Cops in Visalia see rise in home burglaries

VISALIA, Calif.

Police believe several different groups are responsible for the break-ins. June was the busiest month they've had so far this year.

The break-ins are sporadic. They're happening all over Visalia, usually during daytime hours.

In June alone, Visalia police investigated 79 residential burglaries. That's compared to 61 in May and 53 in April.

Sgt. Paul Esquibel said, "There are some instances where they have kicked in the door, they have pried doors open, and they've also broken windows to gain entry."

Sgt. Esquibel says the best thing homeowners can do is be alert. That includes locking all entry-ways and watching for suspicious vehicles or people casing the area.

Another tip, communicate with your neighbors. That's something John Berlinger who lives in south Visalia says he relies on most. He said, "There's everybody watching everybody all the time and that's what's important."

Berlinger also invested in a security gate and has dogs to keep him safe.

Other residents like Joey and Brandy Buenafe say they too take extra precautions -- but that the recent spike in crime does have them somewhat concerned.

Brandy said, "That makes me a little nervous but the neighborhood is generally pretty quiet and we haven't had any problems so hopefully it's kids outside of school or something like that."

As for detectives, they haven't pinpointed any suspects but know most act in groups. Some pretend to be door to door sales people, or simple knock on your door asking for someone who doesn't live there.

With the word now out -- they're hoping residents will start being more vigilant and call police with any tips that could prevent future break-ins.

Sgt. Paul Esquibel said, "If there's something out there that kinda is drawing their attention, again chances are its something they should call in and make us aware of."

Investigators have recovered evidence which could help lead to arrests. They say if you do see anyone suspicious in your area, make sure you get a good description of them and their vehicle.

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