As summer beckons, burglars on the prowl

SEATTLE -- Summer starts in a few days, and now is the time home burglars are looking to steal your stuff.

Across Seattle, home break-ins are up as much as 20 percent, according to police data.

“Burglaries are going to happen whenever and wherever,” Sean Whitcomb with the Seattle Police Department said. “You have to think the holidays are a good time to break in and steal things. Summertime can (also) be a good time when people are on vacation and away from home.”

Now that the sun is shining and school is out burglars are on the prowl, looking for easy targets.

“They’ll look for activity, they’ll look for cars, they’ll look for open windows,” Whitcomb said. “They’ll look for homes that are off of the street."

Tall hedges and fences may provide you with privacy, but they can also keep neighbors and passersby from spotting someone trying to break in.

A Seattle Post-Intelligencer report said more than 21,000 home burglaries have been reported to police since 2008.

The Laurelhurst and Viewridge neighborhoods top the list with 722 combined home burglaries, and 629 homes burglarized in and around Rainier Valley. In the Ravenna and Roosevelt neighborhoods, 569 combined residential home burglaries were reported.

Police said a burglar only needs a few minutes to pop in, get out, and move on to the next victim.

“We want to make sure that burglars feel uncomfortable, that they feel fearful in breaking into someone’s house,” Whitcomb said.

So how do you protect yourself? Lock your doors and windows and trim your bushes, so someone can’t hide behind them. Police also said the most important thing you can do is to be a good neighbor. If you see someone poking around your neighbor’s house, it's best to call 911.