Preventing residential burglaries requires just a few smart steps
By Jennifer Danner
Seattle Police Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator
As the weather continues to warm up- we often see an increase in residential burglaries- frequently with an entry point of an opened window or door. Below you will find some helpful tips related to preventing residential burglaries- including shed and garage burglaries, as well as some information about Block Watch!
Please keep in mind that I do offer free safety/security assessments- and if you are interested in this- you can contact me directly (you will find my contact information at the bottom of this page).
What is burglary? How is it different from theft?
-Burglary is defined by the Seattle Police Department as: when someone enters physical property (including a garage or shed), not his or her own, without permission, with the intent to commit a crime
-Theft is defined as: whenever property is taken
For law enforcement, there is a difference between burglary and theft and when you report a crime to 9-1-1 the language you use makes a difference! The Seattle Police Department distinguishes between two types of burglary- residential and non-residential. Residential burglary refers to the theft occurring in a dwelling, other than a vehicle (such as a private home or apartment) and non-residential burglary refers to the theft occurring in a commercial or non-residential building (such as a grocery store or clothing store).
How can we prevent burglary?
-All exterior doors should be strong enough to withstand force and should be secured with a deadbolt lock that has a minimum one-inch throw
-All windows and doors should be shut and locked (especially at night)
-Try not to leave valuables (such as packages, electronics or cash) in plain sight through windows or doors
-The main entrance door to a home/apartment should have a door wide-angle (180 degree) viewer/peephole
-Make the home/business appear as if there is someone there by leaving lights, music and/or televisions on
-Install lights to be specifically directed and focused on entry points and vulnerable areas
-Secure and lock all windows and doors when leaving the premises- even if you plan to return within a short amount of time!
-Do not leave a spare key out
-Secure and maintain yard, patios and outdoor spaces- making sure you trim back all concealing shrubbery
-Check to ensure all garages and sheds are consistently locked with a sturdy lock
-Take inventory lists and photos of belongings to ensure you know if something is missing
-Check sheds and garages regularly in order to report a burglary as quickly as possible
Another very important prevention technique for residential property crime is getting to know your neighbors and starting a Block Watch. Block Watch is one of the most effective crime prevention tools. Block Watch brings residents and law enforcement together to improve safety and prevent crime. Safety improves when neighbors watch out for each other by reporting suspicious activity and in progress crimes to 9-1-1. Crime prevention occurs when the opportunity for crime is removed and neighbors work together towards a safer neighborhood. If you are interested in setting up a Block Watch for your area, have questions and/or would like to learn more about this program- please feel free to contact me.
Below you will find my contact information, including email address and phone numbers. Keep an eye out for my newsletter next month, which will again focus on a specific crime/safety issue and include important prevention techniques. Below you will also find upcoming event in the SW Precinct in the next month, as well as other resources- such as the Seattle Police non-emergency phone number, the link for our online-reporting system and the link for how to ‘thank an SPD employee’.
Contact me with questions, concerns, to request my presence at a future meeting, to discuss Block Watch, to request a free safety/security assessment of your home or business and/or if you are interested in free firearm cable locks.
Email address: Jennifer.Danner@seattle.gov
Desk phone number: (206) 256-6820
Work cell phone number: (206) 471-2849
Upcoming events in SW Precinct-
- National Night Out Against Crime
- Tuesday August 7th, various locations
- SW Precinct Picnic
- Saturday August 11th, 11am- 3pm, Delridge Community Center (4501 Delridge Way SW)
- Seattle Police Department Non-Emergency Phone Number: (206) 625-5011
- Seattle Police Department’s Website: http://www.seattle.gov/police/
- Seattle Police Department’s Online Crime Reporting: https://www.seattle.gov/police/need-help/online-reporting
- Seattle Police Department’s ‘Thank An Employee’: https://www.seattle.gov/police/about-us/contact-us/thank-an-employee
- Contact information for other SPD Crime Prevention Coordinators: