San Mateo County offers up to $10K for home burglary information

San Mateo County on Tuesday rolled out a new reward program that they say hasn’t been offered before in the Bay Area. The county says it will reward up to $10,000 to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest and conviction involving home burglaries. 

San Mateo County Board Supervisor Ray Mueller says many of the home burglaries have happened in his district, and this reward program is just one step the county is taking to help stop the thieves.

"Residents not only express concern about their possessions that were lost but also the sanctity of their home that was violated," said Mueller. 

Since January, nearly 90 home burglaries have been reported in San Mateo County’s District 3. The district’s Board Supervisor Ray Mueller and other county leaders are now implementing a pilot reward program to help deter thieves.

"That person or that would-be burglar, now knows if they perpetrate this crime, the person next to them or the person who might know the person next to them, can turn them in for a significant amount of money," said Mueller. 

The Residential Reward Pilot Program offers up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. The county’s board of supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the program using $125,000 of Measure K funds.

"There’s a reason that the state of California says home burglary is unlike store burglaries and things like that. We’re going to punish it heavier. The punishment is twice the level possible for that and if we can give some financial incentive to people who hear things, and you can even report anonymously, that’ll be a good thing," said Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Attorney. 

The reward program will cover unincorporated county areas in District 3, and other cities, including Atherton, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, and Woodside. Local jurisdictions have also added more patrols, license plate readers and encouraged homeowners to register ring cameras with local law enforcement, so the footage can be used in criminal investigations. Mueller says people should continue to be vigilant and share information.

"Those Neighborhood Watch associations are actually incredibly strong. Where, once you get to know your neighbor, and you understand what’s happening on your street, you can identify when something is taking place that isn’t in the norm, and you can report that, at the moment," said Mueller. 

County officials say they plan to see how the program goes for at least six months. They’ll analyze the results and decide whether to continue the program.