Home Burglaries Increase in Marin County


By James Finn

Marin residents have experienced the effects of a surge of household thefts in recent months. According to news outlets including the Mill Valley Patch and the Marin Independent Journal, intruders have repeatedly broken into homes in Kentfield, Mill Valley, San Rafael and other places in Marin.

Mill Valley Police Lieutenant Jacqueline Graf-Rice said that the recent thefts have been part of a county-wide uptick in household thefts.

“There’s a slight increase we’ve all seen through the county [when it comes to household break-ins],” Graf-Rice said.

The San Jose Mercury News confirmed that crime rates have increased across the Bay Area, stating that “property crime in Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda and San Francisco counties jumped by a combined average of 17.5 percent from 2011 to 2012, totaling 261,207 incidents over the past two years…and it is continuing to surge.”

Graf-Rice believes that the thefts have most likely been committed by previous offenders and that the thieves seem to be searching for small items such as jewelry, cash or other valuables.

“A lot of people are being re-arrested multiple times [in association with these crimes],” Graf-Rice said. “These are people who are looking for easy things to steal and sell…credit cards, maybe some jewelry and cash. They want small things that they can sell easily or use easily.”

Tam students are among those who have felt the impact of this upswing in household theft. Junior Alex Finci, whose house was broken into on December 19, experienced a theft consistent with the typical home burglary described by Graf-Rice.

“[The thieves] came to my house while we were gone and went through all of our bedrooms,” Finci said. “They took jewelry, my Xbox, they took my autographed baseball… [but] we got most of the stuff back, because the police caught these guys at another person’s house.”

Sophomore Andrew Fuchs, whose house was broken into on January 27, said that his house was stripped of larger items, and that smaller pieces, such as jewelry, were left untouched.

“I came home, and my whole room was kind of destroyed,” Fuchs said. “[The thieves] took all of my camera equipment, like $12,000 worth of camera equipment, all of our computers…no jewelry, luckily. They generally messed up our house; the door was unlocked, so they could just walk in. We were just on a dog walk and our alarm wasn’t activated.”

Graf-Rice said that, in large part, the recent burglaries have been the result of homeowners who fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their possessions.

“The main problem is that people aren’t taking care of their property very well,” Graf-Rice said. “We find that [perpetrators] are entering through unlocked doors [and] unlocked windows; it’s [also] pretty common not to set an alarm.”

“Burglaries… are a real violation,” Graf-Rice said. “It’s very frustrating, as it undermines [our] sense of safety to a certain degree.”