Three South Bay cities report an alarming surge in auto burglaries

Officials in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale are reporting an increase in auto burglaries.

At the mid point of this year, each city is either near or has already exceeded the total number of break-ins for all of last year.

Mountain View, which had 304 auto burglaries at this time last year, is already up to 581 right now.

They're on pace to exceed the total of 621 they had in 2018.

And in Palo Alto, the 492 they've had so far actually exceeds the total of 485 they had for all of last year.

And in Sunnyvale, it's the same story.

They've already had 597 at the midpoint of this year, more than the 595 they had in all of 2018.

Captain Jim Choi with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety says, "for the size of Sunnyvale, our numbers are fairly low, but we did see a dramatic increase in auto burglaries."

And so these departments have been joining forces.

Janine De La Vega with Palo Alto police says, "We do partner with surrounding agencies because a lot of times we think hey we may have the same suspects."

And thanks to these partnerships, authorities do think they're making some headway.

Mountain View announced the arrest of three men this week.

Katie Nelson with Mountain View police says, "these people were prolific auto burglars. They had victimized people in several cities in south county."

Another multi agency sting just resulted in three more arrests.

According to Sunnyvale Capt. Choi, "last night through the investigation abilities of our detectives, another crew was taken out in Fremont."

In addition to the stings, the departments have increased patrols in hot spots like the downtown areas.

They've also stepped up their awareness campaigns.

Mountain View has one called Park Smart.

They say the message is simple, just don't leave any belongings in your car.

Nelson says, "making sure that we share this message over and over has been helpful."

Another issue has been getting that message to visitors from out of town.

So the departments have been asking local businesses to post warning signs as well.