Jennifer's View: Residential Burglary can be prevented

By Jennifer Burbridge
Seattle Police SW Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator

This month’s crime prevention article will focus on a property crime that we often see an increase in around the summer months- residential burglary.

Burglary is defined by the Seattle Police Department as: when someone enters physical property, 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 or to a Seattle Police Officer, 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).

When it comes to helpful prevention techniques for residential burglary- there are a lot of important things to keep in mind. 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. 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 appear as if there is someone there by leaving lights, music and/or televisions on. Install motion sensor 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. Be consistent, and always stay vigilant and observant to what is going on around you.

Remember to always call 9-1-1 immediately to report suspicious behavior. If you see something- say something!

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.

Also please remember if you are interested in a free safety assessment of your home and/or business- feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.

Below you will find my contact information, including email and phone numbers. Keep an eye out for my article next month, which will again focus on a specific crime and include important prevention techniques and ideas. Please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns and/or to request my presence at a future meeting.

Email address:
Desk phone number: (206) 256-6820
Work cell phone number: (206) 471-2849

Upcoming events in SW Precinct-

Monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting
Tuesday June 20th, 7pm- 8:30pm, at SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster St.)
West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting
Tuesday June 27th, 6:30pm- 8:30pm, at SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster St.)

Other resources-
Seattle Police Department’s Website:
More information about home security and burglary prevention:
Seattle Police Department Non-Emergency Number: (206) 625-5011
Contact information for other SPD Crime Prevention Coordinators:
North Precinct- Mary Amberg-
East Precinct- Felicia Cross-
West Precinct- Terrie Johnston-
South Precinct- Mark Solomon-

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