Monday, February 13, 2012

SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY- Burglary Prevention Meeting

On February 7, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office hosted a meeting on burglary prevention at Mariner High School. Three property crime detectives talked to about 90 people. They covered the extend of the burglary problem in south Snohomish County, a typical profile of how burglars currently operate and suggestions on how to protect your home and neighborhood from burglars.

The South Precinct is placing a priority on burglary. The Sheriff’s Office personnel view burglary as the most harmful crime to the most people. Burglary not only presents a loss to property it also presents a risk to homeowners as witnessed in the two shootings of suspected burglars since the first of the year.

Burglary Trends- During the first half of 2011 burglaries were down compared to previous years. However, starting in August, the Sheriff’s Office noted an increase in burglaries for South County.

Statistics show that most reports of burglaries in progress occur between 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday.

Most burglars, whom the Sheriff’s Office knows about, work from Everett to Shoreline. More prolific burglars may do three to five burglaries a day. A good burglar can get in and out of a house in a matter of minutes.

What burglars look for when they enter a house often changes over time. Currently, hot items for burglars are jewelry, gold, silver dollars, etc. These items are often difficult to identify as belonging to any one person and can easily be melted down by a buyer.

Preventing Burglaries- Burglars look for houses that they think will give them the best opportunity for a nice haul with as little risk as possible of getting caught. So, they work during the daytime hours during the work week when most people are at work. They also avoid neighborhoods that they think are “hot.” That is if they think a neighborhood watches for suspicious activity and they see cops in the area, they stay away.

So the best thing that you can do to prevent crime is to “make your place less of an opportunity…” for the burglars.

The detectives mentioned several times the importance of forming neighborhood watches. They want you to observe your neighborhood and share information about suspicious activity with the Sheriff’s Office and your neighbors. Many times “suspicious” is best defined by you. You should be familiar enough with your neighborhood to know who or what is out of place. The detectives suggested that a person with a bulging pillow case or dragging a suitcase behind them walking down the street might be suspicious. 

Take steps to make your home unattractive to burglars. You can use this checklist to help you decide what needs to be done:

Keep your valuable jewelry (and other valuables that can include cash, guns, important documents that have account numbers, Social Security Numbers, etc.) in a big, heavy safe that you have bolted to the floor. This way, burglars will have difficulty breaking in and carrying the safe away to a place where they can take the time to open it. Also, check with your insurance agent that your insurance covers expensive jewelry, guns, expensive cameras, and other valuables.

Doors are not the only way that burglars enter a home. They do smash windows and sliding glass doors. Apply a safety and security film to your windows and doors with glass to prevent burglars from entering your house. This 3M promotional web page shows you how protective film works:

If you discover that your home has been burglarized- Victims of burglary frequently discover that they have been victimized after they arrive home from work in the late afternoon or early evening.

If you discover that your home has been burglarized:

  • Call 911. Describe what happened and ask for contact with a deputy.
  • Bring out your household inventory (that listing with the serial numbers, descriptions, and photos that you prepared a few months ago) to give to the deputy.
  • Check your home for what was stolen.
  • Don’t touch anything!!!!! Blood, cigarettes, finger prints, muddy foot prints, etc.  can be evidence. When the deputy arrives (and it could take a while depending on the number of calls that are ahead of you) he or she can determine if any of this kind of evidence would be helpful in an investigation.
If you come home and the door is ajar or you think a stranger is in your home:

  • Don’t go in! Stay outside!
  • Call 911 immediately. This will become a priority call.
  • Don’t confront the burglar. Burglars do not want to be caught. They can hurt you trying to get away.
Sometimes people come home from vacation or business trips to discover that they have been burglarized. In this case, it may be more difficult to determine when the burglary happened. And it may be more difficult to determine who did the burglary. “Burglaries in progress” receive higher priority because there is a better chance to catch the burglar in the act and the danger of harm to the victim is higher. But, you should still call 911.

If “the scene” is “too cold” it may be low on the priority list. The Sheriff’s Office may send you a mail in report. Sheriff’s Office personnel do review these reports for information that can help them catch burglars. Fill it out and return it! Include as much detail as possible about your stolen possessions such as serial numbers, descriptions photos, etc.; the kind of information that you gathered in your inventory. And include possessions that you may not care about recovering along with those that you might want returned. A good description of anything that was stolen from you can help detectives catch a burglar.

You can also make an online report at:

If you lost less than $1,499.99 you can click on “File an Online Crime Report.”

If you lost between $1,500 and $5,000 click on “Fill out the Community Based Report and mail in.”

If your loss is over $5,000 call 911 and ask to talk to a deputy.

If you are home and you hear an unexpected knock at the door- This is often a quandary for citizens. Do you go to the door or do you run and hide? Burglars often will go to a target house and knock on the door to see if someone answers. If someone does answer, they will make up a story (some better than others) that they are selling something, or they are looking for someone, or they need some sort of help. If no one answers, then they will try to kick in the front door or they will go to the back of house and break a window or enter through the sliding glass door. If you want to maximize your safety in this situation:

  • Look through your peephole to see who it is.
  • If you don’t recognize them, yell through the door that you are not interested. If the person outside refuses to leave or gets surly, tell them to leave and that you are calling 911.
  • Noisy alarms usually cause burglars to leave. If the person on the other side continues to not leave, press the panic button on your car’s key fob. That makes the horn or other alarm sound from your car. That should convince the person to leave. It also helps alert any neighbors who may be around that you need help.
  • Call 911 and report what happened. A good description of the suspicious person on the other side of the door can be very helpful to deputies.

By taking some simple prevention measures, being alert to suspicious activity and reporting it to 911 and reporting crime when it happens, we, the citizens, and the Sheriff’s Office should be able to reduce burglaries in our community.


1 comment:

  1. Hmm, personally, I see the peephole as an intangible for every door. With this you get a chance to look outside without having to put your safety in danger. Well, it's a good thing that the sheriff's office has called a meeting for this, so that it can be addressed ASAP. How's the situation there as of now?

    [Fernando Severns]