Don’t be the next victim

Lately it seems as though Kitsap County has become a hotbed for residential burglaries.

Although it isn’t an uncommon crime, there has been a recent string of burglaries. The latest was a theft ring bust in North Kitsap in which more than 50 homes were burglarized. Many of these residents were on vacation. But that wasn’t the only commonality. Detectives with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office found several similarities among these burglaries:

• Residential properties are burglarized without forced entry: suspects are gaining access into homes through unlocked doors and windows.

• Homes and properties are left unattended for long periods of time, generally while the owners are away on vacation or residing elsewhere for the winter.

In situations involving forced entry, the suspects know that the probability of discovery is very low and therefore invade the residence with impunity.

• Vehicles are stolen when ignition keys are easily found inside a burglarized residence, or are left in the vehicle’s ignition.

• Mail is left uncollected in roadside mailboxes.

• Personal items such as purses, wallets, iPods, bank checkbooks, etc., are left inside vehicles. Often, vehicles are left unlocked.

• Some residences are equipped with alarm systems but the systems are not activated while the homeowners are absent.

• Neighbors notice suspicious activity in progress, but don’t pay much attention and/or don’t report it to law enforcement until after the crime is discovered.

To many, these may sound very familiar. Those who leave themselves this vulnerable could find themselves regretting their carelessness. There aren’t many reasons to leave your home unlocked or valuables in your car. Those who leave their homes unsecured, for whatever reason, should find a new system or they could end up in the same predicament some of these North Kitsap residents have found themselves.

Having a family member or a close, trustworthy friend

housesit is a smart choice. Ask a neighbor you trust to keep an eye on your place. Set up a neighborhood watch; it’s always a good idea. Some communities even have an e-mail system set up to notify each other of what’s going on in their neighborhoods. Following a few simple steps can make a big difference between returning to your home the way you left it or finding it ransacked.

You can bet the victims of these recent crimes will be sure to lock up their house and valuables without a second thought next time they leave.