The Mountain View Police Department is ramping up its presence in the downtown area after a series of smash-and-grab auto burglary incidents last week, according to a statement by the department.
Mountain View's popular downtown corridor has been the frequent target of thieves in recent months, and last week was particularly bad. Between April 22 and April 26, a total of 12 auto burglaries were reported in the downtown area, primarily along Hope and Bryant streets. Thieves reportedly smashed the back windows of vehicles to look for valuables, and would fold down the rear seats to check the contents of the trunk, police said.
Belongings stolen in the burglaries include a laptop, a wallet and documents, according to police spokeswoman Katie Nelson. Not every incident resulted in something being stolen, she said. The thefts are currently being investigated.
Along with increased on-foot patrols to monitor the area, police are urging downtown visitors to take all valuable belongings out of their vehicles, and that hiding bags, wallets and laptops is "not an acceptable way to safely keep your valuables secure."
Mountain View is among many Bay Area cities experiencing a frustrating increase in auto burglaries, with police department data showing a gradual increase in incidents since 2016. Mountain View's low point in the last five years, 2016, had 342 reported auto burglaries. The city has already surpassed that number this year, with 348 cases from Jan. 1 through April 27, according to the crime tracking website CrimeReports.
Auto burglaries in the downtown corridor doubled in 2018 compared to 2017, and 2019 isn't off to a great start. The latter half of 2018 showed 88 reported auto burglaries, whereas this year there have already been 132, according to CrimeReports.