UPDATE: Burien Police Chief Addresses Recent Burglary Increase

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We were first to report on the recent rash of burglaries in Burien’s Gregory Heights neighborhood (thanks to our initial report, most of the other “mainstream media” has picked this story up), and now we’re probably first to publish the following response from Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer:


This is a recap of what went out to the Burien Officers. We want to increase our visability and talk with residents as part of our prevention tactic. There is real value in the analysis to see if a pattern exists. We want to be effective with the time we can spend in these neighborhoods. I appreciate all the awareness this has created. We all need to watch out for our neighbors and the Burien Police will work as hard as we can to keep our neighborhoods safe.

Chief Kimerer

K. Scott Kimerer
Police Chief/City of Burien
(206) 296-3333 office

Here’s the email Chief Kimerer forwarded to us, which apparently went out to all Burien P.D. officers from Captain Carl Cole:


Over the last week we have received a number of complaints about a property crime wave hitting the Gregory Heights, Three Tree Point area.

Crime Analysis has not shown a significant increase or number of burglaries or other property crimes. We are working on figuring that out, in the mean time I am making this request:

  1. Please spend some time in these neighborhood on area checks, especially this weekend when many folks may be out of town.
  2. Log your time out on radio
  3. If you see folks out and about, please make contact and see if they are aware of any recent crimes that may not have been reported…if you do talk to anyone, please shoot me an email with the details even if they are unaware of anything

Thanks, and let me know if you have any questions. CCC

Captain Carl Cole
Burien Police Department
206/296-3341 (W)
206/423-2941 (C)

It’ll be interesting to see if this raised awareness has any effect on this recent crime wave.

As we were once told by a Public Information Officer:

“Crime is like a tube of toothpaste – if you squeeze it at one end, it just comes out on the other…”

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14 Responses to “UPDATE: Burien Police Chief Addresses Recent Burglary Increase”
  1. Christine says:

    What I want from my police force is for them to respond to home burglar alarms. I want to install one but as long as the police refuse to respond to them unless a rent a cop comes out first, there is simply no sense. By the time an alarm company’s security comes out to verify a problem and then calls in the police, the crooks will have had time to steal your stuff and pawn it too!

    I am willing to pay false alarm fees…even steep ones. I am outraged that the police not only won’t take calls from alarm companies but that I would get fined if I have an alarm unless I pay someone else to respond to the call.

    The concept of everyone carrying guns for protection scares the hell out of me…but people are getting desperate.

    Burien is going to be a pretty large city soon. Why can’t we have our own police department instead of renting one from King County and set it up to meet our needs including responding to home alarms?

    • Greg Duff says:

      Christine I realize that you are frustrated that the KCSO will not respond unless the call comes from your alarm company fter verification. This is a practical matter for any police department to implement as false alarms are costly not only in dollars but in man hours. I know you said you are willing to pay a huge fine for a false alarm but what about the times when the officer is responding to your false alarm instead of my family member being attacked. What good is your fine going to do then.
      As far as Burien getting their own police department, the KCSO is one of the finest police departments in the state. In an emergency situation, officers from other parts of King County will come to Burien to take care of problems. If Burien had their own force, not only would it cost more, but you would only have the officers on the Burien police force available and that is a whole lot less than the manpower of KCSO.

      • Christine says:

        Greg Duff,
        I lived in a very similar city for 12 years, College Park, Georgia. The police force did respond to alarms and quickly. They also did vacation home checks and pro-actively did license checks, closed streets, ran regular patrols through the streets of Historic College Park. There was a close alliance with the Historic College Park Neighborhood Association and our Police Chief and community officers were usually in attendance.

        This is what I would like to see for our city. I know it isn’t cheap but security is important and I don’t feel especially safe here. I love Burien but I feel like every time I go on vacation I worry about what I will come home to. When my husband has to travel, I can’t sleep.

