Archive for General Information

Burglary; Package Theft

From the South SnoCo Crime Watch Hot Sheet:

On December 5, a homeowner, in the 1500 block of 81st Pl SE (North of the Everett Mall), arrived home in the afternoon and noticed that a light she had turned off in the morning was turned on. The homeowner contacted a neighbor for help. They checked the exterior of the house and did not see any signs of forced entry. The neighbor called 911.

Everett Police Department officers arrived at the house. After making announcements for anyone inside to come out, they searched the residence. They found a male hiding in an upstairs bedroom. He told the officers that a female, who he claimed was still in the house, let him in. Officers with a K-9 searched the house again, but found no one else in the house. The male was arrested and booked into the Snohomish County jail for burglary.

Note: It can be unnerving to think that a stranger is in your own home. This homeowner did take the right actions to handle this situation. When she discovered that something was not right in her home, she did not enter the home. She protected her own safety by staying out of the house. Then, she contacted a neighbor for help. They checked things out to gather more information without endangering themselves. Then they called for police to handle the heavy work of searching inside the house. For police and hopefully for the homeowner, this was a good day. No one was hurt, even the suspect, and the police apprehended a suspect in the act and chauffeured him to the “gray bar hotel.”

This is a great example of what to do when something isn’t right.  Don’t put yourself at risk.  If your instincts tell you something is wrong, trust them.  It’s better to call police, and have it turn out to be nothing, than to ignore your instincts, enter the house, and potentially get attacked.  Our instincts are the result of a long history of self-preservation – trust them!

Also from the South SnoCo Crime Watch Hot Sheet:

While I have not heard of reports of package theft so far during this holiday season in South Snohomish County, the following two items show that it is going on in our region:

  • According to the Seattle Police Blotter, on December 7, a white Toyota van was associated with four suspects stealing packages from front porches in West Seattle. One victim called 911 at around 11:43am, to report that a male suspect had just stolen a package from her front porch and entered a white Toyota van. Later in the day, around 3:30pm, another homeowner reported a package stolen from their front porch. This time a female suspect was seen stealing the package and getting into a white Toyota van. Minutes after the second report, an officer spotted the suspect vehicle. Four suspects, 3 males and 1 female were arrested. SPD Blotter- http://spdblotter.seattle.gov/2012/12/07/four-grinches-who-tried-to-steal-christmas-dont-make-it-far/
  • KING 5 TV reported that a package thief took Christmas gifts that had been left at a Renton home by Federal Express and left empty boxes in their place. The homeowner reviewed video from the cameras in the front of her house and called 911. The video revealed a white SUV backed up to the front of the house with the driver’s side door open. A male, wearing blue jeans, a blue coat and and hat, made his way around the back of the SUV. Renton police are looking for this suspect. KING 5 TV- http://www.king5.com/news/cities/renton/Thief-steals-Christmas-gifts-replaced-with-empty-boxes-182824741.html

Note: To prevent delivered packages from being stolen, try these actions:

  • Have the package delivered to a trusted neighbor who is usually at home or have them pick up the package as soon as it is delivered from your house.
  • Have the package placed on your back porch by the delivery driver.
  • If possible, have the package delivered to your work.
  • Encourage your neighbors to watch for suspicious people in your neighborhood and to watch for vehicles that seem to be following a UPS, FEDEX, or postal vehicle. If they see anything suspicious have them call 911.
  • Track your package delivery online. This way you will know when your package was delivered

To add to the list of suggestions, if possible, contact the shipper when placing your order and ask them to ship your order with signature required.Your Board of Directors works hard to make our neighborhood as safe as possible.  Here are some of the details:

  • A security patrol company will begin serving the neighborhood soon, which should help deter crime in our community.  (This is part of what drove the $2 increase in your monthly assessments for 2013)
  • We recently had a heavy duty fence installed to close off the path through the trees in the northeast corner of the development, where we have seen empty shipping boxes, presumably the result of package theft.
  • We are working with the county to clear brush and repair fencing along the interurban trail, another common access point into our neighborhood

No measure makes a neighborhood completely secure however, and the best way to prevent crime continues to be for each homeowner to remain vigilant.  If you see suspicious activity, dial 911 and inform the operator on the other end that you have a non-emergency, and are reporting suspicious activity.  They will route your call appropriately.  If you see a crime in progress, dial 911 immediately – this IS an emergency – especially if life or property are at risk.  Make some simple modifications to your home to make it more secure.  If we all make ourselves less appealing targets, then our neighborhood as a whole becomes a less appealing target, and criminals will simply move somewhere else, leaving us alone.Be safe, folks.

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And we’re back!

After a long summer absence, here I am again, with the most recent newsletter from the SnoCo Sheriff’s Office.  This issue focuses on bullying.

Newsletter-September October 2012

Remember, the Association’s monthly board meeting is this Thursday, 10/18, at 6:30 in the Mariner High School library.

