Archive for Our Neighborhood

Suspicious Individual Pounding on Door Last Night

UPDATE: The man was found by Sheriff’s deputies and arrested, presumably for suspicion of disorderly conduct, or something similar.

Last night, one of our neighbors had an odd encounter with an unknown man.  About midnight, they heard someone pounding on their front door and ringing the doorbell.  The man outside was shouting and crying, then sitting on the front porch crying and talking to himself.  The homeowner called 911.  When the man heard the homeowners’ dog barking, he got agitated again and started yelling asking who was in there and to let him in, while still sobbing.  By the time Sheriff’s deputies arrived, the man had left their home.  The deputies told the homeowner they would drive around the neighborhood and see if they could find him.  It is unknown whether deputies found the man, or whether he disturbed any other homes in our area.

From this, I have two reminders for my fellow homeowners:

First, calling 911 is absolutely the right thing to do in this situation.  For all you know, the man could be drunk, or under the influence of drugs, and he could be armed.  The right thing to do here is to stay in your home, ensure your doors and windows are locked, and wait for law enforcement to arrive.  It takes several minutes for police to arrive, so if a person’s actions begin to cross the line into attempting to forcefully enter your home you’re in a dangerous situation that may warrant defensive actions on your part.  Only you can decide when that line has been crossed, and what actions you should take.  Consult a lawyer about the legal nuances surrounding self defense.

Second, do not open your door to anyone you don’t know.  Sometimes the situation seems harmless enough.  Maybe it’s raining and cold, and a teenage girl is outside without a coat, crying.  And maybe she’s got two friends hiding around the corner, ready to rush at you the moment they hear the door open.  There are too many stories out there of people opening the door to strangers, only to have those strangers invade the home.  Every situation is different, so I can’t recommend you talk to the person through your closed door to figure out what’s going on, but in some situations, that may be helpful.  Use your best judgment, and trust your instincts.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

There are urban legends/hoaxes about people using recordings of a crying baby to get homeowners to open their door.  There aren’t any confirmed cases of this actually happening, but it’s useful as a reminder to stay alert, and stay safe.  Our homes all have peep-holes installed in our front doors.  Use them!  Don’t open the door for anyone you don’t know.  And when I say anyone, I mean ANYONE, including police.  In Tucson, AZ, two men dressed as police officers invaded a home when the homeowner opened the door to them! [link]  If you didn’t call the police, it is entirely appropriate to ask for the officers’ names and badge numbers and then call 911 to verify the officers are legit, before speaking with them further.  If they’re legit, they’ll understand your hesitation.  If they’re not, you may have just saved your life.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I recommend you replace the screws in your door hinges and strike plates with 3″ or longer screws.  Long enough to penetrate through the door jamb, into the stud behind it.  Here’s a link with other home security tips that are easy to do with just a little bit of know-how.

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Be On The Lookout For These Burglars

Property crime detectives are looking for the burglars depicted in the attached composite sketches.

The first composite (#0284) is a burglar who on 7/19, about noon, forced his way into an occupied residence on Serene Way in Lynnwood.  Two residents confronted him and he quickly ran out from the rear patio door.  The witnesses said he had a full right arm sleeve tattoo that was of unknown design but blue in color.  He had slight acne on his upper facial cheeks and a several days growth of whiskers.  Additionally, his upper front tooth was crooked. He was wearing a blue/white baseball style cap, white (crew neck) tee shirt and blue jeans.

The other two (#0285 and #0286) composites are a male and female residential burglary team.  The male breaks into the rear of the residence while the female driver remains inside the suspect vehicle (silver, late 90’s Mitsubishi Eclipse) that is parked in the victim’s driveway.  The latest burglary by this duo occurred on 7/20 at about 5:45 p.m. in a multi-apartment complex located on Admiralty Way in Lynnwood.

If you see any of these suspects, IMMEDIATELY call 911!  Don’t attempt to confront or detain them.  Observe from a safe distance and be a good witness.  If possible, write down information such as license plate numbers or other identifying vehicle marks, decals, etc.  Notice what they are wearing at the time. If they leave the area, make note of their direction of travel.

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Package Theft

A package was stolen from the doorstep of one of our neighbors, last friday, between 2 and 3:30 pm. Anyone who may have seen the thief should contact the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office by dialing 911 and informing the operator that you are not reporting an emergency, but have information about a recent theft.

To reduce the risk of theft, try to use the US Postal Service for shipping packages, since USPS can use the locking compartments in our communal mailboxes for many items. Also, check with the shipper to see if you can have your item shipped with a signature requirement.

Obviously, there’s a downside in that most of us work, make signing for a package delivered during the day…problematic.

Other options are to consider a PO Box. There are also businesses that will accept packages (and sign for them) for a small fee, generally payable on pickup.

We shouldn’t have to take these kinds of measures, but unfortunately, this is the world we live in.

Be safe.

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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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