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San Mateo is experiencing an uptick in auto burglaries at known hot spots on the east side of the city, including South Norfolk Street and North Bayshore Boulevard, according to police.

“Our Crime Reduction Unit is aware of the issue and we’re committed to increasing patrols, both marked units and undercover, and conducting high visibility enforcement in the identified hot spots,” said police spokesman Officer Michael Haobsh.

The area around the intersection of South Norfolk Street and Fashion Island Boulevard specifically has been especially popular among thieves. Between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28, that area saw 19 car break-ins compared to just five the year before, Haobsh said, while the intersection of South Norfolk and Lago streets saw eight auto burglaries in that time period, a modest increase from the year before.

“We’re finding that this crime of opportunity that is largely preventable,” Haobsh said. “Almost all cases involve victims leaving purses, laptops, bags, gym bags and computer equipment in plain view for the burglar to see.”

Haobsh said thieves are generally coming from other counties and they often drive newer model vehicles with tinted windows and paper license plates to avoid detection.

He added that street-facing security cameras are especially helpful in identifying auto burglars.

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