News

Atherton sees spike in burglaries

Almost a dozen crimes were reported since April, with majority targeting unlocked garages, sheds

Atherton Police said there were 10 burglaries reported to them between April 19 and present.

Atherton police are reporting an uptick in burglaries in town, with 10 taking place over the last two months, totaling a little over $12,000 in stolen goods, said Police Chief Steve McCulley.

In the majority of these burglaries, the thieves are targeting outbuildings and garages to steal bicycles and other valuable items, according to a Thursday, June 3, news bulletin issued by Atherton Police. In almost all of these incidents, garage or shed doors were left open or unlocked.

91 Ashfield Road where the new police headquarters are being built. Police issued a bulletin on June 3 advising of a recent spike in burglaries in town this spring. Embarcadero Media file photo.

"Our investigations have revealed that these recent burglaries are not related to our past string of burglaries involving organized gang members from southern California," the post states. This is referring to a 2018-19 burglary spree in which millions of dollars of goods were stolen in 20 residential burglaries over a four-month period between November 2018 and February 2019.

The last reported burglary in town was Thursday morning on Tuscaloosa Avenue, with tools being taken from a car, according to the town's crime blotter. A residential burglary happened sometime earlier in the week on Cebalo Lane. There were also residential burglaries reported on Faxon Road and Tuscaloosa Avenue on May 26 and 30. Another happened on Selby Lane between May 11 and 12.

There are steps you can take at home to make your residence a harder target for burglars. Call 650-688-6500 or email Jennifer Frew at [email protected] to set up an appointment to review these steps for your home.

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Atherton sees spike in burglaries

Almost a dozen crimes were reported since April, with majority targeting unlocked garages, sheds

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 7, 2021, 11:22 am

Atherton police are reporting an uptick in burglaries in town, with 10 taking place over the last two months, totaling a little over $12,000 in stolen goods, said Police Chief Steve McCulley.

In the majority of these burglaries, the thieves are targeting outbuildings and garages to steal bicycles and other valuable items, according to a Thursday, June 3, news bulletin issued by Atherton Police. In almost all of these incidents, garage or shed doors were left open or unlocked.

"Our investigations have revealed that these recent burglaries are not related to our past string of burglaries involving organized gang members from southern California," the post states. This is referring to a 2018-19 burglary spree in which millions of dollars of goods were stolen in 20 residential burglaries over a four-month period between November 2018 and February 2019.

The last reported burglary in town was Thursday morning on Tuscaloosa Avenue, with tools being taken from a car, according to the town's crime blotter. A residential burglary happened sometime earlier in the week on Cebalo Lane. There were also residential burglaries reported on Faxon Road and Tuscaloosa Avenue on May 26 and 30. Another happened on Selby Lane between May 11 and 12.

There are steps you can take at home to make your residence a harder target for burglars. Call 650-688-6500 or email Jennifer Frew at [email protected] to set up an appointment to review these steps for your home.

Angela Swartz

Comments

ReginaR
Registered user
Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 7, 2021 at 12:27 pm
ReginaR, Atherton: West Atherton
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Yet again, another bonus prize for all of the construction activities going on in the town. Everyday, literally thousands of outsiders are invited into our town to satisfy the wants and needs of those who tear up our streets, ruin our air quality, and clog the roads for students biking or the elderly walking, and who create constant “white noise” for all of the distance learners who have no choice. I have tried to speak with leaders about staggering these projects, some of which are the size of a city block, and not “stacking” them one on top of another, and it falls on deaf ears. We reward our city manager with bonuses for encouraging even more construction. Unvetted contractors and workers, scoping out what they can come back and steal at night. This wasn’t a problem 20 years ago.


Atherton Resident
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Jun 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm
Atherton Resident, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm

ReginaR- How was your house built, was it constructed noise free for your neighbors? Do you think noise only happened in 2020-2021? People are trying to build their dream home why are you so against that? Yes, it is inconvenient but the results are a more energy efficient, eco friendly homes. It's not like this is going to be repeated on the same property in the next 5 years. How do you think Atherton was built, a building angel quietly dropped a home on a lot overnight and poof West Atherton magically appeared? Not sure why you attack the town manager but promoting an idea to delay construction over longer periods of time is not in a neighborhood's best interest. Maybe assessing a fine for projects not finished on time is reasonable but staggering builds is not the answer. Build the house, get it finished on time and that is the solution. The other choice is to locate to a town that has a no growth policy.