Hope to see you there!

 

Next week: Tips for security and safety as we head into the winter months.

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Burglary Prevention Resource Fair

The Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with other south county police departments, is holding a Burglary Prevention Resource Fair:

Saturday, May 5th
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Meadowdale High School
6002 168th Street SW
Lynnwood

There will be a wide variety of vendors displaying their products and services (locks, alarms, camera systems, home inventory, etc.).  There will also be property crime detectives on hand to discuss burglary prevention and answer your questions.

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Update from SCSO

I received this update from the SCSO yesterday, along with the Jan/Feb Newsletter.

Reminder: The SCSO is hosting a meeting tomorrow night, 2/7 @ 6:30 in the Mariner High School theater to discuss the recent rise in burglary in South Snohomish County.  I’ll post a write-up afterward for those that are unable to attend.

Greetings to our partners in crime prevention,

Burglaries are up in some areas of the county, so now is a good time to review burglary prevention basics with your Neighborhood Watch groups:

  • Are your exterior doors and windows well secured?
  • Is the exterior of your home well lit, and are trees and shrubs trimmed, so that burglars have nowhere to hide?
  • Have you considered installing a good, loud alarm system in your home?  Many are now available at a very reasonable price.
  • Have you made a complete inventory of your belongings, including photos and serial numbers, and stored it in a safe place?
  • Are you keeping an eye on your neighborhood and calling 9-1-1 if you see something suspicious?

Attached is the latest edition of our Partners in Crime Prevention newsletter.   You’ll find many good tips to get you thinking about ways to make your home a harder target for burglars.  You can also visit the Sheriff’s website at http://sheriff.snoco.org for crime prevention tip sheets and archived editions of our newsletter.  Feel free to print and share any information you find useful.

As always, thanks go to long-time Neighborhood Watch captain Steve Moller for writing this newsletter; it wouldn’t get done without him!

Newsletter-January-February 2012

Ann Gifford
Director of Community Partnerships
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
Integrity – Dignity – Commitment – Pride
425-388-5264

Be safe,

The Crossing @ North Creek Neighborhood Watch

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The Most Vulnerable Point in Your Home

On Thursday night, 1/26, a home in the northeast section of our neighborhood was broken into while the homeowners slept.  The entry point was the sliding glass door.

We all lock our deadbolts at night (I hope), and many of us lock our garage doors.  But how many of us have thought about entry via our sliding glass doors?

Sliding glass doors are typically found on the rear of homes, and this provides an excellent entry point for criminals for two key reasons:

  1. Stealth – Once a burglar is in your backyard, the likelihood of them being seen drops dramatically.
  2. Sliding glass doors were not designed to be secure.

To address #1, consider leaving your back light on.  Unfortunately, our houses are so close together that if you have a light bulb that does even a halfway decent job of lighting up your back yard, then you’re also doing a decent job of lighting up your neighbors’ houses, which can be an annoyance for them at night.  Consider replacing your back yard light fixture with one that allows you to direct the light to the yard, rather than in all directions.  If you’re going to change light fixtures, you might as well get one with a motion sensor.  Many models are available, including ones that are off entirely until motion is detected, and those that are on a dim setting, then increase in intensity with motion.  Be advised that changing an exterior light fixture does require an Architectural Change Request form.  I’m working with the Board of Directors to obtain broad pre-approval for exterior light fixtures that meet certain criteria, and will post more information here as that plan comes together.

You might also consider installing low voltage lighting in your back yard.  This lighting adds security, looks nice, and many systems use less power than your average motion detector flood lights.  There are even systems that are charged up by solar energy during the day, then run all night, with no wiring needed.  Solar powered landscape lighting generally doesn’t provide enough light to be useful for identifying people, but may still have a benefit as a deterrent.

You should also consider making it more difficult to access your back yard.  Consider putting a lock on your gate.  There are many inexpensive options available that still offer a good level of security.  I recommend a combination lock, so there is no key to lose.  I also recommend you make sure the lock is rated for outdoor use.  You may want to use a lock with a longer shackle (the metal loop that goes through the holes in the gate latch, so that the lock hangs down nicely, but most of these are keyed locks.  Ultimately it comes down to personal preference.  If a criminal wants in that badly, they’ll just jump the fence, so you don’t need a high security, pry-resistant, cut-resistant lock.  I bought a 4-number combination lock that offers the ability to set my own combination, and the lock itself has a vinyl coating around it to prevent corrosion.  I want to say it was under $10.  $10 to secure the “walls of your castle”?  I’d say it’s worth it.

To address #2, sliding glass doors are insecure by design, but thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to improve the security of this point of entry.  Ever wonder what that little plastic clip in the door track is?  I hope you didn’t remove it, because that’s the only thing that prevents someone with a suction cup from lifting the door up in the track, then pivoting the bottom of the door out of the track (thing along the same lines as hanging a closet door), then removing it completely, granting them access to your home.  If you did remove it, fear not; it’s as easy as driving a screw up into the door frame, leaving enough of the screw exposed so that the door just barely clears underneath it.  This will prevent someone from lifting the door out of the track.

