DUBLIN -- Two home-invasion suspects who tied up an elderly Dublin woman and stole her jewelry and cash earlier this week have been arrested, police told a packed meeting of concerned residents on Thursday.
Dublin police Chief Tom McCarthy made the announcement at a town hall -style meeting attended by 350 people at Dublin City Hall to address a recent spike in residential burglaries, especially in the town's newer developments in east Dublin.
"When someone ties up one of our neighbors, believe me, we take that very, very seriously," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said the suspects in Monday's robbery of the 80-year-old woman were arrested by other agencies for crimes in other East Bay cities, but they are believed to be linked to the recent burglaries, based on items found in their possession. Their names have not been released.
Since the start of the year, there have been 11 residential burglaries in east Dublin, including five over the past week, a high number for the city of 50,000 people, according to police.
McCarthy warned residents to take preventive measures, such as not leaving doors and windows open, installing alarms on second-story windows and answering the door when someone rings the bell to let potential burglars know they are there. He also urged residents to leave a radio or lights on when not at home to make it appear someone is at home as well as put away ladders and other items that could be used to climb into a home.
"We are now dealing with a different caliber of crooks who are looking for easy targets, so we need to think and act differently," McCarthy said. "Take a walk around your house and look at it with an eye of a criminal. How would you get in?"
Anxious residents peppered the chief with questions and proposals, including those who favored hiring more officers or paying for private security. Some wondered whether the Dublin Police Department has adequate staff to meet the needs of a rapidly growing city, where population has nearly doubled since 2000.
But McCarthy said his department, operated on contract by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, has increased ranks as Dublin has grown and has six officers on the streets at any given time, a ratio of about 1.3 officers for every 1,000 residents.
Lisa Fernandes, 54, learned about the meeting from an automated call the city sent Tuesday and said it was a good reminder about how to stay safe, even in a quiet community such as Dublin.
"We often leave our windows open when we sleep, especially in the summer, so now we'll have to be more aware," she said.
Flavio Amaral, a real estate agent and Dublin resident, proposed creating private security patrols to help police respond to alarms or reports of suspicious activity.
"There are 16,000 homes in Dublin and if everyone commits just $10, that would be $160,000 to hire a security company," Amaral said. "It's not a perfect solution, but it would work in the short-term."
McCarthy, however, said that residents looking out for one another, calling in suspicious behavior and getting to know their neighbors would be far more effective.
"When you have these types of incidents, the fear is real," he said. "But there's also a silver lining to these tragedies in that it brings different people together and working to find solutions."
He urged residents to call the Dublin police dispatch center directly at 925-462-1212 if using their cellphones to ensure faster response times and continue to work with their local neighborhood watch groups. He also announced a new app the city recently released called MyDublinCA, where residents can receive alerts, report issues in their neighborhood and connect to local resources.
Contact Karina Ioffee at 650-576-9626. Follow her at Twitter.com/kioffee.