relatively quiet. "We have only had three so far this month and we arrested one suspect from one of those cases," Christensen wrote in an email.

Priebe advised residents to "call when you see something suspicious, without delay. That is still happening; people calling us after they hear something has happened rather than when they saw something they thought was suspicious."

Other advice:

  • lock all doors, windows and vehicles.
  • use alarm systems if available;
  • don't leave anything of value visible.
  • look out for your neighbors.

Orinda had the most visible burglary attempt recently, captured on home security video.

A couple of would-be burglaries were mentioned in the latest Moraga police blotter.

Here are some other recent Moraga PD reports:

At 4:43 p.m. Feb. 5, a resident reported a suspicious white van on the 1600 block of Camino Pablo. At 10:55 a.m. Feb. 6, a resident reported a dirty white van with two men in it, driving slowly in the area of Moraga Valley Lane. In both cases, officers did not locate the suspicious vehicle.

Feb. 6
At 4:27 p.m., a resident complained about "a suspicious group of Hispanic and white male adults with clipboards and papers congregating around an unknown colored 'beat up' vehicle" on Woodford Drive. When officers arrived, the group was gone.

Feb. 8
At 5:49 p.m., a male approximately 30 years old looked through a window and knocked on a door on Lucia Lane, the residents reported. Officers searched the area without finding the man.

