Residential burglaries in Palo Alto returned to "average" in September following an alarming spike in August, police said Thursday.

Only 14 cases were reported to police last month, according to newly released crime statistics. That's half the number logged in August.

Still, residential burglaries continue to be a big concern in Palo Alto. Setting a five-year record, 160 cases were reported between January and September. The last time the city saw a comparable number was 2008, when 138 cases were reported in the first nine months of the year.

The first three months of 2012 were particularly troublesome: 21 cases were reported in January, 22 in February and 32 in March. Residential burglaries plummeted in April following increased police presence in neighborhoods and a campaign aimed at getting residents to secure their homes.

August, however, saw another surge in cases and rekindled fears that another crime trend was brewing.

Police pointed to the cyclical nature of crime as one explanation for why residential burglaries dropped back to average in September.

Police also shared details about the 14 cases reported last month. Two happened at homes under construction and a bicycle was taken from an open garage in another. Two more were attempts in which nothing was stolen. Of the nine remaining cases, four involved the use of force while the other five did not; burglars instead used an unlocked door or window.

Four people have been arrested in connection with two of the September cases, police said. Altogether, 25 people have been arrested on suspicion of burglarizing Palo Alto homes since Jan. 1.


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Police plan to discuss the recent residential burglaries with the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association on Oct. 10. The meeting, which will also cover auto burglaries, will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room of Duveneck Elementary School, 705 Alester Ave.

Although the city isn't in the throes of another crime trend, police are urging residents to remain on guard and call 911 immediately to report suspicious behavior. Residents should also continue locking all windows, doors and side gates to deter burglars, police said.

Additional crime prevention tips are available on the city's website at www.cityofpaloalto.org/stopcrime.

Anyone with information about any of the residential burglaries is asked to call the Palo Alto Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.

Email Jason Green at jgreen@dailynewsgroup.com; follow him at twitter.com/jgreendailynews.