The is reminding residents to keep their homes and valuables secure after a spike in residential burglaries in January and February.
There were approximately 26 burglaries reported in the city during the first two months of 2012, compared to an average of seven burglaries per month in 2011, according to a community email written by Jim Bove, the police department's community outreach facilitator and public information officer.
Of that total, about half the homes were burglarized through a smashed window, damaged door, or some other form of forced entry, Bove said. In the remaining cases, thieves entered the home through an unlocked door or window.
Car prowls also continue to be a common occurrence in Redmond, with 62 vehicles prowled or having parts stolen during January and February—at least 25 of which happened after the vehicles were left unsecured. The monthly average for 2011 was 43.
Although the spike in burglaries does not necessarily represent an ongoing increase (20 years ago, the monthly average for residential burglaries was 27), Bove said it's important for residents to practice good prevention tactics.
"It’s not uncommon for spikes to occur throughout a year, but it’s always important to practice good safety precautions," he wrote in the email. "Many of these could have been avoided, and on a handful of occasions these crimes weren’t reported immediately when we may have had a possibility of catching the 'bad guys.'”
Bove offered the following tips (edited for length):
- If you are a victim of a crime, avoid touching anything (windows, doors, belongings inside of car/home) and call 911 immediately…even if nothing is stolen. We may be able to gather some sort of evidence.
- If you see suspicious activity, please call 911—we’d much rather come out and it be nothing than to have missed catching someone. On a few occasions we’ve had this happen—people don’t trust their “gut” and don’t call us only to regret it later. Try to get a good description of a car, license plate, direction of travel, what they are wearing, etc.
- Lock all doors and windows to your house and your vehicle—remember the side entrances, garage doors, back doors, screen doors, sliding doors (did I miss any?), etc.
- Remove valuables from your car, even if inside a garage—these have been targeted in a few of the above mentioned burglaries.
- If someone knocks on your door—communicate in some fashion with them so they know you are there. Talk through the door if you don’t know them—ask who it is, what they want, tell them you aren’t interested, etc. Not communicating leads them to believe nobody is home, which (if a burglar) will likely lead them to trying to enter which puts you in danger.
- Never get involved if you see something going on—observe and report. Getting involved puts you in danger and also wastes time when you could be calling 911 and having us on our way.
- If you haven’t already done so, be sure to record information from all your valuables including serial numbers, make, model, etc. For jewelry—take pictures of the jewelry or of you wearing it. This allows us to link stolen property to specific burglaries and its rightful owner. Follow the Neighborhood Watch link below to find a brochure called “Operation Identification” that gives you a form to use.
- Know your neighbors; know who belongs and who doesn’t. Neighborhood Watch is a perfect opportunity to promote communication, organization, and education when it comes to crime prevention and safety. We have over 50 within the city and some have been directly responsible for helping us make an arrest of prowlers and burglars.