Burglaries are on the rise in Bakersfield up 15 percent just in the last year but communities are not sitting idle. They're forming neighborhood watch programs at record levels hoping to help police catch the criminals.
Gabriel Hernandez and his mother live in a quiet east Bakersfield neighborhood.
"They attempted to break in by kicking our door down," said Hernandez.
That was Monday night. Fortunately the burglars didn't take anything.
"When they tried to kick open the door I don't think they were strong enough to break through," said Hernandez.
Unfortunately the burglars did break into a house two doors down. That's why Saturday morning neighbors organized a neighborhood watch meeting with the Bakersfield Police Crime Prevention unit.
"We have had so many people on this street moving in and out where we didn't know anybody and I wanted to get to know so we can take care of each other," said Brenda Twist who's lived in the neighborhood since the 1990's.
Bakersfield Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Tony Martinez said others across the city feel the same with dozens of neighborhood watches popping up just in the last year.
"In the start of the year I could say we had 810 neighborhood watch programs," said Martinez. "As we followed through the year we were doing anywhere from 4 to 6 of these neighborhood watch programs every week."
The interest may be because of the increase in burglaries. According to the Bakersfield Police Department in 2012 there were 4, 994 burglaries up 15.6 percent since last year.
"We have so many calls for service that they can't respond to all calls and when we do it might be to a call that we received two to three hours earlier," said Martinez.
Martinez said a neighborhood watch program helps police catch the burglars.
"We know that 90% of of the burglars that we apprehend is because somebody calls us from a neighborhood and is watching out for the neighbor," said Martinez.
The program also helps with prevention sending a strong message like this neighborhood sent Saturday.
"Stay out because we're watching," said Eddie Rubin at the meeting. "We're taking care of one another".
Martinez said burglars are targeting homes between Union and H Street, south of White Lane.
If you would like to start a neighborhood watch program, call 326-3922.