Burien Police Sgt. Henry McLauchlan presents tips at a neighborhood crime prevention meeting.
Me! Me! Please pick me for crime prevention tips
The late Seattle Times humor writer Steve Johnston once wrote about attending a parents’ night at his kid’s school with his wife.
Recalling his own school days, Johnston slumped in a chair in the back of the classroom.
Not his wife. She headed front and center, right next to the teacher.
The teacher began, “Before we get started, I have a couple of hand-outs. I wonder if I could get some help passing them out?”
Mrs. Johnston’s hand shot up.
“Me! Me! Please, Ms. Hansen. Pick Me!” Johnston quoted his wife as imploring.
My wife is kind of like Mrs. Johnston.
So that is how Marge and I came to be the new coordinators of our Burien neighborhood’s crime block watch.
My mother was a 40-year PTA member so I really had to admire the techniques the neighbors used to get me to volunteer to join Marge.
They had me at, “Eric, you can be the ‘Captain’ and we’ll be your ‘lieutenants.’”
A sudden up tick in neighborhood crime caused me to quickly call Burien Police Sgt. Henry McLauchlan to give some crime prevention tips at a hastily called block watch meeting.
Despite the short notice, he came over, even though it was his wife’s birthday.
“I’m in so much trouble,” Sgt. McLauchlan confided.
Crime isn’t funny. We all want to hang on to our stuff. So Sgt. McLauchlan’s tips are important for all of us. (I clarified a couple of them:)
1. Look at your house like a bad guy would. That means placing outdoor lighting and motion sensors in dark burglar-friendly areas like the side and back.
2. Rip those scrawny screws out of your deadbolt locks and replace them with ones that are at least 3 inches long.
3. Cut at least the lower branches of vegetation around your doors and windows so the neighbors can see the burglar’s legs.
4. The best part of your alarm system is the sign out in your yard.
5. If somebody knocks on your door and asks, “Is this Bill’s house?” or offers to mow your lawn but doesn’t have a lawnmower, consider calling 911. (Don’t call if your husband’s name is Bill.)
6. If somebody knocks on your door, answer it. You can answer from a safe window or just let them know someone is home. If you don’t, they may break in, figuring the house is empty.
7. Not only put a piece of wood in a sliding glass door’s groove but make sure the glass can’t be lifted out. After all, that’s how it was installed.
8. Crime spikes in the summer. Opportunistic kids on summer break join the addicts who need drug money.
9. Lock your bedroom door at night, in addition to outside doors and windows. (Let your husband in unless he’s supposed to be sleeping on the couch.)
10. When you get out of the car at the mall, look around to see if anyone is looking back. If you feel funny, move your car or call 911.
11. Share your work schedule or when you’re on vacation with a few trusted neighbors.
12. The most effective crime prevention tool is a neighborhood block watch. It means not only having your eyes and ears on your house, but also the neighbors’.
If these tips have helped you, then the mission of Capt. Eric and Sarge Marge has been successful.