Crime has dropped slightly overall in San Marino at the start of 2011, according to San Marino Police Department statistics.
Forty-nine criminal incidents were reported through March, down from 52 during the same three-month period a year ago--a 5.8 percent decrease. Police departments are required to track the violent and property crimes of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.
No murders or rapes were reported, and like most municipalities, theft is the most common crime in San Marino. Twenty-six thefts have posted to the most current data set, equaling the number of .
Burglary is the second most common crime in San Marino. Ten residential have been reported in 2011, compared with 13 through March of last year. Commercial break-ins, however, rose from four incidents to six, and a look at April's police logs shows four burglaries and one attempted burglary so far this month.
"The most common items stolen seem to be computer equipment and flat screen televisions," said Chief of Police John Schaefer. "Despite the recent rise in gold prices, we have not seen an increase in crimes in which gold is stolen."
In the last decade burglaries peaked at 83 incidents in 2006 and dropped steadily until last year when there was a 50 percent increase from 2009's 44 cases, according to City-Data.com.
"Patrol officers are trying to ... get things done, and people have called in suspicious things," said Lt. Steve Johnson of the current downward trend in residential burglary. "Sometimes there's not a crime involved, but it's nice to get info on people who are suspicious and find out who they are. If they're up to no good, odds are they just leave."
Johnson said commercial and residential construction sites in particular have been prone to thievery because stored building materials and tools provide an easy target.
Other theft incidents could have been prevented had victims locked up their valuables, the lieutenant said.
"One of our main issues is telling people to lock their cars ... and keep valuable stuff where it can't be seen," said Johnson, who also advised residents to make locking their homes' doors and windows a high priority. "It kind of drives you crazy to see residents losing things they can't replace.
"And use your alarm," Johnson added. "Residents have great alarm systems that they paid a lot of money for and don't set it."
He offered several "common sense" options through which locals can prevent most thefts "by locking their house, or telling their neighbors they're going to be out, or just letting [the SMPD] know."
Employing these "common sense security issues really makes a difference," said Johnson. "When those things are followed, everybody seems to benefit."
The lieutenant encouraged locals "to do what they have been doing as of late. If they see a suspicious person, or somebody just doing a job and sometimes it can seem out of the ordinary, they should give us a call and we can check it out."
Other 2011 crime totals through March included one robbery, mirroring last year's first-quarter count, and no reports of arson or auto theft. Six aggravated assaults have occurred so far, compared with seven from January to March 2010.