W hile Maple Valley burglary rates dropped in March, police say residents can tweak the design of their homes to prevent break-ins.
The features of a home’s exterior along with the correct installation of deadbolts can deter criminals, according to Taryn Weatherford, crime prevention specialist for the Maple Valley Police.
Only three burglaries were reported within Maple Valley city limits in March, and just one involved breaking into the inside of a home. In that case, on a Tuesday around lunchtime, a suspect smashed a window with a rock and took a computer and video games from a home in a neighborhood off SE 288th Street. In the other cases, suspects stole a leaf blower and chainsaw from an unlocked garage and stole a stereo and a TV from an unlocked travel trailer.
These three break-ins in March compare to 12 burglaries or attempted burglaries in February and 10 in January, according to police statistics.
A number of burglaries in January and February involved a suspect knocking on the front door, then kicking it in when nobody answered. (Read more about this trend HERE.)
Deadbolts, if improperly installed, won’t prevent criminals from kicking in a door. Weatherford says all exterior doors should have deadbolts, preferably ANSI Grade 2 with a throw bolt that is at least an inch long. Residents should check to ensure their throw bolts extend to their full lengths in door jambs.
Three-inch wood screws should be used to install strike plates because these screws are long enough to penetrate the nearest stud, she says.
Weatherford also writes about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in the April “On Target” crime prevention newsletter. She lists several steps homeowners can take:
- Trim small shrubs below window level, or trim tall shrubs and trees up from the bottom to eliminate hiding spots.
- Plant thorny shrubs or vines along fences.
- Install motion-detector lights, and make sure they are working.
- Display security-alarm signs or beware-of-dog signs.
- Ensure that your house number is visible from the street so that police can find you quickly.
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