PLEASANTON -- Police say residential burglaries have spiked in the last month and thieves are often escaping with thousands of dollars in jewelry, electronics and, in one case, even a family pet.
Since Oct. 1, the Police Department has responded to more than 20 cases of residential burglaries, according to police logs. Those incidents do not include vehicle burglary reports.
On Oct. 8, a family's pet pug named Holly was taken in the middle of the afternoon from a home on San Gabriel Court, along with jewelry, cameras and electronic devices.
The next day, burglars made off with roughly $46,000 in jewelry, a computer, video games and an Xbox console on Vista Diablo Court, according to police records.
According to Officer Archie Chu, a majority of the reported residential burglaries are concentrated on the south side of town, but there is no explanation as to why homes in that area are being ransacked. Chu added that, so far, police have no hard leads on suspects.
"Burglars are in and out of a house in about 10 minutes, max," he said. "The average time someone is in your house is 4 minutes. They take what they see ... like, on the counter, and they leave."
Police are encouraging more Neighborhood Watch groups -- Pleasanton has more than 200, Chu said -- to have residents keep an eye out for cars or people who are not seen regularly near their homes.
In a post on the department's Facebook page Tuesday, officers said asking who is knocking on the front door will also deter burglars from entering your home.
Burglars often knock before they enter, and if you don't acknowledge the door, it could be only a matter of minutes before you could find someone at the back of your house looking for a way in, police said.
"(Criminals) know it's not OK and that they shouldn't be doing this," Chu said. "They need to know that Pleasanton is watching, though. They need to know they shouldn't come to Pleasanton."
There were 182 reported burglaries in town last year. Despite the current spike, Chu said, "Year to date, we are down about 28 percent" from last year,
But for those coping with the loss of property taken from their homes, particularly Jeff Castronovo, whose daughter's pug, Holly, was stolen, the recent rise in residential burglaries has left him frustrated.
Castronovo said the bad economy and people's desperation have created the drive to commit crime to make ends meet.
"People need to be involved and take action in situations like this," he said. "Someone out there knows these perpetrators, and they are dangerous individuals who invade a home in broad daylight and lack in any sense of humanity ..."
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.
It only takes seconds for someone to break into a home. Pleasanton police ask residents to call in if they see someone or something that seems suspicious. The police non-emergency number is 925-931-5100.