Thoughtful
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Jun 7, 2021 at 8:55 pm
Thoughtful, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2021 at 8:55 pm

Construction has always been going on in Atherton. That's nothing new.

We've got the most expensive police force on a per capita basis in the entire state, and crime keeps going up. Something is not balancing with that equation. We spend most of the town budget on police. It's a serious situation when those expenditures are not producing results.

Either the city manager and police chief are to blame for not managing the police resources correctly, or the city council is to blame for not figuring out that the historical police model is no longer working for Atherton.

I've advised that outsourcing to the sheriff plus using just a portion of the funds saved to do rigorous private patrol would provide much better safety for Atherton residents and reduce crime.


Enough
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2021 at 9:19 am
Enough, Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 9:19 am

Part of the problem might be the police department's priorities. I was just driving down Middlefield and there were two Atherton police cars and one Atherton police motorcycle with their lights on, on the side of the road. All three officers were out talking to an elderly man who was sitting next to a tree. Could have been a homeless person hard to tell but does it really take three officers and three vehicles to deal with that situation? Maybe their time would be better spent patrolling and looking for the people breaking into the houses.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 9, 2021 at 11:49 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 11:49 am

Atherton is blessed with a superb Police Chief and many excellent officers but unfortunately the department's small size means that is simply cannot be cost effective. For example, Atherton's superb four full time dispatchers could easily and well serve a community ten times as large.

The solution is to contract, as do Woodside and Portola Valley, with the Sheriff. Such contracting allows different levels of service (Woodside "buys" more daily coverage than does Portola Valley).

For half the current cost Atherton could get even more coverage than it presently receives. And that coverage could be varied as needed. And the town would have NO future pension liabilities.

Having the Town's name on the side of the police cars is VERY expensive.


Really !
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2021 at 12:24 pm
Really !, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 12:24 pm

I am NOT a fan of contracting APD work to anyone.
I AM a fan and proponent of APD shifting their priorities to curbing crime AND timely notification of "important" crimes to our residents...something they are NOT doing effectively.

We are getting notified of burglaries, grand theft, etc. via the Daily Post and not via timely notification by APD alert "system" a term I use loosely.
AND CitizenRIMS isn't worth the bits and bytes it takes up in storage.

Help us out APD. We know you are capable, smart, hard workers. Just show that through reduced crime.


Thoughtful
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Jun 9, 2021 at 12:50 pm
Thoughtful, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 12:50 pm

@Realy, I think Peter Carpenter is correct. It's not a matter of APD not having the right priorities or not working hard. We simply don't have the manpower to do the patrols that would reduce crime.

Peter outlined the reason for this. Because the town is so small, we bear the full brunt of the overhead of any police department, but can't spread that out over a large population. The number of actual officers available for patrol therefore suffers.

Over the years, as public safety compensation and benefits have increased dramatically, this problem has become more acute.

It is worth some actual consideration over whether this is a problem APD is capable of solving due to its size and ability to be funded.


Really !
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2021 at 1:43 pm
Really !, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 1:43 pm

So, Thoughtful, you believe the issue is not enough manpower.
Perhaps.
"We've got the most expensive police force on a per capita basis in the entire state, and crime keeps going up."

For a town that offers / provides FREE alarm monitoring to its residents and the APD STILL can't reduce burglaries, break ins, and certain thefts, something is broken with their service model.

Aren't the ALPRS installations working ? May help catch the crooks AFTER the crime has occurred.

I don't believe more / expensive officers is the answer.

I do believe prevention works better and that means increased monitoring, notification (bolo alerts), and of course, more patrols.

Life in Atherton is expensive. We have to get used to paying for safety.


Thoughtful
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Jun 9, 2021 at 2:11 pm
Thoughtful, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 2:11 pm

@Really, alarm monitoring is no longer free. APD decided to charge a yearly fee, backed by the town council.

"Life in Atherton is expensive. We have to get used to paying for safety."

