Chief Reports on Crime in Burlingame

Chief Mike Matteucci speaks at the Community Center

Crime is not increasing in Burlingame, as many people think, said Burlingame Police Chief Mike Matteucci during a program presented by the Burlingame Neighborhood Network on February 24. He shared crime stats, crime prevention tips and answered many questions posed by the 47 residents in attendance.

“I’ve been here for 33 years and one thing hasn’t changed: the concern by citizens regarding safety,” he noted.


As the chief discussed different types of crime, he invited those present to guess the average number of crimes per month in each category during 2023. In most of them, people vastly overestimated the statistics and the crime rate has steadily dropped in recent years.

  • Residential Burglaries – 2
  • Vehicle Burglaries – 19
  • Thefts from Vehicles – 6
  • Commercial Burglaries – 4
  • Package Thefts – 4
  • Catalytic Converter Thefts – 4
  • Robberies – 1
  • Stolen Vehicles – 8

One number that was much higher than people guessed was the average number of arrests that the Burlingame Police Department (BPD) made each month during 2023: 34. You can see a complete log of crime stats and other helpful information on BPD’s website, including a crime and arrest map, at

The chief’s primary request was that residents call either 9-1-1 or the department’s business line (650-777-4100) whenever they see suspicious activity. He said it’s frustrating when neighbors later report seeing something odd after a crime has been committed, saying they didn’t want to bother police.

Chief Matteucci offered many crime prevention techniques, including:


  • Set your alarm when you go out during the day because most burglaries occur during daytime, not at night.
  • Make sure to lock all doors and windows. Door should be sturdy and equipped with dead bolts.
  • If you’re going away, lock your laptop and valuables in a safe. You can ask the department to make safety checks while you’re gone.
  • Record serial numbers on valuables so they may be returned to you if they are found.
  • Cameras are a good deterrent but often don’t help identify a culprit.

Vehicle Burglaries and Thefts of Vehicles

  • Always lock your car and don’t keep anything of value in it.
  • Keep other belongings, such as a gym bag, out of view.
  • Keep your vehicle registration and insurance info in your wallet, not your car.
  • Park in your garage if you can.
  • Park as far up your driveway as possible.
  • Shine a floodlight on your driveway.
  • Don’t leave your keys in your car.
  • Get a steering wheel club.

To catch criminals, the department puts “bait” packages on people’s porches and bicycles at strategic locations around the city. The packages and bikes have GPS alarms that allow officers to track them when they are stolen.

Thefts of catalytic converters have diminished, the chief said, because the price of the precious metals in them has gone way down and state and local police have cracked down on those who buy them.

The addition of automated license plate readers beginning in early 2023 has helped track stolen cars. To combat retail theft, some businesses on Burlingame Avenue pay for police protection. But Chief Matteucci said a change in the law that made theft of merchandise valued at less than $950 a misdemeanor instead of a felony has encouraged “flash mobs” to steal from stores.


He encouraged residents to participate in National Night Out on Tuesday, August 6. If you invite neighbors to gather in your front yard or driveway for that event, officers will stop by to chat with them. He also offered to send out officers to meet with neighborhood groups who have specific safety concerns.

Joe Becerra of the Burlingame Neighborhood Network (BNN) board invited people to participate in the annual Burlingame Disaster Response Drill from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 5. Email [email protected] if you’d like more information.