Residents of San Jose’s Willow Glen community are warning one another to be on guard, since staffing prevents San Jose police from responding to most burglary calls.
Neighbors tell NBC Bay Area they feel they have to fight the crime themselves.
There were almost 3,500 burglaries in San Jose in 2008. So far this year there have been 3,800.
Because of staffing problems, San Jose officers only respond to verified home alarms, and only if there is imminent danger or if the crime is in progress.
“I have an alarm system, and I said, ‘What’s the purpose?’ We pay money for this and they're not coming out to protect us,” Willow Glen resident Janice Balsitreri said.
Neighbors in Willow Glen say they have to look out for one another and alert each other to slow down or stop the burglars.
Police suggest residents make sure their homes appear inhabited at all times. A good way to do this is with exterior lighting, police say. Police also recommend putting lights on a timer to create the appearance that someone is home.
There are only two San Jose police detectives investigating burglaries, but they're focused on cases where there has been an arrest: They don’t have time to go out and investigate new cases.