On Tuesday, the Kirkland Police Department held a Q&A session with concerned Norkirk and Market neighbors about crime in the city. Many stories of break-ins were shared and the officers had several messages to convey including:
1. Statistics show that crime today is in line with historical levels. Bad guys hit areas referred to by the police as "hot spots" and then move on to other areas. www.crimemapping.com is a good source for more information.
2. The police need your help. They need citizens to call 9-1-1 whenever there is suspicious activity. Currently, KPD is down ten officers due to retirements and such and they are actively hiring and training replacement officers.
3. Lock all doors and windows and leave nothing in your automobiles.
Following the meeting, we overheard discussion among neighbors looking for ways to be proactive and actually prevent crime in their neighborhoods. One idea was to hire private security temporarily to supplement the existing patrols. Another idea was the installation of public security cameras.
Both of these ideas have been seen in action nearby.
Private Security Patrols
Areas experiencing high-crime, such as Pioneer Square, have at times hired supplemental security to patrol the business district.
The City of Medina has installed warning signs and high resolution cameras at the entrances to the city. The signs state that upon entering the city, your vehicle will be video monitored.
Are these ideas applicable to Kirkland or to neighborhoods? Would they be effective? Would neighborhood watch programs be sufficient? The discussed measures may not be the solution but they are most certainly proactive measures, which seems to be the primary concern.
One thing is certain: Some Kirklanders are unwilling to merely play defense when it comes to protecting their families and property. They feel that the statistics do not show the real story and that crimes in their neighborhoods are far higher than what is officially reported.