However late it arrived on the Kitsap peninsula this year, summer appears to have brought with it an unfortunate trend: more home burglaries.
I’d been suspicious that our area was seeing an uptick in break-ins, but was confirmed by data from the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and hearing the stories of some unfortunate victims.
Tiffany Bridgeford’s home on Central Valley Road was hit May 3. The thieves took jewelry, electronics and other items. Also scary: her dog was home — she has no idea how they evaded the animal — and that they were in and out in just 45 minutes, she said.
The sheriff’s deputies who investigated told her burglaries were on the up, said Bridgeford, who sadly has been a burglary victim three times in nine years here.
Her neighbors, it would turn out, also had their home broken into last Saturday. The thieves took valuables, but — and this is the weird part — they also drank Coca Cola out of their refrigerator and smoked a cigarette in the residence.
“They felt that comfortable in our house,” said Alena Menefee Dashiell, you lives on Central Valley with her boyfriend Richard Hemingway.
The high water mark for break-ins was in August, with 81 around the unincorporated parts of the county, according to Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson. Overall, here are the monthly totals: Jan.: 51, Feb.: 26, March: 48, April: 49, May: 67, June: 52, July: 71, Aug.: 81, Sept. (through its first third): 35.
Both Menefee Dashiell and Bridgeford are looking at ways to better safeguard their homes.
Here at the Kitsap Crime and Justice blog, we’ve offered tips before. While these are a rehash, they still are the best ways to keep burglars out:
When attempting to protect against burglaries … Wilson says its best to provide “defense in depth.”
“The key thing here is lock your doors and windows,” Wilson said. “Lock your cars. Better yet — lock your cars in your garage and lock them.”
Wilson said even if you go on vacation and lock all the doors, there are many other things you can do to help prevent theft, such as:
* Know your neighbors: Get to know the people around you so that when suspicious cars or people are in the neighborhood, you know who to look for — and who’s watching your back.
* Get an alarm: If you’re one of those people in Kitsap or North Mason’s more rural areas where neighbors can’t help scan for burglars, get a computer to help you do it.
* Have good visibility around the home: Keep trees and landscaping thin so burglars can’t scope your home without seeing them. Keep outside areas lit at night to help you do so as well.
Oh, and don’t forget to report any suspicious activity to 911. And, you can always start a neighborhood block watch. For more information, call Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Community Resource Officer Schon Montague at (360) 692-7746.