Two Bay Area police departments are warning people that their homes could be targeted by South American gangs, who are burglarizing neighborhoods across California.
Hillsborough Police said Friday that residential burglaries have increased threefold since November, compared to 2021 statistics. Officials said the town has had more than 20 break-ins in the past three months and only 30 all of last year.
A Hillsborough police captain told NBC Bay Area that sophisticated South American gangs are specifically targeting wealthier neighborhoods and usually case the homes before they break-in.
Police want people to make sure they lock their doors and keep alarms and other security systems like cameras working properly. They said the thieves are mostly after firearms, jewelry, designer clothes and handbags or anything else they can fence for big bucks on the black market.
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“Well, there’s more things to focus on in Hillsborough. The homes are multi, multimillion dollar homes,” said Burlingame resident Stan Miller.
Hillsborough police said the gang of thieves are likely the same one that’s been targeting vacant homes in Atherton.
Atherton police issued a warning about the South American crime group a couple of weeks ago.
Officials are asking homeowners to be on the lookout for vehicles with two or more men driving slowly through neighborhoods, casing homes and report them to police.
Hillsborough police said homeowners can have their addresses added to a residential watch list when they plan on being away for more than a couple of days. Hillsborough officers then make extra patrol in those neighborhoods.