Burglary Prevention Tip: Beware the Taped Front Door

Are wannabe burglars waiting patiently to plunder your home when you’re out of town? A Bernal Heights neighbor writes about a trick the bad guys use to figure out if you’re away on vacation:

I wanted to let your readers now about what seems to be organized preparations for home theft in our neighborhood. We live on Coleridge Street, and over the last week or two we noticed little pieces of painter’s tape attached to our front door, between the frame and the door. The tape turns up during night. It would appear that the idea is to monitor who is home and who’s out on vacation. We have noticed the tape on several houses in our street.

Ingleside Police Station has been informed and Lt. Engler is on the case.

PHOTO: A neighbor on Coleridge

41 thoughts on “Burglary Prevention Tip: Beware the Taped Front Door

    • Bernal neighbors – KTVU is interested RIGHT NOW in speaking with anyone who has had this taping happen to them. Speaking to them might help get the word out about it happening. If you’ve had it happen to you. please call Buck Bagot at 415/385-0389.

  1. Thanks for the alert. We had a piece of tape on our door earlier this summer, but I just thought it fell of some of my kids’ school artwork or something. We always pay a housesitter to come stay whenever we’re out of town, but it sucks that we have to.

    • That’s exactly what I thought about: but they’d simply need to tape any likely entrance points on homes that have more than one way… and risk being more obvious. I’d suspect that this simple approach relies mostly on the seeming innocuousness of it, which would be betrayed by something as systematic as tape on multiple points of entry.

    • A FedEx Ground -delivered box sent to me last year was stolen from my stoop on Montezuma Street. Birthday present from family. And to add insult to injury, FedEx Ground refused to pay for the insured box’s contents to my stepmother, who sent it.

  2. after seeing this post, i thought about the fact that my neighbors metal gate has been open for a few days. I remember seeing them get into a taxi with suitcases….assuming they went out of town. I went for a walk this afternoon and decided to close the gate, just in case. I noticed blue tape on the street making a huge line. Both of those neighbors are out of town. So, I called the Ingleside Police and asked them to do a drive by/exterior visit. They did and came over afterwards…. Didnt seem to think anything of the blue tape or the door being open. So, hopefully all is well. They did remove the tape.

  3. Totally happened to us last week. I was away with the car for the weekend which is usually parked blocking our driveway but my wife was home. She took the tape down, drew a big EYE on it and put it back on our gate. If I were home I would have drawn a picture of my shotgun.

  4. We had blue tape on our door a few weeks ago on Prentiss street too. Since we were having the entire inside of our house painted when it appeared, I assumed it was something from our painters. . .but now I am wondering if there were / are other shenanigans going on.

  5. Our neighborhood as been all about a lot of broken car windows lately. (4 in the past two weeks) I live on Massasoit near Franconia. I have to say that most of the cars had lots of “stuff” on the seats. Really best not to leave any visible items in a parked car!

  6. Pingback: Your Bernal Heights Crime Summary for August 2012 | Bernalwood

  7. FYI, Talked to cops, they said there is nothing they can do about it until a crime is actually linked to the tape. No investigative unit is working on it as far as they know. They have no other reports of this happening, but did hear that neighbors were talking about it. I showed them this post on bernalwood. I also read them the recap of the crime meeting which said that if you have tape on your door to request that the tape be fingerprinted and to email the police dept. I called dispatch instead of emailing them about it. They can’t process the tape for fingerprints because my house is adjacent to the sidewalk so anyone walking by could have potentially touched the tape. The evidence would not hold up in court. So basically there is nothing they can do and the only report they offered me was a CAD number for the call to come out and see the blue tape. Lame. I sure hope I’m not the victim in the crime that’ll link someone to the tape. They suggested I remove the tape so that the person who put it there knows that I am home.

    Please continue to actually CALL the cops when this happens so they can get someone on the case before a real crime is committed.

