String of Home Burglaries Puts Santa Cruz Mountains Residents on Alert

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    On Tuesday, more than 200 people gathered at a safety meeting with the Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Departments. George Kiriyama reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013)

    Jeff Kernan and his wife Kathy have spent the better part of the last 30 years living in the quiet Santa Cruz mountains. Just two weeks ago, their home was broken into. They're not alone. In the last 30 days, eight other homes have been burglarized. That quiet, sleep feeling has been shattered.

    "When you're violated like that, you feel vulnerable," Jeff Kernan said. "And when you get burglarized, then you start looking into it and you realize there's really a crime spree going on at this point."

    That's why more than 200 people showed up at a safety meeting with the Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Departments Tuesday night in Redwood Estates. They learned the seclusion of the mountains is not immune to crime.

    "The number of people who showed up tonight speaks for itself and I think the whole community in this particular crime spree has been awakened to what's going on," Kernan said.

    The deputies urged the neighbors to communicate more. A definite challenge because their homes are spread out throughout the Santa Cruz mountains.

    "Education is the key," said Santa Clara County Sgt. Marc Layman. "And if we can tell them what to look for, how better to protect themselves. It makes it a less chance of them being a victim in the future."
    John and Susan Davis walked out of the safety meeting saying they will do their part.

    "It's going to take an effort by the neighborhood to keep an eye out and help the police track these people down," John Davis said.

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