Friday, November 15, 2013

WILLIS TUCKER PARK- Community Meeting with Sheriff’s Office

On Wednesday, November 13, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office met with about 86 citizens from The Falls, Gold Creek, Silver Firs as well as Pioneer Trails and Autumn Meadows. Representing the Sheriff’s Office were Lt. Rob Palmer, Commander of the South Precinct, Sgt. Jim Upton, Property Crimes Detective for the South Precinct and Ann Gifford, Director of Community Partnerships. During the meeting, the Sheriff’s Office representatives discussed recent burglaries and car prowls/car thefts and methods that citizens can employ to prevent these crimes.
During the month of October, the Sheriff’s Office saw a spike in burglaries, car prowls and car thefts in the areas of The Falls, Gold Creek, Silver Firs as well as Pioneer Trails and Autumn Meadows.

Sheriff's Office deputies apprehended and jailed a suspect who was associated with a red 2 door Mazda. This suspect made bail and has returned to his home in Snohomish County. While the name of the suspect was not released, the Sheriff’s representatives did note that any citizen can see who is in jail on the jail’s web site ( The suspect is known to knock on front doors. If no one answers, he will go to the back of the target house and break a window or sliding glass door to gain entry.

This led to a discussion about what to do if someone knocks on the front door or rings the doorbell. Knocking on the front door is a common tactic by local burglars. Understanding this often makes some people hesitant to answer the door. If you don’t answer the door, you expect to be protected from any potential assault. However, if you don’t answer the door and the burglar breaks it down, you have a potentially dangerous situation. Most burglars are risk adverse. That is why they knock on the door. They don’t want to be seen or confronted. If someone answers the door, they just move on to another house. But, if you fear for your safety, you do not have to open the door. You can talk to whoever is outside through the closed door. Be assertive. Tell them your “not interested” in whatever the say they are selling. Or just tell them to go away. Indicate that someone is there with you. Or bring your cell phone or mobile phone to the door and tell them you are calling 911. Then call 911 and report the incident.

Someone asked if burglar alarms were worthwhile. Burglar alarms do have their place. First of all, a sign posted in front of your house of a legitimate, well known burglar alarm company will deter most burglars. They see the sign and move on to another house without an alarm sign. If the burglar doesn’t see your sign or ignores it, on entry, the loud piercing siren will quickly drive most burglars out of your house. Some burglars, however, have been known to do a “dash and dive” where on entry with the burglar alarm siren going off, they will grab anything within sight of the door or window that they entered. Often, that can be a laptop or tablet computer, purses, or other small electronics or potentially valuable items. So, it might be a good idea, that when you leave your house, to remove from your front door area or rear door or sliding glass door area anything of value that could be grabbed quickly even if the siren goes off.

Someone else asked if “home invasion” robberies were a big problem. According to both Lt. Palmer and Sgt. Upton, there have not been any home invasion robberies in South County for several months. They also pointed out, that home invasions are not a problem for the average citizen. In most cases, home invasions involve people who know each other- the perpetrator knows the victim. For example, a drug dealer might have a beef with one of his “customers” or with another drug dealer. Or someone knows of a marijuana grow, or a stash of other illegal drug and decides to robbed the owner of those drugs.

Lt. Palmer highly recommended investing in a good safe. You do not have to spend a lot of money to have an effective safe. But you need a place where you can lock up important documents such as your passports, IRS tax returns (that have your Social Security Numbers), little used credit cards, and other documents that can an ID thief could use. Also, your valuable jewelry and guns should be stored in your safe. The safe should be bolted to the floor or secured to the wall.

Documents that can help in ID theft are as highly prized as electronics or jewelry. Anything with an account number can be useful for the burglar. One trick, involves your checkbook. If they find it, they might take a check from the middle so that you don’t notice it missing right away.

Sgt. Upton also emphasized keeping an inventory of your valuables. Take pictures from several sides of each item, including serial numbers if available. Include a list with a description, of each item. Save this information on to your computer or laptop. But also save a copy to a thumb drive or CD and place that in your safe and someplace off site such as your safety deposit box or with your insurance agent. For more information go to:

As far as car prowls, Sgt. Upton repeated what I have said many times. Don’t have anything showing in your car. When you park your car at home, remove everything in your car, including your garage remote, and bring it into your house. When you park in a parking lot, place anything in your car in your trunk, glove box or console before you arrive at the parking space.

Regarding car thefts, the key is to lock your doors! Also, do not run your car’s engine unattended. During the winter months, some car owners will run the car engine to warm up the car then go back into their house to get ready for the day. Doing so gives a great opportunity for a car thief to steal the car. Many people in Snohomish County lose their cars to thieves in this manner.

Always be on the alert for suspicious activity. Keep a notebook handy to jot down descriptions and times and places. Call 911 when you see suspicious activity. Don’t worry about bothering the Sheriff’s Office or 911. Also, if you are in the habit of taking a walk, take your notebook with you along with your cell phone. Be alert to your surroundings. If you see a crime in progress or suspicious activity call 911 and report it. And if possible, discretely take pictures.

Lt. Palmer pointed out that suspicious can be viewed with two questions as you are observing your surroundings. What is happening that is unusual? What is usual that hasn’t been happening?

Here are some resources for more information about crime prevention:

Burglary Prevention:


Car Prowl/Car Theft Prevention:


Calling 911:


For more information on other crime prevention topics, go to:




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