Residential break-ins are up significantly from last year in both the city and unincorporated Woodinville.
The city had 12 residential burglaries in January and February this year, compared to three last year, according to Chief Sydney Jackson. In unincorporated Woodinville there were 26 burglaries in the same time period, according to Sgt. Cindi West, public information officer for King County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s also interesting to note that of the 26 residential burglaries, 10 were non-forced (that’s 38% of the residential burglaries),” West wrote in an email to Woodinville Patch. Meaning people are fogetting to lock thier doors.
King County Sheriff’s Office does not have crime report information for specific neighborhoods in Woodinville. In the Sheriff’s reporting system there are three patrolling districts that include portions of Hollywood Hill and Cottage Lake as well as portions of other neighborhoods. Here is the breakdown of those patrol districts:
- B6 District: Snohomish County on the north; 170th Avenue Northeast jogging over to the Woodinville-Redmond Road on the west; Northeast 155th Street on the south; and Avondale up to Paradise Lake Road on the east.
- B7 District: Northeast 155th on the north; Woodinville-Redmond Road on the east; Northeast 116th on the south; and the Avondale on the east.
- B8 District: Snohomish County on the north; Paradise Lake Road down along the Avondale on the west; Novelty Hill Road on the south; West Snoqualmie Valley Road on the east.
People have reported recent break-ins in the Hollywood Hill area that illustrates the increase in burglaries since the beginning of the year. One woman came home to find a man sitting on her couch and all their stuff piled by the front door awaiting pick-up (she was grabbed but managed to get away). Another house was burgled while the owner’s college-aged son was home sick and asleep upstairs, according to reports from the Hollywood Hill Homeowners Association.
One of the best deterrents to home break-ins is for neighbors to report to the police whenever there are suspicious cars or people lurking around. What constitutes suspicious behavior? Anything that feels out of the ordinary to the neighborhood.
Some potential burglars are posing as sales people offering landscape or maid services, or selling meat, to see if someone is at home.
“If someone answers then they will make up some reason why they are there,” said West. If no one answers they will go around to the back of the house and break in.”
There is no need to approach a person who is acting suspicious, Jackson added. If they are in a car, take down the license number, if on foot, jot down a description and the direction they are headed.
“When you see something, call 911, it’s not a big deal for us to come out, it’s really best to call,” said Jackson.
There are steps homeowners can take to deter break-ins but they can’t stop every burglary. “It is important to know that if someone really wants to get in your house they probably can unless you have fortified your house with bars etc,” said West. “The goal is to make you house unattractive to burglars so they don’t choose your house as a target.
Here are some tips from both Jackson and West (edited for length) to help deter break-ins:
- Keep bushes and trees that obstruct the street view of windows and doors should be removed or trimmed back. If windows and doors are blocked by bushes it makes it easy for a burglar to be concealed while breaking in.
- Consider installing exterior lighting for your house. Motion sensors are a good way to go because you will not be using much energy since they will only turn on when movement is detected. You can also install lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and turns off at dawn.
- If you are out of town have someone pick up your mail and papers. Having a stack of newspapers in the driveway is a good indication that you are out of town, which is an attraction for burglars. Woodinville Police will patrol your street if you notify them you’ll be out of town.
- Lock all doors and window when you leave. Even if you only plan to be gone for a short time.
- When you are not home try to make it appear as though someone may be home. Keep a radio on in the house and have exterior lights turn on at dusk.
Finally, one of the most important things you can do is talk with your neighbors, according to West.
“Many neighborhoods have people that work from home or are retired,” she said. “If you will be out of town you can talk with the neighbor and let them know if you expect anyone at your house while you are gone. They can be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood and should call when they see anything suspicious.”
Editor's Note: Previous versions of this story erroneously said King County Sheriffs will patrol your street when you are out of town, only Woodinville Police are ablt to offer that service. The story has been corrected.