Pleasanton Police Report 28% Increase in Auto Burglary from Unlocked Cars

By East County Today Staff / East County Today 

With all the auto burglaries in East Contra Costa County, here is a look at the City of Pleasanaton and data reported by the Pleasanton Police Department.

They report that in 2019, they took 282 reports of theft from unlocked vehicles–which was a 28% increase from 2018. In most cases, items were left in plain sight and note that these crimes are 100% preventable.

According to data by Antioch Police, they reported between Jan-Nov of 2019, 544 auto thefts and in 2018, 541 auto thefts. The December numbers have not been released yet. Meanwhile, Pittsburg Police reported between Jan-Oct. 2019 a total of 344 auto burglaries.

Just last week a bipartisan bill was introduced by Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) and Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan with principal co-author Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) that would increase the penalty for auto burglaries.

According to Assembly Bill 1921:

Existing law defines the crime of burglary to include entering a vehicle when the doors are locked with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny or a felony. Existing law makes the burglary of a vehicle punishable as a misdemeanor or a felony.

This bill would make forcibly entering a vehicle, as defined, with the intent to commit a theft therein a crime punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for a period not to exceed one year or imprisonment in a county jail for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years. By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Diep explained in a video he posted on Twitter that under current law you have to prove to a prosecutor you locked your door.

“That has caused a lot of stress and burden to victims, that is why I introduced AB 1921 to allow a prosecutor to prosecute and go after a bad guys that broke into your car, smashed your car window, the ability to prosecute all these crimes without having to you as a victim, having to demonstrate you locked your car door,” said Diep.  “Auto burglary has become a big epidemic in the Bay Area and some of the same criminals are moving down to Southern California.”

“I’m proud to coauthor AB 1921. We’ve seen an alarming spike in auto break-ins, one that we must take immediate action to address. Every smashed window and every piece of stolen property is both costly and a personal violation of our residents. For far too long criminals have been abusing a loophole in current law that requires prosecutors to prove that a car was not unlocked at the time of a break-in. This bill would close that loophole and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable,” said Bauer-Kahan.