Special to the Reporter
As we enter the warm summer months, Island businesses, beaches and streets will be full of people enjoying the weather and lake activities. The sun is up longer and crowds stay out later. We tend to see opportunistic crime rise across the region during this season. While we know Mercer Island is ranked among the safest cities in Washington, it is still wise to keep some simple, crime-prevention practices in mind. Here’s what you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing property loss or damage this summer and year-round.
* Car prowls: Less likely to occur if there are no belongings visible inside and all your car doors are locked.
* Park in well-lit, visible places whenever possible.
* Never leave backpacks, purses and packages inside your car and lock the doors.
* Mail and package theft: Less likely to happen when you have a locking mailbox and track the delivery of your packages.
* Enable delivery notifications when your package arrives so you can more quickly retrieve it from your mailbox or porch.
* Sign up for USPS’ free “Informed Delivery” service on its website, which e-mails you preview images of incoming mail, plus status updates about your incoming and outbound packages.
* Home burglary: Less likely to occur if your doors and windows are locked and you appear to be home.
* Lock your doors and windows and turn on the alarm systems as part of your routine, even if you are only leaving home for a short time.
* Lock gates, garages and sheds after each use.
* Leave a few lights on to appear like someone’s home.
* If you have home-monitoring cameras, ensure they are running, the footage is downloadable, and they are positioned at a level and angle that makes seeing faces and clothing details as optimal as possible. This enables detectives to identify prowlers and link them to other crimes.
Across the region and nationwide, car thieves often target Kia and Hyundai model vehicles in hopes of making an easy getaway. Police departments have begun acquiring steering-wheel locks to give away for free to owners of these cars in a widespread effort to deter vehicle theft.
Through the end of June, Mercer Island residents can show their ID and Kia or Hyundai vehicle registration and receive a free steering-wheel lock. Residents can receive their free locks by contacting Mercer Island Police Department Corporal Samantha Hammer, crime prevention officer, at Samantha.Hammer@mercerisland.gov.
“Locked car doors, no visible keys inside and steering wheel locks tell a car thief that your vehicle is going to be hard to steal quickly and quietly, making you less likely to be a victim of theft,” said Hammer.