Opinion | Crimes of opportunity: Don’t panic, just prepare
By SETH TRUSCOTT
Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor
June 7, 2012 · Updated 2:00 PM
I never dreamed our beat-up late-model Ford would ever pose a tempting target to a car prowler. But my wife’s gym bag under the front seat must have looked enough like a purse or laptop bag for an opportunistic thief to smash, grab and dash over the Memorial Day weekend. The experience left me and my wife feeling angry, victimized and a bit mad at ourselves for leaving goods in harm’s way.
The bandit grabbed what he found out later to be a wad of women’s workout clothing, an unopened box of Band-aids, and one Snickers bar. Besides a quick snack, I’m not sure what good the bandit got out of this senseless smash. So much trouble for so little gain, when an ounce of prevention could have saved us a heap of worry.
For us at the newspaper, I’m the second of a staff of six to fall victim to theft in the last month—our publisher just experienced a home-invasion burglary.
We’ve had items stolen before, but never so close to home, and never with dramatic property damage. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s obvious that the gym bag should have been stashed out of sight. Now, after we’re done vacuuming up the glass and filing the online police report , we’re left with the reminder that crime takes no vacation and needs only the barest of opportunities to ruin your day.
Thinking about these personal, petty crimes, I can’t help but sympathize with the Valley residents, be they the homeowners victimized in Snoqualmie Ridge, or the travelers and visitors who occasionally find their cars burgled at local trailheads.
It’s important to keep in mind that a lot of Valley crime, such as car prowls, are crimes of opportunity. Thieves are after the quickest, safest score. It’s not that there is a major spree going on—since March, Snoqualmie Police have investigated just four burglary reports in the city of almost 11,000. However, all were on Snoqualmie Ridge, and are just the latest in an ongoing, chronic visitation of opportunistic prowlers in that neighborhood and throughout the Valley.
It’s so easy to prevent these things. Please, keep your car and home secure. Lock your doors. Store or stow valuables. Report suspicious characters, communicate with your neighbors.
When you leave your garage open, or your doors unlocked, or your goods in plain sight, you make it easy for the criminals. Take the extra minute or so to secure and hide the goods—or spend your hard-won time and money picking up the pieces afterwards.
If there are strange people knocking on your door, attempting to sell you something or just get inside, don’t let them. Ask to see their business license.
“If you don’t know them, don’t open the door,” suggests North Bend Police Substation’s Kym Smith. Legitimate solicitors will carry credentials. If something seems downright suspicious, call the police.
We shouldn’t overreact or be afraid of crime in our neighborhoods, or let it scare us or get us down—the Valley remains a safe place, by and large—but the lessons of 2012, from the break-ins to graffiti to extreme violence, show that we allneed to be aware and careful.
With prevention, I hope this is the last time I discover our property smashed and stolen. If you do the same, perhaps the same troubles may never visit you.
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Editor Seth Truscott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-888-2311.