Are crime rates higher than usual? Nervous Neighbors Share Stories of Break-Ins
Have you heard your neighbors or friends speak of recent break-ins of their homes or cars? Have you been the victim of a recent crime?
The word on the street is people feel that crime is on the rise. When a crime happens to a friend or neighbor, it tends to focus one's attention. In the past three weeks alone, we have had discussions with a dozen friends, all with stories of break-ins of homes and cars. Anecdotal this is, yet it is alarming nonetheless.
Stories of these incidents are popping up all over social media and between nervous neighbors.
The truth on crime comes from the Kirkland Police Department and is available online. Want the real facts? Visit the local crime maps and statistics available on The city's Community Crime Map.
We do not know if crime is up in our area, but we do know people are talking about it more. And when we discuss crime, it is always good to be armed with crime prevention tips to help keep the bad guys away from you and your family. Make sure you are not an easy target.
As always, if you see a crime or something suspicious, call 911. Here are some crime prevention measures suggested by the KPD:
Home Burglary Prevention Tips:
- Don't make your home appear to be easily accessible. If it looks difficult to enter, is difficult to enter, and is well-maintained, chances are they will try somewhere else.
- Place sufficient lighting in the front/back of your home and garage.
- Use deadbolt locks as secondary locks on all doors. Ensure you have 2 1/2 - 3" screws in the door frame strike plate to reinforce deadbolt security.
- Fortify your windows and sliding glass doors with secondary locks or dowels that fit securely in windows. Dowels can be made of wood, PVC pipe or metal. Secure your garage doors with a padlock or a sliding/cane bolt. Lock the door that leads into the house from the garage.
- Develop rapport with neighbors. You are more apt to look out for each others' homes & property if you know each other.
- Trim all landscaping below windows to avoid concealment areas.
- Make sure your address is visible from the street so emergency personnel can quickly respond with ease.
- Don't let mail or newspapers pile up. It is a telltale sign that you are gone. Arrange for a friend or neighbor to collect these items in your absence.
- Get a dog. Dogs are a good deterrent to burglars.
Tips to Help Avoid Identity Theft:
- Shred financial documents, paperwork and mail containing any personal information.
- Protect your Social Security number. Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
- If being asked for your Social Security number to verify your identity, ask if you can provide a different form of identification.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home.
- Carry only identification information and credit cards you'll need when you go out.
- Never give out personal information over the phone, through mail, or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact.
- Don't use obvious passwords (for example: date of birth, mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number) and never carry them with you.
- When ordering new checks, pick them up from the bank instead of having them mailed.
- Get a secured mailbox. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes only. Have your mail held if you're planning to be away from home for an extended period of time.
- Always check your monthly financial statements carefully against your receipts.
- Regularly check your credit reports (free once a year!) Equifax at 800-525-6285, Experian at 888-397-3742, and TransUnion at 800-680-7289.
- Never enter your credit or debit card number through a website unless it offers a secure transaction. (A secure transaction will have a "padlock" icon at the bottom strip of the web page. Also, the URL address will change from "http" to "https" on the page where you input personal data.)
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mails. Use updated firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer.
Tips to Avoid Having Your Vehicle Prowled:
- Lock all vehicle doors and secure windows and convertible or soft tops, even at home, in your own garage, and even if you're only going to be gone for a few minutes.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle (including: cell phones, MP3 players, purses, radios, GPS units, garage door openers, cameras, chargers and other accessories, clothes, bags, paperwork, etc.)
- Park in well-lighted areas.
- Trust your instincts! If you hear something suspicious (glass shattering, for example) or see someone looking in multiple vehicles, call 911 immediately. You are the eyes and ears of the Police.
- Have an alarm installed and place a sticker on your window indicating your vehicle is protected.
- Avoid parking next to trucks, SUVs, vehicles with tinted windows, or anything that can serve as a shield for thieves. The more open space and light you have, the better.
Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Robbery:
- Be aware of your surroundings and conscientious of who is nearby.
- Plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
- Walk with a purpose; project an assertive business-like image and make eye contact with people. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
- Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
- If you use bank machines (ATM’s) choose one located in a well-lit, busy spot like inside a grocery store. Put your card and cash away before leaving the machine.
- If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk in the opposite direction to a safe and populated location.
- Pay attention to the uncomfortable gut feelings that often warn us of potential danger.
- Don't be afraid to cross the street, return to a business, or ask for help based on a "funny feeling".
- If a robber grabs your bag, do not play tug of war. If you hang on, chances are you will be knocked down, hit or kicked, and the robber will get your bag anyway.
- If someone demands your property and displays or implies in any way that they have a weapon, hand the bag or wallet to them.
Tips to Avoid Having Your Business Robbed:
- Have at least two employees open and close the business. Businesses are vulnerable during opening and closing because there are fewer employees and customers around, and cash is often handled at these times.
- Maintain as little cash as possible and make frequent and varied bank deposits. Post signs stating there is limited cash on the property.
- Leave cash registers empty and open after hours.
- Place a surveillance camera behind the cash register facing the front counter.
- Arrange advertisements, flyers, displays, signs, posters or other displays in such a way that they do not obstruct the view of the register from inside or outside your business. The police patrolling your store need to see in.
- Stay alert! Be aware of who is in your business and where they are. Watch for people who loiter without buying anything. Also, be cognizant of suspicious activity outside your place of business. Write down license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles.
- Greet customers as they enter your business. Look them in the eye and ask them if they need help. Your attention will discourage a robber as they don’t like to be noticed or have personal interactions.
- Adequately light the interior and all exterior sides of your business.
- Cooperate with the robber for your own safety and the safety of others. Comply with a robber's demands while remaining calm and thinking clearly. Make mental notes of the robber's physical description and other observations important to law enforcement officers.
Tips to Avoid Assault and Increase Your Personal Safety:
- Reduce or eliminate opportunities: avoid distractions like cell phones, head phones and music players. Avoid over burdening yourself with multiple bags and heavy parcels.
- Increase your awareness: When walking use well lit and well-populated areas, when approaching your car make sure no one is hiding in or around your vehicle and when parking your vehicle always park in well-lit areas.
- Trust your instincts.
- Be prepared. Think, don’t panic. There is no single action to take if you are attacked. Your best defense is to be prepared and know your options and capabilities.
- Do whatever it takes to survive. Remember, you are the victim. You have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about.
Tips for Vandalism/Graffiti Prevention:
- Keep up the neighborhood. Make every effort to keep the appearance of a neighborhood clean and neat. Remove litter and trash, fix broken fences, trim landscape, and ensure all lighting is working properly.
- Remove graffiti promptly. Rapid removal of graffiti is an effective prevention tool.
- Encourage citizen reporting.
- Employ graffiti resistant surfaces such as: Graffiti resistant materials or coatings, textured surfaces, and dark-colored or colorful surfaces.
- Change the environment (some examples are landscaping, install lighting, use fences and limit access).
Bicycle Theft Prevention Tips:
- A thief can steal your unsecured bicycle in seconds. Follow the prevention tips to protect your bike
- When purchasing a bike, keep the receipt and take a clear photo of the bike. Keep the photo and receipt in a safe place.
- Record the make, model, and serial number of the bike. The serial number is usually located on the rear wheel or beneath the bottom bracket where the pedals attach. Keep this information in a safe place with your color photo.
- Lock-up your bicycle. Use a case-hardened "U" lock or hardened steel chain and padlock, and attach your bike securely to a sturdy fixed object.
- Remember to also lock parts attached with quick-release mechanisms.
- Lock your bike in an area that is well lit and can be seen by passing pedestrians and motorists.
- To prevent the theft of accessories, such as lights and bags, they should be detached and taken with you when the bicycle is left unattended.
- Don't leave your bike unattended in your yard- even for a second.
- Don't hide your bike in the bushes- thieves know where to look.