Residential and commercial burglaries are on the rise, especially in north and west parts of Novato, according to recently released statistics.
Last year, 124 residential burglaries were reported compared to 106 the year before. By comparison, 96 home break-ins were reported in 2009. The same is true for commercial burglaries, with 117 reported last year compared to 109 the previous year. However, that's still lower than the 148 commercial break-ins reported in 2009.
This year, there have been 70 residential burglaries and 60 commercial burglaries, according to police data.
Police say the increase is minor, but want to remind residents to take some basic precautions like locking doors (yes, some people still leave their house unlocked in Novato) when leaving, even for short periods of time.
"It's an uptick, but nothing significant," said Lt. John McCarthy, a spokesman with the department. "This is something we track monthly and use the data to decide how we allocate resources."
Police encourage residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activity. Other tips to avoid becoming a victim of burglary include:
• Leave lights on when you go out. If you are going to be away for a length of time, connect some lamps to automatic timers to turn them on in the evening and off during the day.
• Make your home look occupied, and make it difficult to break in.
• Keep your garage door closed and locked.
• Don't allow daily deliveries of mail, newspapers or flyers build up while you are away. Arrange with the Post Office to hold your mail, or arrange for a friend or neighbor to take them regularly.
• Arrange for your lawn to be mowed if you are going away for an extended time.
• Check your locks on doors and windows and replace them with secure devices as necessary.
• Pushbutton locks on doorknobs are easy for burglars to open. Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors.
• Sliding glass doors are vulnerable. Special locks are available for better security.
• Other windows may need better locks. Check with a locksmith or hardware store