A spike in car break-ins has the Mountain View Police Department's attention, and officials are asking the public to be on increased alert during the holiday season.
"It seems that there is some seasonality to it," Shino Tanaka, public information officer for the MVPD said in an interview with the Voice. Tanaka speculated that thefts from cars might be up in part because during the holidays people tend to have gifts, cash and other valuables in their cars, and that they often leave those things unattended in their vehicles while they run errands.
"The crooks are taking advantage of this," Tanaka said. There have been 30 reported auto burglaries over the last 14 days in Mountain View, according to the website, CrimeReports.com -- and more than half of those have occurred in the last week.
"People are leaving things in plain sight inside their vehicles," Tanaka said. "People see this. (Thieves) case the cars."
Whenever possible, people should bring their items with them when they leave their vehicles, she said. When that isn't possible, it's a good idea to tuck valuables out of sight either under seats or in the trunk. Still, she said, many times thieves break into cars whether items are visible or not.
Tanaka also asked that the Mountain View residents be on the lookout for their neighbor's possessions.
"If you see something, say something," Tanaka said. If someone who appears to be casing a parking lot or a street, call the police department's non-emergency number or text in a tip, she said. Police would rather check out a potential car burglary before it happens than find out after the fact.
Tipsters can reach the department by calling 650-903-6395 or by texting "MVTips" -- all one word -- plus a short description and location of a suspected crime to 274637.