Photo by Jerry Gay
SeaTac Police Officer Rich Rowe uses lipstick to demonstrate how to tell if a deadbolt lock is installed correctly. Officer Rowe recommends placing lipstick on the end of the deadbolt and locking the door. If you can see lipstick at the end of the doorjamb hole when you open the lock, the hole is not deep enough. Watching the demonstration are Angle Lake resident Clyde “Fuzz” Hill, left, as well as SeaTac City Council members Terry Anderson and Pam Fernald.

Tricks of the trade in preventing crime

The biggest deterrent to neighborhood crime is residents keeping a watch and calling police if they see something that doesn’t look right.

That’s what SeaTac Police Officer Rich Rowe advised at a recent meeting of Angle Lake residents concerned about increasing crime in their neighborhood.

He highly recommended that people get to know their neighbors and find out when they are at work or on vacation.

Rowe said just waving at people in the neighborhood helps. If criminals, they will get nervous about the attention and leave the neighborhood, he noted.

Asked about home alarm systems, Rowe, SeaTac’s crime prevention officer, said they can be effective but must be loud enough for neighbors to hear them and hidden where burglars cannot quickly disable them.

He isn’t as high on video cameras.

If offered as evidence in court, Rowe said criminals “know the photo will be so grainy, you can’t tell who it is. If you can’t identify them they don’t see it as a real deterrent.”

Video cameras have to cost around $5,000 before they are sophisticated enough to clearly identify people, he said.

Rowe urged residents “to look at your house like a burglar would.”

Look at probable entry points such as the front door, windows or sliding glass doors and determine if bushes or trees are hiding the entrances from being seen by neighbors. Also, check out lighting, Rowe advised.

“(Burglars) won’t back up a U-Haul to your house and take everything,” Rowe said. “They’ll just grab and go.”

Most likely they will immediately head for the bedroom or office where they know electronics and other valuables are, Rowe noted.

First, they will knock on your door to see if you’re home. If you answer they will make up a story and leave, he said.

Even if you don’t want to answer the door, you should give some indication you are home so they don’t break in, according to Rowe.

Residents should put identifying numbers on their valuable items and keep photos and serial numbers of them, he said.

While there are fewer vehicle prowls in residential neighborhoods than at the International Boulevard hotels, Rowe advised residents to not leave GPS systems or other valuables in their cars. If they own a commonly-stolen car model, Rowe suggested installation of a steering wheel locking device like the Club.

Here is a list of Washington’s most stolen vehicles, according to NICB's 2011 statistics:
1. 1992 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1995 Acura Integra
4. 1990 Toyota Camry
5. 1996 Subaru Legacy
6. 1992 Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size)
7. 1994 Nissan Sentra
8. 1995 Saturn SI
9. 1991 Chevrolet Pick-Up (Small Size)
10. 2003 Toyota Corolla

Rowe reported postal inspectors are overwhelmed by the epidemic of mail theft. He said everyone should use locking mailboxes and take outgoing mail to the post office.

The crime prevention officer also assured residents his statistics do not indicate a recent uptick in crime in the Angle Lake neighborhood.

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