East Bay

Frustrated With Uptick in Car Burglaries, Walnut Creek Residents Install Surveillance Cameras to Protect Neighborhoods

Frustrated with a rash of car burglaries, residents of an East Bay community are taking matters into their own hands.

People in Walnut Creek plan to band together and install surveillance cameras in their neighborhoods in the hopes of nabbing thieves who steal items from cars and even vehicles themselves.

According to police, Contra Costa County has experienced a marked uptick in auto burglaries. In Walnut Creek alone, they’ve spiked 19 percent since last year.

Michelle Wilbur told NBC Bay Area that Jan. 6 started out as a normal day for her husband, Tim. That is, until he walked out of their house’s front door and onto the porch, carrying a lunchbox and coffee cup, only to notice his truck was missing.

A neighbor’s surveillance camera may have caught what they think is someone dropping off the thief, Wilbur said, adding that the family immediately bought their own such camera from Amazon.

Soon, the entire neighborhood around Ponderosa Lane and other parts of Walnut Creek may be armed with the security devices.

That would be "nice," Wilbur said, "because you can see someone coming in and coming out."

Karly Wienker of Walnut Creek agreed.

"We all chipped in to put up neighborhood watch signs and we formed our own groups," she said. "This neighborhood usually isn't one for crime."

According to Lt. Lanny Edwards with the Walnut Creek Police Department, surveillance cameras are "very important" and have helped police solve cases and capture burglars.

"It’s definitely the trend of the future," he said.

Authorities caution, though, that cameras be installed on private property – including fences – because if placed on city property, they could spark liability issues.

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