Mercer Island Police are urging residents to take precautions amidst a wave of burglaries that are affecting the Eastside, according to a monthly MIPD crime prevention tip.
The Mercer Island Police Department said it investigated 40 burglaries that were reported throughout 2011, but by the end of July 2012, the MIPD had already investigated 48 reported burglaries for this year alone, and we still have 6 more months to go.
At a recent public appearance last month, MIPD Cmdr. Dave Jokinen told residents that Mercer Island was experiencing an "uptick" in burglaries, along with the rest of the Eastside. Over the past decade, the MIPD typically reports around 70 burglaries each year, and examined a high of 79 cases in 2008. But the numbers have dropped below that level since then (Mercer Island burglary cases in 2011 totaled 59, according to an annual statewide crime report).
According to the crime tip alert, Mercer Island residences are burglarized throughout the year by individuals who unlawfully enter your homes (day and night) and typically target the resident's most valuable belongings. Burglars are Mercer Island, but also come from surrounding areas to target your homes.
"Not only are we seeing an increase in burglaries, but we are also seeing an increase in daytime and interrupted burglaries," warns the crime prevention notice. "What that means is that burglars are now trying to break into your homes while you are inside your home with your families."
Mercer Island Police Ofc. Rob Jira and the MIPD have compiled the following crime prevention tips to help residents deter burglars from targeting your home, your family, and your personal possessions:
Inside your home:
- Keep your doors and windows locked and secured when you are at home or away.
- Always use/set your alarm. If your home is unlawfully entered while you are home or away, the police will be notified (but check with your security company on this process first). This will increase the chance that the burglar will immediately leave the residence after hearing the alarm, which increases the chance that your possessions and family will remain untouched and unharmed. This also increases the chance of the Police Department catching the person responsible for breaking into your home. Remember, burglars do not like to be seen.
Outside your home:
- Place motion detector lights around doors and windows to illuminate possible burglars during the night time hours. Place/mount these motion detector lights high enough up to where a burglar cannot reach up and disable the light. Always remember, burglars don’t want to be seen.
- Place high-resolution cameras in high spots overlooking doors, windows, and driveways.
- Place visible signs at your front door and at the entrance to your driveway that your residence is monitored by a security company or a security camera, as this in an inexpensive way to possibly deter a person looking to break into your house.
- Lock your car and set your car alarms. Don’t leave purses/GPS/wallets/keys in plain sight that would make you an easy target for a burglar/thief to look into your window and take your belongings. Don’t be lazy in protecting yourself. Park your vehicle in your garage, if you have one, and still remember to lock and secure your car.
Personal Information Protection:
- Use a mailbox with a locking mechanism to prevent thieves from stealing your mail and you becoming a victim of ID theft.
- Place sensitive information (Birth certificates, social security information, etc.) in a heavy locking safe hidden somewhere inside your home.
- Do not keep personal information/money/valuables in plain site (i.e. on tables or desks where someone can look into a window and be tempted to break in and take it).
- Record all serial numbers and descriptions for high-end electronics and merchandise (laptops, cameras, jewelry, etx.). These serial numbers may assist investigators in recovering your stolen items and catching the person(s) responsible for taking them.
- Back up your personal information.
- Keep an eye on your neighbor’s homes and belongings. If you see someone that looks out of place and is acting suspicious around your neighbor’s house, call the police department and immediately report the suspicious activity.
- Get to know your neighbors and exchange phone numbers with one another in case of an emergency.
- Get license plate numbers of suspicious cars and descriptions of suspicious cars/individuals.
Whether your home has been broken into, your personal information has been compromised, or your invaluable possessions have been stolen, it can leave you and your family living in fear and feeling helpless.
for more information on burglaries and how to guard against them, the Mercer Island Police Department has put together a Crime Prevention booklet to help citizens keep themselves safe from burglaries and many other types of crimes. Burglary prevention information can be found here (pages 4-8).
And as always … stay safe,
Mercer Island Police Department