Los Altos Hills residents worried about string of home burglaries

Residents in Los Altos Hills held a community safety meeting on Sunday afternoon to talk about the recent rise in home burglaries. Local officials, including the Santa Clara County Sheriff and the Los Altos mayor were there to address their concerns.

"Always turned on the TV very loud, and the lights were on inside and outside the house when we left. None of that mattered," said Carla Dagnone, a Los Altos resident who spoke about her home being burglarized. 

Dozens of people gathered at Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos Hills to talk about how to make their community safer after a string of home burglaries put the neighborhood on edge. 

Carol Daniels described how her home was burglarized with her granddaughter in the house.

"At first, she thought the cat had knocked something over, then she heard men’s voices and saw lights flashing in the hallway. She yelled; they ran," said Carol Daniels, who helped to organize the community safety meeting.  

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office spoke at the meeting, saying they believe South American theft groups and others are responsible for surveiling homes and breaking in.

"This has become a very, very sophisticated organized group of individuals committing these crimes. They definitely know when you’re out of town or when they think you should be out of town," said Santa Clara County Sheriff Bob Jonsen. 

"There’s some good news though. Although it’s just a 3-month snapshot thus far, in Los Altos Hills, our residential burglary numbers are down 43% in 2022 as compared to the same time period last year," said Lt. Brown.

The Sheriff’s Department says it’s using license plate readers, adding more patrols, and using technology to identify suspects. Still, some residents said they felt they had to take matters into their own hands in Los Altos Hills late last year to keep themselves safe.

"These people, strangers in this area, gave me $990, and we signed up with Woodside Patrol. Woodside Patrol patrols our streets full time," said Fiona Sander. 

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve arrested about 12 people over the last five years and have warrants out for five others. 

They also asked residents to use alarm systems, including doors on the 2nd floor, motion lights, and use surveillance cameras in all areas if possible.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally misidentified the city involved.