PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Palo Alto saw a significant increase in home burglaries last year, police said, driven largely by the allure of gold.

The metal’s value has shot up more than 500 percent since 2001, and it is very easy to resell, said Sgt. Brian Phillips, a detective with the Palo Alto Police Department.

“We’re seeing a lot of jewelry taken in a lot of the residential burglaries where a lot of the electronics are actually left behind,” he said, adding that some suspects have been forthright about their motives when arrested.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“Some of them have said they would rather take the smaller items that are concealable, like jewelry, take it of town and sell it,” Sgt. Phillips said, leaving behind larger items such as televisions.

The 149 home burglaries reported in 2011 shot up 52 percent in 2012.

“We had 226, which is a significant increase,” Phillips said.

After a group from Sacramento revealed during interviews with investigators that Peninsula cities have a reputation on the street for being softer targets, Phillips said Palo Alto police made an even greater effort to share crime data and intelligence about known offenders with other police departments.

“We’ve done a number of probation and parole searches lately, specifically targeting people who have committed burglary in the past,” he said.

And for the month of January, at least, home burglaries in 2013 have gone down compared to last year, Phillips said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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