        Alarms are a tool but one that does not work here. Burien is a wonderful community but I do not feel secure here at all. (and no I do not want to carry a gun or have anyone else do that either)

        • Stephen Lamphear says:

          Good thoughts, but I see nowhere that you are ready to lead a campaign to get the money to pay for more police. Comments to King County Council were not strong enough that electeds were willing to put their seats on the line for more taxes.

          And be very aware that a high police presence also can have negative consequences, like visitors wondering what’s so wrong here that we need all those police. Yes, certain places are perceived as safe — most are police states. North Korea is very safe — do we want that?

          The burglar is already gone when the alarm goes out. Talk to your insurance rep: Have good locks, use them, and keep your insurance up to date. Help form a Block Watch.

          • Coverofnight says:

            We become North Korea if we have more police presence? Oh please! A bit of a stretch, don’t you think? This woman has legitimate concerns about crime and you seem too quick to be dismissive about it. There’s nothing wrong with striving to be crime-free in an area, though in reality, that will probably never happen in this community. If she feels there’s a “crime wave”, let her shout it out – that she’s mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore! I don’t think it’s an irresponsible statement. There is a crime wave because these punks know that the courts won’t do anything to them if they get caught.

            Myself….I’d like to see everyone use the dog alarm system with firearm backup. Until then, we can all keep an eye out for your neighbors and I know they’ll do the same for you. I think that’s a higher priority than worrying about signs on utility poles – watch out garage sale people, Stephen knows your address!

      • Stephen Lamphear says:

        Federal Way learned how expensive it is to invent your own police force. There are cost savings in contracting w/King County including access to special services at no additional cost: SWAT unit, helicopter, crime lab, etc. Fracturing a service that works well would be a fiscal disaster.

        Here is some relevant info about College Park GA — According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report and the College Park police department, College Park had 13 homicides in 2008. College Park’s incident rate for violent crimes is much higher than most other US cities. In 2008 College Park had the highest crime rate in Georgia.

        My money police and security money — I don’t want to be like College Park.

  2. Michael says:

    Normandy Park has 12 police officers for a population of about 1/6th the size of Burien. Couldn’t find their crime stats, but I’m guessing they’re a lot lower than Burien’s. Would it make sense for the two cities who share so many commercial services to join forces and form a larger department to serve both? Maybe even add in DesMoines?

    We’ve had two break-ins – the last one it took 5 hours for the police to respond because according to the responding officer they were dealing with ” a major crime” in the northern part of the city. This would imply to me that a major crime (murder?) sucks up the entire force allocated to Burien.

    • Stephen Lamphear says:

      Of course, a residential community has lower crime than one with commercial activity. NP police spend their time giving citations for driving 27 miles an hour in their so special city.

      • You miss my point. A combined police force might serve the Highline area more efficiently. How often is a SWAT team necessary? Could King County not share those special services on as needed basis?

        Bottom line most criminals don’t know or care about city boundaries.

  3. Stephen Lamphear says:

    It is unfortunate that you call a spate of burglaries a “crime wave”. Unless you have responsible statistics to back up your words, it is an irresponsible statement that may be throwing fuel on a spark that creates serious police issues.

    Vigilantism is itself a “crime wave”. My experience in the utility industry says those signs attached to utility poles are there without permission of the pole owner — a violation of state law. Further, the wording of the signage looks like an incitement to violence. Inciting others to violence is not free speech protected by the First Amendment.

    The city police can help residence design an awareness program (Block Watch, etc.), make their properties less vulnerable (lights, locks, appearance of activity) that does not incite others to violence. Regardless of any possible harmless intent by the signage authors, there are always crazies out there looking for an excuse.

    Many of the comments on the KING TV website about this story include hateful, racist and other violent suggestions.

  4. Chris says:

    The great value in contracting with the KCSO, is that you get so much more for your money. All the special divisions within the sheriff’s office are made available to contract cities. There’s just too much economies of scale in contracting than there would be with our own municipal police department.

