Safety Tips – Door Knock Burglaries

These burglaries generally fit the most common current method of residential burglary – the “door-knock” or “solicitor” burglary. In these types of burglaries suspects pose as service-people or salespeople and canvass an area by knocking on doors. These suspects are looking for unoccupied homes where there is no reply to their knock. They then check the perimeter of the victim home for unsecured doors or windows, or locate a door or window out of sight from the street to force entry.

Some tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of a daytime residential burglary include:

• Let people know you are home. Suspects generally choose unoccupied homes to victimize.  REMEMBER – YOU DO NOT EVER NEED TO OPEN YOUR DOOR FOR STRANGERS! Answer through the door and ask solicitors to go away. If they don’t, call SMPD. 

• Lock all your doors and windows when you leave (even if it’s only for a few minutes).

• Every layer of security helps – deterrents like dogs, alarm systems (and even alarm signs and stickers), and Neighborhood Watch signs add one more thing to deter potential burglars.

• Engrave a personal identification number on valuable items such as electronics.

• Take close-up detailed photos of jewelry and other valuable items.

• Prepare a personal property inventory of valuable items which includes the items’ serial numbers.


• Alert neighbors are responsible for the majority of arrests made in residential burglaries.

• If you see a crime in progress or anything that appears to be suspicious in your neighborhood, please do not hesitate to contact the San Mateo Police Department:

• Emergencies and crimes in progress: 911

• Non-urgent matters or direct dial SMPD from mobile phone: 650-522-7700

SMPD Detectives are pursuing a number of investigative leads, but continue to need the assistance of the community to help us solve these crimes. They are also communicating with detectives in neighboring jurisdictions and sharing information to match potential suspects to existing cases.

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