Douglas Smith February 15, 2013 at 05:09 PM
@Chris Sorry if you're misreading me again. I said nothing about high cap magazines or gun types. I'm talking about much stricter controls on who can own weapons and under what circumstances. I cited 2 examples of new laws that could be passed that have nothing to do with past laws, therefore your logical fallacy is still misdirecting the discussion (laws didn't work in the past, so laws won't work in the future). There are other laws that could be passed under the commerce clause restricting the movement of guns. You also appeal to empirical evidence for my argument which is hard, since the laws haven't been passed yet. But we can look at other countries, such as Switzerland, that have high gun ownership of certain guns, but low gun crime, probably attributable to strict laws rather than the fantasy of "home defense". My initial response was prompted by the Informed Citizen implying that armed residents would somehow make us more safe, when the opposite is true. More likely, for every 1 incident of Rambo taking out a crook, a lot of dumb homeowners and an awful lot of innocent kids would be injured or killed. Within the constitution, we need stricter controls over the proliferation, and start implementing structures that can reclaim the guns already out there. As for the alcohol red herring, ok, change it to voting, or speech (fire in a crowded movie theater), assembly, whatever you like. We're allowed to pass laws to regulate dangerous behavior.
Dive Turn Work February 15, 2013 at 05:11 PM
The soccer mommies be totes important and need to get their hurr did. You can't expect them to walk fast in their Christian Louboutin stilettos or handbags. What if they tripped or dropped that purse? They should totes be allowed to speed. If they run over some child in the road that snot-nose brat probably deserved it anyway.
Bailey Lee February 15, 2013 at 05:24 PM
@Douglas: "But we can look at other countries, such as Switzerland, that have high gun ownership of certain guns, but low gun crime, probably attributable to strict laws rather than the fantasy of "home defense" Please specify what these "strict laws" are. To my understanding, gun ownership in Switzerland is related to their absence of a standing army and reliance on the general public as a militia. "Enlisted" men and women are issue AUTOMATIC ASSAULT RIFLES. Yet their incidence of criminal gun violence is barely existent. Why? Certainly not bec their weapons are "good" while American weapons are "evil." Could it be that their population has a higher moral content than America's? http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2911777/posts
Chris Nicholson February 15, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Look at UK and D.C. violence, murder and gun crime before and after their near total bans on handguns. Hint: it didn't help. Male urban youths seem to keep killing each other with whatever tools are available (legal or not)--- with no discernible correlation to legal possession of guns (gun homicide might go down, but overall homicide does not). It seems to me to be delusional to say you want to save lives and yet NOT focus attention almost exclusively on suicide prevention and gang / young loser violence. Let's keep guns away from felons and the mentally ill, but the rest (bans, gov't gun shops, red tape) seem pretty pointless.
Douglas Smith February 15, 2013 at 06:01 PM
@Chris We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We violently agree that we need to do more to address the mentally ill and inner city youth. However, that doesn't preclude us from trying to reduce the proliferation of guns at large, that lead to youth suicides, youth death and accidents, and weekend Rambos, such as the ones present on this thread, from endangering the lives of my children with their obsession with the 2nd amendment and guns. BTW, the murder rate being the same in the UK guns or not is an obvious correlation/causation misread of the study. The ban on handguns in the UK didn't lead to the murder rate staying the same. In fact, you could argue that if they didn't have the ban on handguns, the rate would be HIGHER, as many studies have shown.
Clintonista80 February 15, 2013 at 06:15 PM
@ Drive Turn Work "The soccer mommies be totes important and need to get their hurr did" ???? Speak English.
Chris Nicholson February 15, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Douglas: Agree that correlation/causation is hard without an identical "control country." But, ironically, the strongest rebuttals to the "gun laws didn't lower crime" argument are grounded in the concept that HUMAN / cultural / economic factors DOMINATE crime rates....NOT guns. Ironic. Finally, in the U.S., many of the studies reviewed by the CDC looked at states where laws were imposed then reversed, so the ceteris paribus assumption is at least a bit safer (base case/change/reversion). Nonetheless, they found no statistically significant benefit (or harm) from any set of gun laws examined. It would be refreshing if politicians and policy makers acknowledged the scientific data that is available (including what we DON'T know) instead of using scare tactics and hyperbole.
Douglas Smith February 15, 2013 at 07:08 PM
@Chris Ye olde guns don't people, people kill people argument. People with guns kill people, moreso and at a higher mortality rate than any other device. I can't agree with the argument that studies of past behavior are inconclusive, so do nothing, which seems to be your line of reasoning. This can also be applied to global warming, etc. I think I have a solution to our disagreement though: Just classify the "home defense fantasy" nuts and constitutionally religious folk as mentally ill ; ^ ) Nice to have a real debate on the issue though with facts. Cheers.
Dive Turn Work February 15, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I totes did. By the way, how tall is your high horse exactly? But, it's kewl. I'm used to folks like yourself. You know - "One of those officious, noisy little (people) who are always ready to give you unasked information."
Chris Nicholson February 15, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Douglas: I will leave global warming for another day/thread, but you must agree that those seeking to limit/infringe constitutional rights should carry the burden of proof and that (despite some remaining questions about level of scrutiny) "prior efforts were inconclusive" CANNOT carry the day for identical or closely related new laws/bans. I can't prove a negative, so I can't prove that no possible law will reduce gun violence. But I can say with confidence that mere reliance on claims of prior success with similar/identical laws will not pass muster with any FAIR/OBJECTIVE weigher of fact. I personally cannot imagine any realistic law aimed at reducing general ownership of all guns making any difference. We need to focus on the root causes, which are well known. That solutions are hard here (issues of crime / race /culture / poverty / mental illness) is no excuse for hiding the ball from (and offering appealing red herrings to) the naive public. Finally, I believe in the "Heller" meaning of the 2nd amendment and I own guns for self defense. While self diagnoses here are inherently unreliable, I do not think I am mentally ill. ;-)
susan v February 15, 2013 at 08:43 PM