Pay for private patrol. Outsource the police to the sheriff. If private patrol sees something, they call the sheriff. We can have many more private patrol people than APD officers. No pensions, diamond health care, or high salaries.


Really !
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 9, 2021 at 4:29 pm
Really !, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 4:29 pm

Seriously..."APD decided to charge a yearly fee,"
It's a one time setup fee of $100. Annual fee $50.
Pretty darn close to free.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 9, 2021 at 6:42 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2021 at 6:42 pm

Really!

APD is and always has been an enormous waste of money. The job they currently do could be done for half the cost by contracting with SMCSD. Of course, Atherton residents wouldn't be able to skate on traffic citations and DUI's like they can now. Pretty hefty price tag for that perk I'd say.

You could double the number of officers on patrol for less than what you are currently paying. And, as thoughtful mentioned, you could contract private patrol for significantly less money to provide even more coverage for the town.

And, of course, in the case of burglaries, residents have to actually USE their alarm systems. If they don't (they don't) the first APD knows of the burglary is when the resident that didn't use their alarm system calls and tells them. You all live behind walls. It is virtually impossible for an officer driving by to see a burglary in progress, hence the need for alarm systems to be used. No BOLO needed, just common sense use of a tool you all already have.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 8:45 am
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 8:45 am

When the Fire District figured out that individual department dispatch units were not cost effective it organized its 6 south county fire agency neighbors into a JPA with one dispatch unit. That was so successful that now ALL fire agencies in San Mateo County have ONE dispatcher center. This a win-win with better service and much lower per capita costs.

Perhaps Atherton might take its first step in reducing its cost of police service by partnering with the City of Menlo Park. Given the Town's and City's proximity and geographical configurations this would give better coverage at probably 2/3 the current cost.


Really !
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2021 at 11:18 am
Really !, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 11:18 am

Menlo Voter...
[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

"The job they currently do could be done for half the cost by contracting with SMCSD."
Show us the detailed analysis...


Atherton Resident
Registered user
Atherton: other
on Jun 10, 2021 at 12:27 pm
Atherton Resident, Atherton: other
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 12:27 pm

The county will not have the same concern as APD does for it's residents. The further government employees get from the citizens the less they care. I am not a fan of pouring more money into APD but the county sheriff's office will consider Atherton as incremental area to cover. They will not care like , nor have the time to care, for our area. I agree with Peter having Atherton on side of a police car is expensive but having a county solution is not acceptable. Having the ability to actual arrest people breaking the law and putting them in jail is the solution. The current catch and release program is ridiculous. Brazen burglaries recently at Louis Vuitton and Macy's, at Stanford Shopping Center, indicates criminals no longer fear any sort of consequences for breaking the law. Keeping the police local is better than county.


Really !
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2021 at 12:36 pm
Really !, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Menlo Voter
Are you an Atherton resident ?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 1:19 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 1:19 pm

"but the county sheriff's office will consider Atherton as incremental area to cover. They will not care like , nor have the time to care, for our area."

Talk to residents of Woodside and Portola Valley. They love the service that THEY ordered from the Sheriff's menu. They get whatever level of service that they are willing to pay for. Woodside gets the same or higher level of service, with the same officers there every day, as does Atherton and at 60% of the cost PLUS no future pension liability.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2021 at 1:56 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 1:56 pm

Really:

no I'm not an Atherton resident. What difference does it make? This is public forum.

I am ex-law enforcement and so have some expertise in this area. As far as an analysis of the savings by using the Sheriff's department, Peter Carpenter presented that information quite awhile ago. Perhaps he would be kind enough to post it again?

I also work in Atherton building homes for people here. I know that the homes are virtually all equipped with alarm systems. And a reading of the police blotter shows repeatedly, response to burglaries where the alarm system hadn't been set. So I know that people that have them obviously aren't using them.


Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm

Atherton resident:

Portola Valley and Woodside seem to have to complaints about the service they receive from the SMCSD. If you're talking about the other stuff like keeping your keys at the APD so if you get locked out of your house and other nonsense that is not a police officer's job, that type of thing can be inexpensively handled by a private security company.

