Though he wishes to remain anonymous, one Mesa resident wants his neighbors to know that his home was burglarized earlier this week.

“If it helps even one person,” he wrote in an email to The Santa Barbara Independent, “then I will feel a sense of accomplishment.”

This past Monday morning, the man was away on a business trip while his wife and children were at their Mesa Alta-area home. About four minutes after his wife and kids pulled out of the driveway, he said, their ADT alarm went off but didn’t deter the thief enough to stop him from swiping various pieces of the wife’s jewelry — including her engagement ring, which he said “has incredible sentimental value.” The thief apparently opted only to steal small items, leaving artwork and a MacBook untouched.

The police, the man said gratefully, arrived within five minutes of ADT notifying them, and they dusted for fingerprints, but the situation has still unnerved him. “It’s a bummer,” he said over the phone, lamenting the fact that the thief apparently wasn’t “scared away by potential protection devices.”

“Be vigilant,” he said, as advice to his neighbors. “If you see something that doesn’t look right, maybe pick up the phone and call somebody.”

Santa Barbara Police Department Sgt. Riley Harwood said that May did see a jump in the number of residential burglaries — 39 compared to the 17 in April and the 28 in March — but he does not yet have the specific figures for the Mesa neighborhood. “One active burglar can really skew those stats from month to another,” he said.

Harwood said that he and one of his fellow officers believe the spike could be due to many nonviolent offenders no longer doing as much time in prison. While he said that “there’s only so much you can do to prevent someone who’s really adamant,” Harwood offered multiple burglary-prevention tips, including instituting neighborhood watch programs and locking up valuables in a safe. He also suggested that people look into environmental design for crime prevention, recommending the Wikipedia page on the topic. (See it here.)

As for the Mesa Alta family’s burglary, Harwood said that he couldn’t release any specific details, but the investigation is ongoing.

“We have insurance to replace the material items that they took, but I can’t help feeling violated,” wrote the man whose home was broken into. “They stole a very important treasure that holds more meaning than its overall monetary value.”


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