SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — People in one San Jose neighborhood say they are being targeted by car and package thieves.
Multiple cars and packages have been stolen from homes in the area of Newhall and Park Avenue, near the Santa Clara border.
One neighbor’s surveillance camera caught a New Year’s Eve car theft in progress on Walnut Grove Avenue.
The video shows a thief brazenly taking off with a black Honda Civic which then stops in the middle of the street. The driver is seen getting out and retrieving a backpack left behind on the curb. He then drives away.
“I think people are casing the neighborhood,” said Lisa Nichols whose car has been stolen twice from in front of her home in the past week.
Both times, the Honda was recovered the next day, out of gas and vandalized. But there won’t be a next time, unless the thief is driving a tow truck.
“This time, we’ve pulled the battery and the main fuse,” said Nichols, explaining how she had to disable her own vehicle. Nichols says it’s the fourth car theft she’s suffered in the past two years. “Obviously, there is a pretty big financial hit,” she said.
The rash of thefts prompted neighbors to install surveillance camera systems. Neighbors say their cameras have picked up a lot of other suspicious activity in the overnight hours, including people possibly ridesharing into the neighborhood before apparently prowling.
“We go in, like, spurts,” said Matt Guerrero, who had his car stolen two years ago.
“All of a sudden, I’ll see, like, cars getting broken into constantly, and then nothing for a while.”
Guerrero said the neighborhood’s easy access to Interstate 880 on-ramps may attract thieves looking for a quick getaway.
One neighbor, who did not want to be identified but appeared on camera, captured the car theft and said such thefts make for sleepless nights.
“It makes you feel uneasy, you know. We care for each other as neighbors and we respect each other’s privacy. But it doesn’t feel good when you see a neighbor’s property being taken in front of you,” she said.
San Jose police say car thefts have doubled in the past 15 years, and the problem persists throughout the city.
Statistics for 2018 are not out yet, but Sgt. John Carr of the Vehicular Crimes Unit said he expected the car theft number to be over 9,000 for the year.