Editor's Note: The following is a public service announcement from the Kirkland Police Department, which has been dealing with a spike in car prowl thefts recently, as reported in Kirkland Patch here and here.
The Kirkland Police Department reminds Kirkland citizens and visitors that car prowls – theft of property from vehicles - increases in most areas of the city during the holiday season. Beginning in October and through November the Police Department has seen a significant increase in car prowls than what is typically reported in the late summer and early fall.
In 2012, the Juanita Neighborhood, south Kirkland along Lake Washington Blvd., and the downtown residential areas have seen the most increases in car prowls. However, these thefts are occurring citywide as well as in neighboring cities. Several arrests of active car prowlers have been made and one arrest was the direct result of a Kirkland citizen calling 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity near vehicles. If you see any suspicious activity, trust your instinct and report it to the Police Department by calling 9-1-1.
What you can do to prevent car prowls
There are several ways that you can help prevent becoming a victim of car theft:
- Park your vehicle in a well lit area whenever possible.
- Lock your vehicle whenever and wherever you park it.
- Leave no items of any value in plain view to someone looking in your windows such as your purse, wallet, checkbook, cell phone, laptop or tablet computers. Personal information can be obtained from these items and devices and you could become a victim of identity theft.
- Other items such as GPS, holiday gifts, backpacks and duffel bags should be hidden from plain view. **Never leave a Firearm in your vehicle, hidden from view or not.
- If you have to leave items in your vehicle, lock them in your trunk and out of view.
What to do if you’re a victim of a car prowl
If your car is prowled, whether it is locked or unlocked, call 9-1-1. Do not touch anything, as sometimes fingerprints can be recovered. If you are a victim of Identify Theft as a result of a car prowl, visit the KPD website for resource information at www.kirklandwa.gov/police.
What the Kirkland Police Department is doing
The Kirkland Police Department is conducting the following public education and enforcement activities:
- Increased patrols in all neighborhoods and especially where these crimes occur more frequently.
- Use of patrol officers in un-marked vehicles to spot thefts and suspicious activity.
- Attend neighborhood meetings to raise awareness about car prowls and other crime trends.
- Work with citizens and business owners as partners to educate and help prevent car prowls.
Contact Neighborhood Resource Officer Audra Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-587-3451 for crime prevention information.