Edmonds police advise public: Vigilance is your best protection against crime

Assistant Chief Jim Lawless stressed that the number-one strategy to prevent crime is vigilance.
Assistant Chief Jim Lawless stressed that the number-one strategy to prevent crime is vigilance.

At a Thursday evening public meeting on crime prevention hosted by the Edmonds Police Department, Assistant Chief Jim Lawless and Detectives Brian McIntyre and Stacie Trykar provided an array of tips and strategies to help you avoid being a victim of crime. Approximately 30 citizens attended.

Detective McIntyre specializes in burglary investigations. He stressed that contrary to the opinion of many, most burglaries are crimes of opportunity and are not planned out in advance. “People often ask themselves ‘why did they pick my house?’ The reality is that in most cases there is no prior planning,” he said.

Burglars are typically looking for money to purchase drugs, spend less than five minutes inside a home, and leave with items easily carried in a backpack such as jewelry and laptop computers. “A typical burglar will look at your laptop computer, see 80 dollars, and extrapolate that to whatever quantity of drugs that will purchase,” McIntyre said.

In a typical sequence of events, a burglar will knock on your door. If you don’t answer, he or she will assume no one is home. The burglar then breaks in by kicking in the door, breaking a window, or some other quick entry method; ransacks your master bedroom and within five minutes walks down the street with your jewelry and computer in a backpack.

Detective Trykar specializes in fraud and identity theft. “These criminals want your bank and credit card information,” she said, “and the fastest and best way to get it is by stealing your mail.” Your mail contains a treasure trove of information from bank account numbers to credit card solicitations.

“Your first line of defense should be a locking mailbox,” she advises. “And when you’re sending mail out that contains checks, bill payments or credit card information, don’t ever leave it in your mailbox with the flag up. Take it to the post office.”

Approximately 30 citizens attended the June 20 public meeting on crime prevention hosted by the Edmonds Police Department.  Here Detective Brian McIntyre talks about burglaries and how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Detective Brian McIntyre talks about burglaries and how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

During their presentations Trykar and McIntyre provided numerous other tips and suggestions about how to reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim. But Assistant Chief Lawless summed it up when he stressed that the most effective thing we can do is stay vigilant.

“Be watchful for anything that seems out of place,” he said. “Know your neighbors. If you see someone or something suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911. Note the clothing, and other identifying characteristics of strange or suspicious persons. If someone knocks at your door at random, if you see someone you don’t know taking mail, if you see any suspicious activity at all, call 911.

“Remember: vigilance is by far the best crime prevention technique in the book.”

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

 

 

 

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