Burien Police Chief Kimerer Analyzes Burien’s Recent Burglary Reports
UPDATE THURS. 6/3/10: Police Chief Scott Kimerer dropped by our booth at the Farmers Market today, and alerted us that the King County Sheriff’s interactive crime map referenced within this story is not currently 100% accurate, as the city’s new borders are not included. What this basically means is that, with a larger footprint, Burien’s crime rates will organically be higher than they were previously.
Also, the Chief wanted us to mention that, while some of the percentages used in the story seem high (ie: 25% increase), keep in mind that on a per-month basis, a 25% increase could mean going from six incidents to eight.
PREVIOUSLY: Recently, numerous residents of Burien’s Gregory Heights and Three Tree Point neighborhoods have shown concerns about an increase in residential burglaries, garnering attention from “mainstream media” throughout the northwest.
Some Burienites have done this by posting missives on blogs, forums and neighborhood group pages. We’ve read several ourselves that are on the verge of paranoia, often posted moments after an unknown vehicle has driven by.
Others have gone so far as to post threatening, brightly-colored vigilante-esque signs encouraging residents to “get out your guns” on telephone poles (NOTE: we believe that it’s illegal to post signs on telephone poles in Burien; we won’t speculate on the legalities of encouraging vigilantism, but rest assured we’re not fans…).
BURGLARIES TRENDING UPWARD
Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer reports that during the month of May there were eight burglaries reported in this area, known to law enforcement as “N4″ (EDITOR’S NOTE: our review of the interactive KCSO Crime Map for area N4 shows that there were actually nine – link here), with four in Gregory Heights and two in Three Tree Point. This is an increase of +25% (two more) over April, which had only six reported burglaries or attempted burglaries.
Compared with other Burien areas, the nine reported burglaries in N4 (including attempted burglaries) in May is not the most â€“ that honor belongs to area N2, which had a total of 12 for the month, an increase of +25% over April. N2 is bordered by “about 8th Ave SW” on the west, S. 128th on the north, Des Moines Memorial Way on the east, and SW 144th on the south (see map below).
Another interesting trend we found is that burglaries (and attempted ones) in Burien have increased by +22% from 2009 to 2010, according to the KCSO interactive crime map. Breaking this down shows that, for area N4, there have already been 34 for 2010, vs. 27 for the same period in 2009 â€“ an increase of approximately +21%.
So it’s obvious that this form of crime is definitely trending upward this year in Burien.
WHAT CAN/SHOULD YOU DO?
Kimerer emphasizes that these analyses are based on “actual” reports â€“ if a crime happens and it’s not reported, police don’t consider it a crime and it doesn’t enter their database. To wit, we encourage all our Readers to report any suspicious activities immediately to police (yes, that means dialing 911), and be sure to file a report with an officer if indeed a crime occurs. This is how police determine what (and how many) resources to put into different parts of our city.
Another good strategy is to develop your own Block Watch program involving as many of your neighbors as possible. Not only is this a great way to fight crime, it’s also a great way to finally meet the people you live near. Burien Police, especially longtime officers like Sgt. Henry McLachlan, are easily reachable and available to participate. And it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on your neighbor’s house when you know they’re out of town or at work, and we’ve heard many stories of people seeing trucks or moving vans being loaded and just assuming that nothing unusual is going on…until of course it’s too late.
In the end, we believe that the best way to fight crime is to work together, as neighbors, residents and law enforcement officers. Don’t wait for crime to happen â€“ take action now to prevent it.
Oh, and please leave the “get out your guns” vigilantism off your next batch of signs â€“ we don’t want to report on a neighbor kid getting shot because someone didn’t recognize him.
NOTE FROM THE CHIEF
The Chief sent us the following email on Wednesday (June 2), which we’re printing in its entirety:
I wanted to follow up with you on our analysis of burglaries in the Gregory Heights neighborhood. In looking at the reported crimes, we have had a total of 27 burglaries year-to-date in all of southwest Burien which also includes the Maplewild and Three Tree Point neighborhoods. There were 8 burglaries in the month of May in which 4 were reported in the greater Gregory Heights area and 2 in the Three Tree Point/Maplewild neighborhood. I need to emphasize that these are the burglary reports. Our response to specific crime problems is based on the reported incidents, if they are not reported; it is difficult to determine that an area in our community is having a crime issue. These reported numbers do reflect an increase over the previous months, but there is no discernable pattern. That being said, any crime that effects our citizens is one too many and our job will continue to be our best effort to prevent and solve these crimes.
I have appreciated the feedback and awareness that was created in Burien surrounding one of the most prolific crime problems that plague our city. Burglaries are difficult to prevent because in most cases it is a crime of stealth and concealment. It is also a crime of opportunity. In some cases, a victim leaves and returns a short time later to find their house burglarized. Someone was watching. In half the cases, there was no force to enter the house. It does make this crime easier and quicker. The likelihood that an officer will be in a neighborhood when the suspect darts behind a house or is able to recognize a vehicle that does not belong in that neighborhood is remote. It is much more likely that a neighbor will be able to see or recognize activity that seems out of place. That is where the true strength lies in preventing crime in our community. Most burglars are caught through a lengthy investigative process or by neighbors calling when observing suspicious activity. Block Watches have proven to be a very effective tool for preventing crime in a neighborhood. The Burien Police Department will be available to help start these programs. On behalf of the men and women of the Burien Police, I appreciate our citizens continued support and we will work tirelessly to keep our community safe.
Chief Scott Kimerer
K. Scott Kimerer
Police Chief/City of Burien
206-296-3342 office/voice mail
Here’s a graphic of area N4 â€“ to utilize the King County Sheriff’s interactive map, click here: