Jerry Swanson

Property Crime

Jerry Swanson, SPD Public Information Assistant, 509.610.9451

Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at 12:17 p.m.

People looking to steal your belongings want easy, quick hit, covert targets. If you make your location more difficult to victimize, you’re much less likely to be a property crime victim. Corporal Nick Briggs with the Spokane Police Department has some tips.

Unattended items such as tools and bikes left outside present easy targets of opportunity. Make your residence less enticing by securing belongings.

A large number of burglaries and thefts occur when a door or window is unlocked. Make sure the door is locked behind you as you come and go, routinely check windows are locked, and consider using rods or other devices to keep windows from being slid open easily.

That fake rock sitting conspicuously alone on a porch, isn’t fooling anyone. Many people “hide” keys around their front door. Often these keys aren’t truly hidden. Consider combination locks but if you have little ones beware they are terrible at keeping secrets. Make sure they aren’t giving out the code!

Evaluate your home, especially at night. Are there areas that are overgrown, poorly lit, or otherwise inviting to someone hiding? Lighting and visibility are great deterrents to crime. Routine maintenance and strategically placed lighting can make a big difference.

Writing down serial numbers and taking pictures of valuable items is a great idea. That way in the event your property is stolen, you’ll have a better chance of getting it back.

On some homes, breaking the front door is fairly easy. One of the reasons is the screws from the locking mechanism don’t extend all the way into the door frame. Adding longer screws, or installing an after-market “door armor” product, can make breaking down the front door much more difficult.

Security cameras can provide both a crime deterrent and a resource in the event an incident happens. One tip: know how to access your camera footage. Officers often respond to an incident and locate cameras which would aid in the rapid resolution of an incident, only to have the camera owner be unable to access their footage. Practice accessing your system so you can do so easily.

Get to know your neighbors, perhaps the best resource is your neighbor. We can’t be home and vigilant all the time, but relying on our close community we can increase awareness. Talk to neighbors, communicate and report anything suspicious.

When you are lucky enough to get some time away, the last thing you want to come home and realize is that you’ve been the victim of a burglary or theft. Obviously unoccupied houses can be tempting to would-be thieves. Don’t let mail pile up or packages sit on your porch. Maintain some lighting, and in the winter make arrangement to have the driveway shoveled so it’s not obvious no one is home.

Spokane COPS is a terrific resource for safety steps you can take to minimize becoming a victim. The COPS organization, a non-profit group which works closely with local law enforcement, has 11 offices situated geographically around the city. Check out some of their capabilities, vacation home checks, on their website.

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