why is that there is seldom a police report for Orinda in the newspapers or on Patch? I find it odd that Orinda is such a crime free city...Not! It seems to me that the police department owes the citizens this service....
Clintonista80 February 15, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Gibberish!
Chris Nicholson February 15, 2013 at 10:11 PM
@Susan: my understanding is that Orinda, in contrast to Lafayette an Moraga, do not prepare a reporter-friendly digest of their call logs, which is why we don't see them here. @Fritz: I think the people "casing the joint" often approach several potential targets before they choose a home to break into (presumably aborting if they hear a dog, someone home or see an NRA sticker). Agree that once perps are inside, they will be gone before cops arrive, but if cops get call as soon as suspicious people show up in neighborhood, cops have chance of scaring them away (admittedly without arrest, but better than nothing).
susan v February 15, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Isn't it better to be informed than to listen to all the rumors that circulate? There was an incident on Berkeley Ave a couple of weeks ago, and no mention has been made of it that i'm aware of. I'm not sure that we'd have known about the incident on Orchard unless the homeowner had submitted the article. Come on Orinda!
Informed Citizen February 16, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Undoubtedly there are a few well-reasoned points above, but mostly miss the thrust of my original comment. Pardon the typo, Mr. Doug Smith (baton vs. batten), but perfect spelling is really a distraction from my point: The sudden community/County/State-wide uptick in crime is a direct result of our Governor's progressive prison "realignment" program commencing in 2011. Again, it is resulting in release of thousands of criminal inmates from our state prison facilities to our financially beleaguered counties (58). (Contra Costa in particular is a financial train wreck playing out in slow motion disintegration.) County Sheriffs are responding by releasing "the best of the worst", i.e. serious criminals, back into our streets and communities -- and at a time when the odds of finding jobs is at a multi-decade low. (CA U-6 remains near 20% statewide, and much higher among the sorts of socio-economic groups being OR'd into our communities) This is the case, whether or not I'm a perfect speller or even a competent writer. Moreover, the main point on gun ownership and its effect on public safety is not that it necessarily thwarts specific crimes in our relatively low-crime Lamorinda community. It is simple and inescapable truth that while I might chose not to own a gun in my home, the uncertainty of whether I maintain a gun therein is itself a strong deterrent to all home burglary and invasion. If we are disarmed, the bad guys will be the first to move in with impunity.
Dive Turn Work February 16, 2013 at 07:38 AM
Clintonista80: Suh-nap. Werk. You totes cute.
TMoraga February 16, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Sadly the day has come where home video security systems are probably one of the best ways to keep an eye on your home when your not there. And a good tool for helping the police ID and track down criminals. I have been doing research on camera systems given having both cars keyed in our driveway was the last straw in a string of escalating vandalism on our street.
TMoraga February 16, 2013 at 07:56 AM
The cheapest and most flexible option is a software called Blue Iris sold on Amazon for about $47 - which then has a wide range of IP camera types that you can purchase and add to your property as you fine tune your security system. This software is run on a standard home PC. You do not need massive amounts of storage for video given these systems only record video for a few seconds before a motion is detected and for an amount of time after all set by you. If you are worried about the criminals taking your computer and your video evidence this software also allows you to post video files to remote file storage. You can also set it up to email you or text you when something triggers your system. Really fantastic tech at a low cost.
TMoraga February 16, 2013 at 08:05 PM
The entire community is responsible for its security. The police dept is simply the tool used to act upon a reported crime, crime in progress or to investigate a reported suspicious activity/person etc. You want the home breakins stopped get people to open their eyes and pay attention to whats going on around them. Then let the police know when something is amss.
Napoleon Solo February 17, 2013 at 02:32 AM
I think the mix of retail stores in Rheem Center is not helping the crime problem. We have several low end retailers now like Home Goods, TJMAX, and Dollar Tree. Seems like a bail bond place and pay day loan shop would fit in nicely there. I have seen people in front of stores here who clearly have nothing to do with Moraga. I think those stores may be serving as a magnet for some commute in criminals. Recall that CVS manager who had a box cutter thrown at him by some loser from Pleasant Hill who had commuted in to shoplift here? Without those stores, the loser probably would not have been there.
TMoraga February 17, 2013 at 04:39 AM
The stores are not to blame for lousy behavior. It is not easy to find Moraga criminals go where they think they can do their thing and not get caught.
Dive Turn Work February 17, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Are you suggesting that private citizens should have to vet or obtain authorization from the city to hire the housekeeper of their choice?
susan v February 17, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I certainly hope that the police chiefs see and RESPOND to these numerous comments! I wonder what the chances are...
Dive Turn Work February 17, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I vet the people who work for me but I'm not discussing it with any government officials. Talk about a police state. Dumbest idea I've read in quite some time.
Dive Turn Work February 17, 2013 at 04:06 PM
I blame BART. We should close the Lafayette & Orinda stations.
Chris F. February 17, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I started a community page on Nextdoor dot com and now all my neighbors and I can share information and if there is a crime someone may have seen it or may have video of the car, Start a community page and from this link and you will get a $50 starbucks card once nine of your invited neighbors sign onto your neighborhood page. Very much worth it! nextdoor.com/starbucks/?r=0gyd19
Nicholas February 17, 2013 at 05:31 PM
We've been reading News24/680. They've been out ahead of the rest and give meaningful data and occasional advice on dealing with crimes in the area. Saved a bike that way!
Chris Nicholson February 17, 2013 at 08:58 PM
I don't think closing BART stations will do the trick. We should consider closing the Caldecott tunnel, or at least make all bores flow West in the morning and East at night.
Dive Turn Work February 17, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Requiring folks to report who works for them in a domestic capacity won't do anything & remains the dumbest idea I've heard in some time & that's something when you live in CA.
Dive Turn Work February 17, 2013 at 09:57 PM
I say do both.

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