More words for the wise
Summer is the season when we generally remind our readers to be vigilant and lessen their chances of becoming the victim of criminals. The warmer weather usually leads to a spike in certain kinds of crime, yet every year around this time we start hearing stories of people doing things that in hindsight are downright foolhardy. Like leaving a ladder lying next to the house with an upstairs window open. Or working in the side yard with the front door ajar. Oversights such as these are less likely to occur if you take the time to think about the ways you and your property may be vulnerable.
A springtime rash of relatively petty burglaries and several car thefts got the attention of residents in our part of the neighborhood a couple of months ago. This spike in crime prompted Adele and Dan Clancy to contact the SPD and arrange for an evening meeting in their living room for neighbors to meet with some of the officers who patrol Madison Park.
Here are some worthwhile tips that came out of that session, as reported by the Clancys:
- If you are going away from your property, set up light timers to go off and on throughout the house at all hours during the night, not just between dusk and bedtime.
- If your car is on the street all the time, buy a steering wheel club, just to be safe. Never leave things in your car that might provoke interest and result in a break in. Never leave valuables overnight in the glove box or trunk. (An aside: Subarus are the cars most likely to be stolen right now.)
- A barking dog in your house is the Number One deterrent to a burglar.
- If you see someone suspicious in a vehicle, it’s ok to take a picture of the vehicle license plates, but do not attempt to photograph the individual. (Your phone could be later confiscated and used for evidence.)
- When you are home alone, never open the door for a stranger. Yell through the door (you do not need to be seen) announcing that “we” are all busy and don’t have time. Make it very clear you have another person in the house with you, even if you are alone.
- Always call the police when you have a concern or see something suspicious. Never assume another neighbor is going to make the call. If you call with a concern and it matches up with another, then it gets quick attention. Your calls keep the SPD attentive to our area and help keep our neighborhood safe.
- Be aware of elderly and shut-in neighbors and their families. Keep track of who is coming and going. (There was recently a serious case of elder abuse in Madison Park. Neighbors, in that case, believed that an elderly resident was being cared for by hired caregivers, though some people entering the man’s home were actually “stealing the house clean.”)
The Seattle Police Department is ready and willing to schedule other living-room conversations for those interested in learning more about how to fight crime. To encourage these meetings, the police provide the food, beverages, crime-fighting flyers--and themselves. The Clancys report that the meeting with the police at their house was very useful for those who attended. The contact for this area is Officer Sina Ebinger at SPD's East Precinct (941-8457).