Your argument that keeping the police local is better than county because of the crimes that have been going on due to a lack of fear or respect for law enforcement is specious. If criminals don't respect law enforcement, they don't respect law enforcement. It doesn't matter whether it says "Sheriff" on the side of the car or "Atherton Police".


Really !
Registered user
Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:04 pm
Really !, Atherton: Lindenwood
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Menlo Voter -
"no I'm not an Atherton resident. What difference does it make? This is public forum."

Do I need to be Captain Obvious here ???
If you don't pay taxes in Atherton, don't benefit from Atherton Police,
and have nothing to offer but shade, then kindly DON'T tell Atherton residents what is right and wrong about how our township is managed.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:13 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:13 pm

Really! - Menlo Voter, as a former police office, and someone who has done a lot of work in Atherton is well qualified to comment on this issue.

As for me, I lived in Atherton for almost 40 years and served as a local elected official for almost 16 years.

What public service experience do you bring to this discussion?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:29 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:29 pm

These data are a bit out of date but I suspect that the ratios have not changed very much:

Cost comparison 2013

Agencies which have their own Police Department:

Atherton
As of the census of 2010, there were
6,914 people
4.9 square miles (12.8 km²)
Police budget $5.6 M in 2012/13
$810 per capita

Redwood City
As of the census[1] of 2008, there were
75,508 people
34.6 sq miles
Police budget $31.7 M
$419 per capita

Palo Alto
As of the census of 2000, there were 58,598
people
23.7 sq miles
Police budget $29M
$494 per capita

Foster City
As of the census of 2000, there are 28,803
people
The city has a total area of 19.9 square
miles (51.6 km²), of which 3.8 square miles
(9.7 km²) is land and 16.2 square miles
(41.9 km²) is water.
Police budget $9.6 M
$333 per capita

Burlingame
As of the census of 2000, there were 28,158
people
The city has a total area of 15.6 km² (6.0 mi²).
11.2 km² (4.3 mi²) of it is land and 4.4 km²
(1.7 mi²) of it (28.19%) is water.
Police budget $9.5M
$337 per capita

Hillsborough
As of the census[5] of 2000, there were
10,825 people
The town has a total area of 6.2 square miles
(16.1 km²), all of it land.
Police budget $8M
$739 per capita

Los Altos
The population was 27,693 according to the
2000 census.
6.3 square miles (16.4 km²).
Police dept budget $13.46 M
$485 per capita

Menlo Park
As of the census of 2010, there were
32,026 people
17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which
10.1 square miles (26 km2) is land
and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) is water.




Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm


And here is a superb Grand Jury Report on this issue of police outsourcing:


Web Link


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:33 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Cost comparison 2013


Agencies which contract out their police services:

Saratoga
The population was 30,318 at the 2007 census.
The city has a total area of 21.1 square miles
(31.4 km²)
Police costs via County Sheriff $4.34 M
$143 per capita

Woodside
11.8 square miles (30.5 km²)
As of the census of 2010, there were
5,287 people
Police services via County Sheriff $1.45 M
$274 per capita
new contract 2012/13
The Woodside Town Council approved a budget that included ■ Sheriff's contract: A council majority approved a three-year $1.45 million law enforcement contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. Unlike the annual jumps of 10 percent in previous contracts, this one rises by 4 percent for the first year and 3 percent after that.


Portola Valley
The population was 4,462 at the 2000 census
9.2 square miles (23.7 km²)
Police services via Sheriff $498,601
$111 per capita

San Carlos
The population was 27.238 in 2008
5.93 square miles
Police services via proposed Sheriff's contract
$6.8 M
$248.62 per capita



Menlo Voter.
Registered user
Menlo Park: other
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:54 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:54 pm

Really:

no you don't need to be "capt obvious". You need to take some advice from people that know more than you obviously do about the subject. One doesn't have to live in Atherton to know what works and what doesn't.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:59 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2021 at 3:59 pm

This entry got truncated in the above posting:

Menlo Park
As of the census of 2010, there were
32,026 people
17.4 square miles (45 km2), of which
10.1 square miles (26 km2) is land
and 7.3 square miles (19 km2) is water. Police services budget $14.95M
$466.80 per capita


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