Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Police Warn “Knock-Knock” Burglaries Increasing|
By Niki Cervantes
February 23, 2015 -- After a rash of home burglaries earlier this summer and fall, Santa Monica police are reporting that “knock-knock” break-ins are spreading throughout California, and are urging residents here to be especially vigilant.
‘Now it’s in several counties, and not just in affluent areas,” said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Rudy Flores.
Knock-knock crews are now working in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura counties, in both affluent and modest neighborhoods, Flores said.
Earlier in the year, an outbreak of Knock-Knock” burglaries, primarily on the Westside and other well-off neighborhoods in metropolitan Los Angeles, prompted warnings throughout the region. The rash of break ins led to the establishment of a special task force by the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Knock-knock” burglaries are notable for their speed. During them, suspects will approach a residence that appears empty, and knock. If there is no reply, burglars usually check the home’s perimeter, and enter through windows or doors that are unlocked and not easily visible.
Police say the burglars can be in and out within a minute, hauling away computes, jewelry, cash and other valuables and easily accessible items.
These days, they’ve even polished up their act, Flores said. If they’re casing an affluent neighborhood, burglars will rent a BMW or Mercedes Benz to do a drive through and check for potential properties to burgle.
“If they don’t know if someone is home, they’ll knock, and if you answer they’ll say they’re a maid service, or some other kind of service, or they’re looking for a friend, and then move on to the next house,” he said. “You won’t even know you could have been a victim.”
The burglars tend to send females to case the homes, Flores said.
Last year, when Santa Monica police first revealed an upswing in knock-knock burglaries, there had been six such incidents on the eastern portion of Santa Monica in just a few weeks.
With less publicity lately about knock-knock burglars, it’s easy for the public to be less alert to the potential, he said.
“We just want individuals to be constantly aware of their surroundings,” he said. “It’s easy not be to. People get busy, they’re on their phones. But if it looks like something strange, or you’re not sure, give us a call. We tell people if you see something, say something.”
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