Car prowls have been a common crime in Redmond for many years and a recent spike in incidents prompted police to post a pubic notice.
“Don’t leave valuables in your car over night,” the Redmond Police Department (RPD) posted on its Twitter page on Sept. 16. “We’ve had a rash of car prowls in the Grasslawn District over the past 24-hrs.”
The tweet is the latest of many in which RPD has emphasized this crime of opportunity over the past five years.
— RedmondWaPD (@RedmondWaPD) August 21, 2014
Car prowling was the most commonly reported crime between Sept. 12 and Sept. 26, with 44 incidents within city limits. The only crime to exceed car prowl reports within the past year is general theft, which includes shoplifting, property theft and bike thefts.
Car accident reports also exceeded car prowl reports, but accidents aren’t exclusively criminal offenses.
RPD has noted in numerous public safety announcements that criminals will more often target areas where drivers leave items in their cars or leave their cars unlocked.
The RPD Twitter account used the #lockitup and #removevaluables hashtags during 2014 when car prowls seemed to spike every few months. Police even began doing giveaways on Twitter for each day without a car prowl in December 2014, attempting to raise awareness of tips to prevent prowls.
On the 23rd day of December a car prowler stole from you: your iPod! We hope your holiday tunes weren't on there… #25daysofcrimeprevention
— RedmondWaPD (@RedmondWaPD) December 23, 2014
Police have shifted more recently to emphasize community policing and asked locals to report any suspicious activity to 425-556-2500.
“There are a billion sets of eyes and ears out there, and they know what’s right or wrong,” said Tim Gately, an operations lieutenant for RPD, during National Night Out last month. “Nosy neighbors are the best reporters of crime because they know if a vehicle or person on the street isn’t supposed to be [there]…If you see something, say something.”
Gately added that car prowls are among the most common crimes committed within Redmond and one of the best ways locals can prevent crime is to watch out for their neighbors and report suspicious activity.
“RPD can’t do this alone. There are many more of you than there are of us,” police wrote in a 2012 safety announcement. “Brainstorm ideas on how your street/block can work together. Remind each other to put garage doors down. Split up days to just walk your street and look out for each other.”
Locked doors make small difference, according to statistics tweeted out by RPD in January 2017, with 51 percent of prowled cars being unlocked and 45 percent of cars being locked. Police clarified that despite the statistics, prowlers tend to target areas where cars are left unlocked, according to their numerous interviews with arrested suspects.
The RPD still encourages locals to remove anything and everything from their vehicles as the best way to prevent prows.
If it looks tempting enough, there's a good chance someone will take it. Please take your backpack (and your 👛,📱, 💰,💳, 💻, etc.) with you when you leave your car! Majority of vehicle prowls we investigate had a bag or valuable of some sort left in plain sight. pic.twitter.com/3wZ9XuFiOf
— RedmondWaPD (@RedmondWaPD) February 23, 2018
“If it looks tempting enough, there’s a good chance someone will take it,” RPD tweeted. “[A] majority of vehicle prowls we investigate had a bag or valuable of some sort left in plain sight.”
There were 121 property crimes reported between Sept. 12 and 26, car prowls made up about 36 percent of those crimes and 25 percent of all crime reported in Redmond, including traffic accidents.