Issaquah Police Department seeks residents’ help to curb burglaries
August 7, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Police increased patrols in Issaquah neighborhoods in recent weeks as officers work to curb residential burglaries, particularly daytime incidents.
The stepped-up patrols and public outreach campaign started last month, and officials credited the effort in a recent arrest connected to a string of burglaries.
Issaquah officers responded to 53 burglaries — 33 residential and 20 commercial — between January and July. In the same period last year, police responded to 47 burglaries — 30 commercial and 17 commercial.
Police responded to 107 burglaries overall in Issaquah last year and 101 burglaries in 2010, according to the annual Crime in Washington report compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs and the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.
The figures represent a sharp increase from 2009. Issaquah police responded to 51 burglaries then, according to the Crime in Washington report.
By the numbers
Thieves grabbed a bevy of items in burglaries, larcenies and other property crimes in Issaquah last year.
Total value of property stolen by type in dollars
Source: Crime in Washington 2011
“From 2010 to 2011, residential burglaries have actually gone up significantly, and even this year we’re on pace to go up again,” Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said in a recent interview.
Overall, crime declined in Issaquah last year, and although the rates of violent crimes and property crimes dropped, robberies and burglaries increased from 2010.
Police Chief Paul Ayers said the frequency of burglaries increased in the past several weeks. Police said many such incidents at homes occur during the day.
Often, the daytime burglaries start as somebody knocks on the front door and, if nobody answers, he or she heads to the side or back to enter through unlocked doors or windows. In some cases, burglars shattered windows or glass doors to gain entry.
Police said homeowners tend to leave doors and windows unlocked more frequently in the summer.
In a recent incident, police said neighbors watched a suspect break into a home and carry off items, but the neighbors did not call police because they did not know what to do.
Police said another burglary occurred after a witness noticed a woman standing in a neighbor’s backyard. The witness spoke to the woman, and she claimed to be looking for a nearby estate sale. The witness called police after the woman left, and officers determined the neighbor’s home had been burglarized.
“People saw the person and were suspicious of the person — and didn’t know what to do,” Ayers said. “Call us and give us information.”
Officers encouraged residents to report suspicious activity as a deterrent to crime.
“We’re out there doing increased patrols, but we need everyone else’s help to keep an eye on their neighbors, talk to their neighbors and call us. We want those phone calls,” Behrbaum said. “If someone is in your neighborhood, we want you to call us. We’d rather come and talk to that person and prevent a crime from happening.”