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Burglary Prevention Tips
When suspect(s) enter a residence with the intent to commit a theft or other felony, the crime is considered a “residential burglary”. It is a crime that leaves its victims feeling violated and missing valuable and important personal belongings. The El Cerrito Police Department is committed to working in partnership with the community towards the prevention of these crimes as well as the pursuit of the offenders.

There are many things residents can do to help prevent residential burglaries.
  • Most criminals look for the path of least resistance, so making your home a difficult target is one of the ways that you can prevent burglary. When you leave your home, make sure all your doors (including your garage door) and windows are closed and secured. You would be surprised at the openings burglars can squeeze through, so even your small windows or pet doors need to be closed and secured when you aren’t home. If you are able to shake your patio or window open, a burglar can too, so these items are good candidates for replacement or repair. Deadbolt locks with metal kick plates help secure exterior doors and make forcible entrance more difficult.
  • Closing your curtains to conceal valuables inside your residence is a good idea.
  • Installing exterior lighting in unlit areas is a great way to deter burglars.
  • A burglar alarm coupled with signage and window decals notifying the observer of its existence is also an excellent deterrent. Please visit the Alarms webpage for more information about alarms and permits.

  • Consider purchasing a safe. A safe is a great investment because they provide secure storage for valuable items. If you do purchase a safe, make sure to anchor it so that it cannot be removed from your residence. Consider engraving your valuable personal items with the letters OAN and your driver’s license number. OAN stands for “Owner Applied Number” and your driver’s license is a great way to identify you. This really helps law enforcement identify stolen property. Alternatively, keep hard copy lists detailing your property and its serial numbers in a safe location.

Neighborhood Watch and Home Security Checks
The Neighborhood Watch Program is a key element to crime prevention within your neighborhood. This program is successful because it helps to form partnerships between the El Cerrito Police Department and the community. During Neighborhood Watch meetings, an officer and a member of the Crime Prevention Committee will come and talk about organizing your group and answer your crime prevention questions. The best benefit of the program is that you get to know your neighbors--which not only makes your neighborhood safer but a more enjoyable place to live. Once a Neighborhood Watch group has been formed and met, the Police Department will arrange for the posting of signs and provide window decal stickers that designate the area as a Neighborhood Watch zone.

Read more about Neighborhood Watch.

Home Security Assessment 

The Police Department offers a free Home Security Assessment for El Cerrito residents. The assessment  provides a personalized evaluation of your residence's security. During the security check, an officer will provide some practical solutions to make your home safer from the threat of burglary. To schedule an officer, please submit the online Home Security Assessment request form.  

Too busy to schedule a Home Security inspection?  Take the Home Security Challenge !  This quiz is designed for the resident to review the security of their home.  Tally up your points and see how you can make your home a safer place by improving environmental factors. 

Vacation House Notification

Help safeguard your home while you go out of town by notifying the Police Department.  An officer will conduct periodic checks of your residence while you are out of town.  By submitting the vacation notification, the Police Department will also be able to contact you or your emergency contact, should the need arise.  To request a vacation home notification, submit the online vacation house notification.  


When to Call the Police
The Police Department has received feedback that citizens are sometimes not sure if they should call the Police Department when they see something suspicious. A good guideline is if you have any doubt, please call. Officers are on duty around the clock to serve you and your neighbors and it is never a bother for the Police to respond. “If you ever see an unknown person carrying property from your neighbor’s house, please call us,” said Detective Seargent Scott Claitt. “One of more prevalent methods we see is for burglars to knock on a front door of a residence. If no one answers, the burglars continue to case the house. If someone answers, they make an excuse such as asking for someone who doesn’t live there or selling a product. In either case, you don’t have to open the door but look out the peep hole and ask what the person wants. If you don’t recognize the person, don’t open the door,” explained Cliatt. In this case, please notify the El Cerrito Police Department immediately. If you need to report an emergency such as a crime in progress or that someone is hurt, call 911. For non-emergency matters, such as to report a crime that has already occurred, please call (510) 237-3233. If you are not sure, call 911.

Remember, you are the eyes and ears of the community and together we can prevent residential burglaries.


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