Opinion

Protect your stuff on the trailhead

Anyone who’s driven past Snoqualmie Falls on a weekend knows the kind of tourist-pulling power that our natural wonder possesses. The Falls draws 2 million visitors every year, and its parking lots and plazas throng with people on a nice day. People are drawn to the Falls and other places in our Valley to experience a sense of wonder and beauty that transcends the mundane and petty.
That’s why it’s so disheartening to hear about visitors who are preyed upon by car prowlers. Take the example of the visiting professor from Ghana. On a recent visit, her travel bag was grabbed from her car. The miscreants were probably looking for money, but the bag they took contained all of her important travel papers as well as two disk drives containing the bulk of her research career.
While her experience is extreme, it’s all too common. Based on police blotters, prowls happen frequently on local trails and vistas. Cops call them “crimes of opportunity,” because opportunistic thieves are on the lookout for an easy target. Your unlocked car door with the visible purse, MP3 player or stack of mail inside looks like a windfall to a vehicle prowler.
Experienced travelers avoid trouble by being cautious and following tips, such as:
• Always lock your car and close the windows
• Never leave valuables in your car
• Remove things like CD cases and portable electronics from view, and carry only a few at a time in your car
• Don’t leave mail in your car—a snagged credit card statement or other sensitive piece of mail could lead to a stolen identity
• Park in a highly visible, well-lit area
As good weather (hopefully) nears, we’re going to see more sightseers. Let’s all do our part to keep our eyes open for suspicious activity. Dial for help if you witness a prowler. Remind friends or fellow hikers to lock car doors and conceal their valuables at the trailhead. All it takes is a few words, and someone’s relaxing day out can stay that way.
Contact North Bend Police at (425) 888-4433, Snoqualmie Police at (425) 888-3333 and Carnation Police at (425) 788-1519.

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