Residential burglaries can increase in summer, when warm weather compels people to leave doors and windows open. Almost half of the residential burglaries in Shoreline are non-forced entry—which means a burglar has taken advantage of an unlocked or open access point. Burglars look for easy targets. Security measures can make your home look less inviting and encourage the burglar to look elsewhere for an easier target.
You and your neighbors can work together towards reducing the number of burglaries by taking these basic security measures:
Keep first floor windows, doors and your garage shut.
Don't leave anything outside the house that burglars could use to climb to an open second level door or window.
When on vacation, ask a trusted neighbor to help keep an eye on your home or sign up for a vacation house check with Shoreline Police.
Install Good Locks and Lock Them
Crime prevention experts recommend using a single cylinder deadbolt lock. Be sure locks are firmly screwed into solid wood, not just into a light door jamb. The longer the screws and the longer the lock bolts, the safer your home will be. (The screws which come in many packages are too short for good security.)
Install a wide-angle peephole in your front door. This allows you to see outside without opening your door. Such viewers are inexpensive and easy to install. They are much better than chain latches, which are easy to force loose.
For windows and sliding glass doors, ensure they have an anti-slide device or snug-fitting dowel in the track. These are inexpensive and provide extra security.
The best lock in the world is worthless if it isn’t locked. Always lock up, even if you’re away from home for only minutes. Burglars have just walked in to homes and garages while the owner was mowing the lawn, visiting a neighbor or on a quick errand.
Be aware of your surroundings and call police if something is suspicious. Movement inside an empty home, strange cars, people loitering as if they’re a lookout, can all be signals that you need to call police. Be the best witness you can be. Don’t endanger yourself, but do try to safely get descriptions and license plate numbers. Neighbors can often be more adept than police at telling what doesn’t belong. Keep an eye on your neighbor’s homes and get them to do the same for you.
Don’t Open Your Door to Anyone Who Has No Business Inside
Burglars can try to find out if anyone’s home by knocking on the door. If you are home, police recommend you make this known by briefly talking to the person- with your door closed. Simply say “No thank you,” from behind a locked door.
Discuss safety with your family, especially children. Teach them not to automatically open the door or give out information by phone, especially about who is home, who is out and how long anyone is expected to be out. Practice by role-playing and emphasize safety (not fear).
Solicitors can be legitimate (you still don’t have to open your door). Shoreline Police and the City Clerk’s office maintain a list of registered solicitors on their webpage, “What You Should Know About Door-to-Door Solicitors”.
Don’t Reward the Burglar Who Does Get In
If, despite your precautions, a burglar does get into your home, don’t offer a “bonus” of cash or easily carried jewelry. Never keep large sums of cash around the house. Keep valuable jewelry that you don’t often use in a safety deposit box.
Use Operation ID and mark/inventory your valuables. Thieves don’t like to get stuck with marked property. An inventory of your property is also helpful for insurance purposes.
Install an audible alarm system from a reputable, established dealer. Alarms systems are often wireless and easy to use. It’s a good idea to have your alarm monitored so that police are called.
Block Watch is the most successful anticrime program in the country. It’s the most effective and least expensive tool to make sure we have the safe, pleasant environment we all want for our families. One major city started the Block Watch program more than 20 years ago. The police department kept track of crime in the neighborhoods the first year. Where there were Block Watch groups, residential crime dropped 40 percent.
Block Watch encourages neighbors to know one another and look out for each other. Reductions in crime result from neighbors reporting suspicious activity, crime and taking an active role in crime prevention efforts.
Shoreline Police community police officers can assist you with beginning a Block Watch in your neighborhood. We will educate about Operation ID, CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design), and discuss ways to deter other crime. Fight crime by getting organized and joining with your neighbors to form a Block Watch. Contact one of your Neighborhood Police Officers:
Officer Greg McKinney, 521 NE 165th St., Shoreline, WA 98155, (206) 363-8424 or,
Officer Leona Obstler, 624 NW Richmond Beach Rd., Shoreline, WA 98177, (206) 546-3636