Mill Valley remains a safe community. However, there has been a significant increase in property crimes in the past year. Although home burglaries may seem random in occurrence, they actually involve a selection process. The burglar’s selection process is simple: choose an unoccupied house with the easiest access, the greatest amount of cover, and the best escape routes.
Most burglaries occur between Monday and Friday during daytime hours. Burglary is often a crime of opportunity. Criminals seek easy targets like open garages, and empty homes with easy hidden entry. Unlocked cars with visible valuables inside are also a popular target.
We can achieve a safe community with well-informed residents working cooperatively with law enforcement through information sharing, good safety practices and effective communication. Residents know their neighborhoods better than anyone else and we encourage you to report any and all suspicious activity. Mill Valley Police Officers recently made several arrests as a result of citizen reports.
What You Can Do:
In/Around Your Home:
- Always close and lock doors and windows.
- Install motion-sensor lighting.
- Remove/prune plants and landscaping that create dark hiding spaces.
- If you have an alarm system, set it each time you leave the house.
- Dogs may also be a deterrent to strangers trying to enter your house.
- Safeguard and document valuables:
- Do not keep valuables (jewelry, important documents) in common places like the bedroom, freezer, or under the mattress – store in a safe or lock box.
- Prepare a detailed inventory of valuable possessions.
- Photograph your home room by room to document possessions.
- Keep receipts of large-ticket items.
- Etch your driver license number on electronic equipment (Operation ID).
- More tips on protecting your valuables.
Tips for Camera/Home Systems: Any camera system is better than nothing, and IP is preferred over analog. The higher the resolution, the better the image - one megapixel or 1080P preferred. We recommend at least one camera pointing toward the street with high resolution. Other cameras can be of lesser grade since their viewing distance is much less. We recommend 30 days worth of storage, with 1 TB sufficient for most systems. Along with the camera pointing toward the street, we recommend a camera pointing at the front porch/entryway, side gate, rear door, and any sliding glass windows. Please do not point a camera directly into a door or window of a neighbor.
In Your Neighborhood
Neighbors are your best defense against a burglary:
- Neighborhood Watch: Start a neighborhood group.
- Nextdoor: Use social networking sites such as Nextdoor for communication between neighbors
- National Night Out: Yearly one-night event for neighbors to get to know each other. A connected neighborhood is a safe neighborhood.
- Report suspicious behavior: Call 911. We encourage reports – “If you See Something – Say Something”
- Neighborhood Camera Systems: Neighborhood members may obtain privately funded camera systems if they care to. Contact us for suggestions on how to set one up.
Mill Valley Police Department Burglary Prevention Resources:
1. Crime prevention outreach
- HOA/NA presentations to assist with Neighborhood Watch groups.
- Weekly Public Information Messages regarding crime and safety posted on the City website and emailed to residents.
- Operation ID – provides etching tool for residents to mark their electronic items for possible easier recovery if stolen.
- Vacation Watch for additional patrol when residents are out of town.
- Home Security Check for residents wishing specific information on locks, landscaping and lighting for their house.
- Police website crime prevention information.
- The City of Mill Valley has recently partnered with Nextdoor to improve City-wide communications with residents.
2. Law enforcement actions
- Ongoing patrol efforts in marked vehicles.
- Coordinated investigative efforts with allied agencies.
- Collection and submission of DNA and fingerprint evidence.
- Officers are encouraged to conduct foot patrols to investigate suspicious activity.
- Unmarked vehicle patrol in areas where burglaries and suspicious activity have occurred.
Remaining vigilant in crime prevention will reduce the chances of becoming victimized. Our staff is available to assist you with personalized suggestions for better securing your residence or business. Together, we will ensure Mill Valley remains a safe community for all to enjoy. To schedule a meeting, request a home check or ask a question, please call us at (415) 389-4100.