‘Unprecedented’ Number of Residential Burglaries Occurring in Affluent Palos Verdes Estates: Police

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Residential burglaries are on the rise in affluent, coastal Palos Verdes Estates, and just before Christmas police were warning residents to report suspicious activity.

The crime trend was reported by the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department on Wednesday, when police said the increasing number of burglaries was also being seen through the South Bay area.

Eleven residential burglaries and one attempted burglary were included in the week’s crime report, police said in an advisory to residents.

Since November, there have been at least 35 residential break-ins, according to Detective Chuck Reed. The city of less than 14,000 residents normally sees 35 to 45 burglaries in total each year.

“This is unprecedented in our community and needs all of our attention,” the advisory read.

Most burglars are entering through the rear yard with a “rear window smashed followed by a ransack,” police said. In most cases, cash, jewelry and safes have been stolen, Reed said.

Investigators believe the string of burglaries are related, the detective said.

One resident, Michelle Fullerton, said her home was targeted twice over the summer, both times about 2 p.m. on a Sunday while neighbors were home. Her alarm system scared the would-be thieves off, she said.

"People tried to use a crowbar right on the front door and window," Fullerton said.

Police were working in uniform and plainclothes to suppress the crime surge.

Local residents were encourages to watch video of a crowded Dec. 12 crime prevention meeting held by the police chief at City Hall.

At the meeting, Chief Jeff Kepley said GPS trackers were being placed in bait packages and items at homes where residents were going out of town.

"We hope that their home isn't broken into while they're on vacation, but if it is, and the bad guy takes the bait, the GPS wakes up, transmits a signal and directs our officers right to him or her," Kepley told residents.

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