The money, which was approved by a committee made up of Sheriff's personnel and city staff, was part of the Report for Reward program that went into effect in November, according to the city's newsletter.
At its Dec. 17 meeting, the Diamond Bar City Council presented a certificate to Barbara Decarbo in recognition of her being among the first four to receive a reward.
Decarbo recalled being a burglary victim herself. She returned home from a vacation in May to find all of the lights on in her house and the door wide open.
"It had been trashed. It had been robbed," she said. "Every drawer was out and thrown. All of our personal belongings were on the ground. It was horrid. It was awful."
In September, she said she had come home from having lunch with a friend and was on the computer when she looked out of the window and saw a man walking on the sidewalk in front of her neighbor's house.
Decarbo, knowing her neighbors were not home, watched as the man stopped short of going to the front door before turning and heading around the side of the house to the backyard.
"I was still a little shaky enough from our experience," she said.
Decarbo called 9-1-1 and gave the dispatcher the information about the man she saw, adding that she also noticed a black car going back and forth on the street that day.
Sheriff's deputies responded within minutes of her call and nabbed two male suspects Decarbo witnessed going up a hill behind her neighbor's house, as well as the driver of the suspected get-away car.
Decarbo said her community's neighborhood watch group is very close, and she cautioned against residents remaining strangers.
"If you don't get to know your neighbors, if you continue, like so many of us do, to drive from work, open the garage, put the car in, go inside, don't get to meet anyone, that doesn't help anybody," she said. "Please get to know your neighbors. Please get involved."
Mayor Carol Herrera echoed Decarbo's message, adding that with 16,000 residential units in the city, it is impossible to have a deputy to patrol each one.
"We need all of you residents at home to watch out for each other a report any suspicious activity that you see," she said. "With all of us watching out for each other, we can make a difference and we can make the city safer."
The launch of the Report for Reward followed the Diamond Bar City Council's approval Oct. 1 of the program, which offers tipsters a reward of up to $500 for those who provide information that leads to the arrest of a suspect who damages property during the commission of a burglary.
Assistant City Manager David Doyle said in a statement last month that the
program will help reinforce the effort of city staff, Sheriff's
deputies, and community members in working to deter criminals coming to
“The intent of this new program is to encourage everyone – whether they live here, work here, or are just visiting – to lend their eyes and instinct to our shared goal of keeping burglars out of our city,” Doyle said.
“Our hope is that the financial incentive gives individuals that extra push to be actively vigilant of their surroundings and immediately report suspicious activities to the Sheriff’s station,” he added.The program is open to all but city and sheriff's employees are not eligible for a reward.
City staff and deputies, hoping to encourage greater participation, met with employees of the U.S. Postal Service who serve Diamond Bar and the city's contract street sweeping company in late November to outline the program and giving them tips on how to spot suspicious activity while out working.
Meetings with other city vendors and service providers are planned.
Community groups interested in a presentation on the program may call City Hall at 909-839-7000.
Residents may call the Sheriff's Station at 909-595-2264 to report suspicious activity. If a burglary is in progress, call 9-1-1.
Visit the city's website for more information about the Report for Reward Program.