    Further, you can’t compare Burien to Normandy Park. Two completely different cities, in that Burien is much, much larger, and Normandy Park has very little commercial property. Normandy Park is largely a bedroom community.

    And, I believe the “12” cops that NP has, includes the chief and all the other supervisors. Also, I believe NP’s minimum staffing is ONE officer on-duty. However I know they usually have two or more during the day.

    Another strike against NP’s police force, is that their city leaders–in their infinite wisdom–essentially isolate themselves from the surrounding cities/areas, by not having their police units dispatched by a LOCAL 911 center. Normandy Park police is dispatched by the City of Fife. Yes, that’s right, FIFE!

    That means that the sharing of law enforcement resources across jurisdictional lines is slowed substantially, because the Fife dispatch center has to call for assistance from the KCSO and/or the Valley Communications Center (who dispatches for almost all of South King County). AND, NP Police units STILL don’t use radios that operate on the King County regional public safety radio system.

    So, that means when a NP unit needs help, it’s delayed, AND they have great difficulty communicating with outside agencies. Brilliant!

    So, I wouldn’t exactly use Normandy Park as an example of what a law enforcement agency should be.

  5. Christine says:

    Stephen…if your stats are correct, they either include a large portion of unincorporated areas not in the city limits of college park or things have changed for the worse since we moved five years ago. I don’t want to live in Georgia either…I love WA. The police department did a great job during the twelve years we lived there.

    I am upset that the city of Burien can decide not to respond to alarm systems. Alarm systems are tools that can help deter crime and enable a citizen to get help quickly if they are in trouble. False alarms are a problem and I am for charging homeowners for them. Fining me if I have an alarm without my own guard response is not acceptable though.

  6. Shari says:

    I have to say that I almost totally agree with Coverofnight. This whole situation is generating a lot of mixed feelings, partly because I’m the kid of a Marine sergeant and marksmanship expert and a lifelong ardent supporter of our military and law enforcement communities….but I’m really hoping we don’t have to resort to using our weapons to get rid of a chronic residential burglary problem. As a resident here, I really appreciated the signs telling me that something was going on. But a few of my neighbors are trying to sell their houses in the worst real estate market in forever, and I know how much those signs are driving potential buyers away. It seems like regardless of our specific feelings on all of this, there is clearly a widespread concern and frustration (and some justified fear). There’s also an obvious desire to separate fact from hearsay and to find out how we can protect ourselves while supporting–and being adequately supported by–law enforcement.

    I would like to see more law enforcement vehicles doing routine patrols in GH– we’ve lived here a long while and I’m home all day and look out on the road from where I work. I have seen them go by only twice …and one of those times was this past weekend after all this ruckus. I do see Burien Police vehicles all the time– but always heading north, away from GH. Not sure if they have the manpower to send more patrols thru here, but it would surely help calm some fears and help with that prevention vs. reaction piece.

    I won’t disagree with the quote about crime. It may well be like a tube of toothpaste. But I think neighborhood safety is like a good marriage– it can’t be taken for granted, you have to work at it every day, communication is key, you try to stop problems before they start and both sides carry their share of the load– it’s a partnership. S

    So maybe we figure out how to have a stronger partnership with other neighbors and with law enforcement… we’re going to see if there’s interest in our area for setting up a Neighborhood Watch …law enforcement is being great about sending us info on how to do it and how they can be part of it, so I guess now it’s up to us to meet them halfway.

    • Greg Duff says:

      Shari, There is nothing better in a neighborhood than all of your neighbors watching each others back. I helped organize our neighborhood and now we all have each others phone numbers, email and know how to get in touch with each other. I have had meetings at our house and had Sgt. MacLauchlan from Burien Police come and talk to us about crime prevention. The hardest part about organizing a block watch program is getting past the mind set that “I can’t do it”.
      Unfortunately the police cannot be everywhere so we need a good block watch program.

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