Why mega rich homeowners in one of America's most expensive zip codes are opening their doors to burglars

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A string of burglaries in an ultra wealthy California town has led residents to offer themselves as bait for a police scheme to catch criminals. 

Law enforcement will put surveillance devices into volunteers' houses in Atherton — home to Big Tech billionaires and celebrities like NBA superstar Stephen Curry — allowing law enforcement to quickly respond to break-ins and, hopefully, deter crime, the local police department announced in February.

"The Burglary Bait House Reduction Prevention Program will contribute significantly to creating a safer and more secure environment for our residents," Atherton Police Chief Steven McCulley said in a statement. "By leveraging innovative technology and community collaboration, we aim to reduce burglary rates and enhance the overall quality of life for everyone in Atherton."

The "decoy devices" will be deployed in strategically located volunteer homes in areas with high burglary rates, according to police.

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"There have been 10 burglaries in Atherton in 2024," Atherton Police Commander Dan Larsen told Fox News in an email. "The investigations are ongoing and detectives are actively following up on leads."

Larsen shared the department's burglary prevention tips, such as installing exterior lighting and keeping valuables well hidden. He said police are also using a license plate program and an autonomous drone  to stop burglars.

The opulent town, roughly 30 miles south of San Francisco, was the most expensive zip code in the country in 2023, with a median home listing of over $8 million dollars, according to Property Shark.

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There were five residential burglaries over a five-day span last week, according to the police department. One happened just down the street from a home that sold for over $44 million dollars. 

The town faced a similar rash of offenses in 2022 when an alleged Chile-originated, organized crime ring committed multiple break-ins, the New York Post reported. Police haven't ruled out the possibility that the crime ring has returned, Larsen said.

The program will be assessed and adjusted based on data from the initiative, according to the police department. 

The department "encourages residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement promptly," McCulley said in a statement. "Working together, we can make our community a safer place for all."

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