Now let’s deal with the latch.  The latches on sliding glass doors are hardly what I would call “secure.”  They’re relatively easy to manipulate from outside.  Thankfully, the solution here is just as simple.  A 4-foot section of wooden dowel can be bought for about $5 (Lowe’s and Home Depot carry this, as well as Fred Meyer, by the paint counter).  Cut the dowel to length (mine was 33″ or so), and place the dowel in the track.  Make sure to cut the dowel just a bit short, so you can easily place it in the track.  If the fit is too tight, it may be difficult to get the dowel in or out, and in the event of a fire, that could spell disaster.  I left about a half-inch gap between the door and the dowel, and it seems to work well.

If you’re put off by the notion of having to move the dowel every time you want to open the door, make it easier for yourself by eliminating the need to bend down.  Drill a hole through the dowel across its width, and attach a length of string between it and a hook you mount on the wall; one of those 3M command strip hooks would probably fit within the door frame itself, concealing the string from view, for those concerned about aesthetics.  For those with little ones, where lengths of string might not be a good thing to have laying around, consider a short length of string making a small loop (perhaps 2 inches across) and attach one of those sticks that you commonly see on horizontal blinds to adjust the angle.  Get creative here to find a solution that works for you.

There are also commercially available products, usually made out of aluminum, that usually mount part-way up the door.  Asking at a hardware store for an aluminum sliding glass door security bar should get you pointed in the right direction.

Lastly, being a large window, sliding glass doors are both vulnerable to, and appealing to criminals to just break the glass.  Federal law requires glass within 18″ of doors or floors to be tempered, which strengthens the glass somewhat, but it’s main purpose is to cause the glass to shatter into small chunks when broken, rather that large, jagged shards, reducing the chance of injury.  To increase your sliding glass door’d resistance to shattering, consider having a security film over the glass that will help prevent impacts from breaching the window.  (http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Window_Film/Solutions/Markets-Products/Residential/Safety-Security_Window_Films/)

The reality is that no home can ever be 100% secure.  The key is to make it difficult enough to enter your home that a burglar will decide it’s just not worth the effort.

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Three Men Casing the Neighborhood

Three men in a rather run down vehicle were seen this afternoon looping through the neighborhood in what appeared to be an operation to identify homes vulnerable to burglarization. Most burglaries occur during the day, when fewer homes are occupied.

Here are some steps you can take to make your home a less attractive target for burglars and more secure if a break-in is attempted:

  • Install a security system
  • Keep plants groomed so that they don’t provide hiding spots
  • Have lights (interior and exterior) on a timer
  • Leave the TV on or set your TV to come on partway through the day.
  • Replace the screws in your exterior door hinges and strike plates with 3″ screws, going all the way into the studs. This will make your door much harder to kick in.
  • Install a door bar on your sliding glass doors and windows. Wooden dowels or 1×2 lumber can serve this purpose and are inexpensive. Aluminum fixtures are also commercially available.
  • Pay special attention to the windows and doors opening onto your back yard, and consider putting a lock on your gate.
  • Try to limit the valuables that are visible through windows, but avoid closing all your blinds if possible (criminals know that blinds work both ways – if everyone’s blinds are closed, no one in their houses can see people breaking into their neighbors’ houses)

There is no non-emergency line for reporting suspicious activity. The instructions given by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are to call 9-1-1 to report any suspicious activity. Inform the dispatcher that your call is not an emergency (unless a crime is actually in progress) and that you want to report suspicious activity. Try to give a clear description of any persons or vehicles involved in the suspicious activity. An officer may not respond, but information such as suspicious activity reports are part of what drives the deployment strategy of the Sheriff’s deputies. If suspicious activity is on the rise, deployments may be adjusted to give us more coverage.  There is no harm in reporting suspicious activity, but there could be harm in not reporting it.

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Delivered Package Theft

As you’d expect this time of year, it’s common for thieves to swing through a neighborhood looking for packages on front porches.  Our neighborhood is no exception.  A lot of traffic passes through our neighborhood, going to or from the neighborhood behind us, or people looking to shortcut the interurban trail.  As a result, it’s important to be vigilant.

Keep your eyes out for people removing packages from doorsteps if they don’t then go into the house, and report any suspicious activity to the police by dialing 9-1-1.  If possible, take a photo of the activity, but if that’s not possible, try to give a physical description of the person, and any vehicle they may use.  In any case, do not put yourself at risk.  The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office does not recommend that you intervene.  It’s entirely possible that the thief is armed, and you shouldn’t risk your life over your neighbor’s new Kindle.

More information here: http://ssnoccrimewatch.blogspot.com/2011/12/puget-sound-holiday-package-theft.html

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