Shoreline continues to be a safe place to live and work, with a crime rate that is lower than many of our comparable cities. Currently, the three most frequent crimes in Shoreline are all non-violent crimes against property: residential burglaries, car prowls and mail theft.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help prevent becoming a victim of these crimes.
Being a victim of a residential burglary can be very traumatic as it happens where we should feel safest –our homes. A large number of such burglaries could easily be avoided. Every month, Police see 30 to 50% of burglaries in Shoreline homes being non-forced entries where burglars enter homes via unlocked doors or windows. A simple sweep of your home before leaving to make sure all of your doors and windows are locked can go a long way in protecting your home from a burglar.
Other issues to consider were brought to our attention by the candid advice of a recently arrested burglary suspect, who admitted to committing numerous residential burglaries in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kirkland and unincorporated King County. When asked why each home he burglarized appealed to him, he replied with the following information:
Carports – If the suspect didn’t see a car in the carport he assumed no one was home
Doorbell or Knock – The suspect would almost always ring the doorbell or knock on the door. If someone answered, he would make up an excuse, such as he was looking for someone. If no one answered he would prowl the house looking for unlocked doors or windows. If he didn’t find an unlocked door or window he would force his way into the home.
Dogs – The suspect avoided houses with dogs.
Tall hedges and fences – The suspect targeted houses with tall hedges or fences as they afforded him privacy and more time to break in.
One of the best ways to protect against burglaries, aside from locking your doors and windows, is to watch for suspicious activity in your neighborhood and be a good neighbor.
The suspect discussed above was identified and arrested thanks to an alert neighbor who called 911 immediately upon seeing suspicious activity.
Another trend the Shoreline Police have seen is an increase in car prowls. Car prowls involve breaking into cars to steal items left inside. Locking your doors can go a long way in preventing this crime of opportunity. It is also important to not leave valuables in your car and especially not to leave valuables in plain view.
In addition to breaking into cars parked on the street or in a driveway, thieves have started targeting gym parking lots. Suspects enter gym locker rooms looking for unlocked lockers with car keys inside. They steal the keys and use the key fob to find and unlock the car and take items such as credit cards without owners noticing until it is too late. Lock your doors, do not leave valuables in your car and when keeping personal items in a gym locker, be sure to lock it.
Theft of mail from personal mailboxes continues to be a concern in Shoreline. Thieves take mail from mailboxes and easily alter checks and steal identities.
One of the best ways to protect against mail theft is to use the locked cluster mailbox units for several homes or a single residential locking mailbox. These are purchased through private companies and must be approved by the Post Office. The postmaster for Shoreline residents with 98177 or 98133 zip codes can be reached at (206) 364-0663. For residents with a 98155 zip code, call (206) 364-0656.
If you don’t have a locking mailbox, then collect your mail every day. One recent suspected mail thief was picked up at 2:30 am with a stack of stolen mail on the passenger seat. Luckily, an alert neighbor called 911 when she saw the suspect taking mail from several mailboxes. Do not leave mail in an unlocked mailbox overnight. If you leave town, even for a few days, stop the mail or have someone pick it up for you every day.
Protect yourself and your property
For more crime prevention tips regarding residential burglaries, car prowls, mail theft and other crimes, please visit the Police page.