San Mateo Police Warn of Trend in Property Crimes

Thefts are San Mateo's most frequent crime, according to police.

The San Mateo Police Department is warning residents of a recent trend in property crimes.

Thefts are the city's most frequent crime, according to a news release published Tuesday by the San Mateo Police Department.

Though patrol officers conduct regular neighborhood checks and coordinate with other local agencies to catch criminals, the Police Department has offered a number of ways the public can help prevent these types of crimes. 

Two types of property crime continue to be popular for opportunistic criminals -- thefts from vehicles and residential burglaries, according to police.

Here are some helpful tips that will help you to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim to these crimes.

Protect Yourself from Theft Activity

Tip #1 – Lock your Vehicle

Even if you are only leaving for a few minutes, remember that an unlocked vehicle is an open invitation – there is nothing that stands between the criminal element and your valuables. Locking your car is the first and most important layer of security for parked vehicles.

Tip #2 – Stow your Valuables Out of Sight

It takes effort to smash a car window. Opportunistic crooks look for the EASY way – they are not likely to smash your window UNLESS they see something they want to steal. Keep all valuables out of sight – remove them from your vehicle entirely if you can. Nearly 100% of all window-smash vehicle burglaries occur because electronics, money, or bags/backpacks are left clearly visible in your vehicle. This is even more important now during the holiday season, as we purchase or receive gifts and have to transport them home.

Remember – stow these items away BEFORE YOU PARK. Smart criminals conduct surveillance – if you park, get out with your valuables, place them in the trunk, and leave your car, you may be simply showing off your goods to these observant bandits. Stow your valuables before you reach your destination, or take them with you when you park.

Protect Yourself from Residential Burglary and Package Theft – Beware of Solicitors and the “Door-Knock Burglars”

Solicitor Awareness –

San Mateo is seeing another uptick in solicitor activity in the area. Although some solicitors are perfectly law abiding and legitimate, this is also a great cover for residential burglary activity. Many of these criminals are knocking on your door to see if you are home. If you are home – LET THE SOLICITORS KNOW YOU ARE HOME. No need to open the door – but do let them know you are home and not interested. If they don’t go away, or if they look suspicious, CALL SMPD!

When criminals posing as solicitors find an empty residence, they search for a way in…

That leads us to the next tip –

LOCK UP YOUR RESIDENCE. Always lock up, even if you are only leaving home for a few minutes. A buttoned-up home adds a layer of security against the opportunistic crook.

These criminals are also looking for unattended packages, and stealing them off doorsteps. Consider taking safety measures to prevent unsecured delivery of packages. Require a signature, or arrange for the package to be delivered at a secure date, time, or place.

Neighborhood Awareness –


Call SMPD if you see criminal or suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Remember that your observation and referral to SMPD may be all that stands between a crime being committed and a criminal in our custody – YOU are our extra eyes and ears!

Call us via 911 – or use SMPD’s Non-emergency number programmed into your mobile phone 650-522-7700


San Mateo has a robust Neighborhood Watch program. To start or re-activate a Neighborhood Watch in your area, contact Officer John Rink at 650-522-7744 or rinkj@cityofsanmateo.org.

For more information on Neighborhood Watch, visit the SMPD Webpage:http://www.cityofsanmateo.org/index.aspx?nid=675


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