    • Hi Nina,
      I write for the Potrero View newspaper and recently I’ve seen more activity about this blue tape- we’re thinking the attempts might be moving to different neighborhoods and I want to write about this in November’s column to raise awareness. Do you mind if I quote you within your post? I want to make it known that residents must be active in looking out for each other since the SFPD cannot make many moves without having a direct connection. Let me know what you think! Thank you-
      Amber Hawkins
      The Potrero View

  8. Yesterday morning I had tape on all my external doors. It must have happened at around 9am because even though the tape was undisturbed, one person left my apartment earlier and another person arrived at the downstairs apartment. Will call.

  9. This has happened to us twice now! First time was the day before this blog was posted. The second time was today. I’m calling the police and will report back. This is on Coleridge between Virginia and Fair.

  10. FYI, I also emailed ingleside station about the tape on my door, and this is their reply (showing, again, the disconnect between officers, since I tried to file a report and the officers who came over said there wasn’t anything to report)

    Greetings,We are aware of the situation and I have issued a crime alert via the news (see link) http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/crime-law/blue-tape/nRG9y/ . If you have been a victim please contact 553-0123 for a report or respond to the nearest Police station.

    Officer Harry Soulette
    San Francisco Police Department
    Ingleside Police Station
    1 Sgt John V. Young Ln.
    San Francisco, CA, 94112
    Tel: (415) 404-4000
    Fax: (415) 404-4008

  11. Latest update on the blue tape burglars. Neighbor Mike on Elsie reports the following: Update from the 100 block of Elsie.  At lunch today, I noticed blue tape on 12, 20, 22, 34 and 75 Elsie street.  I took pictures, removed tape, and called police.  I will follow up with owners and others tonight.  Thanks to all of you: my Elsie Street neighbors.  Keep vigilant……..

    • Perhaps it would be important for as many people as possible to attend the Ingleside Police Station’s monthly meeting. The next one is on 9/18 from 7-8pm. I for one am going to try to attend to address the drinking and drugging that takes place nightly on Bernal Hill. The last time I brought it to Captain’s Mahoney’s attention he was very concerned and promised more patrolling of Bernal. I would like to check out if this is still going on. There are many beer and whiskey bottles left on the road nearly every day as I walk the hill very early in the am.

      This blue tape situation needs to be addressed as well although I’m sure many of you that have been affected have already called the police! Still addressing it at a public meeting might stir things up a bit

  12. Elsie street neighbor Mike just stopped by and told us about the tape that he saw on our door today (0-100 block of Elsie.) As soon as he described it, I realized that I had seen and removed the same blue tape from our garage this Tuesday night when putting out the garbage. I figured it was just left-over tape from a new paint job. I am very worried but am glad to learn that we have vigilant neighbors. We will definitely be taking extra security measures and reporting anything suspicious.

  13. Pingback: Blue tape and Criminal Activity « FOREST KNOLLS

  14. Well, this theory of the blue-tape-as-burglar-monitoring-device gets more plausible the more often it is repeated. Weird, for sure. My question is, have any of the homes with tape found or seen on them actually been burglarized?

  15. Just removed some blue tape on my neighbor/s front gate on Precita Ave. Also noticed an individual driving a black Chevy pick-up scrutinizing the property.

  16. Pingback: Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for September 2012: Robbery Busts, iPhone Thefts, and Beware the Blue Tape | Bernalwood

  17. Hi All,
    I write for the Potrero View newspaper and recently I’ve seen more activity about this blue tape- we’re thinking the attempts might be moving to different neighborhoods, like Potrero Hill. I want to write about this in November’s column to raise awareness about this sneaky tactic- I want to make it known that residents must be active in looking out for each other since the SFPD cannot make many moves without having a direct connection (as I’m gathering from the above). I’m wondering if I can grab a few quotes from this blog to let the readers know what to look for- your permission would be much appreciated!
    Thank you!

    Amber Hawkins
    The Potrero View

  18. Pingback: Bernal Heights Crime Report for December 2012: Robberies Down, Car Thefts Up, and Why You Should Think Like a Burglar | Bernalwood

  19. The number of home burglaries traditionally spike in the summer months. Light timers and Fake TV are excellent solutions to deter burglars. Also playing anti-theft home occupancy sounds MP3 or a CD (sells on Amazon) in home while away is great to trick burglar that someone is in.

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