With warmer weather and longer daylight hours, Spokane Valley residents appear to be making it easier for would-be burglars.
The number of burglaries that occurred after intruders were able to enter a house, garage, apartment or business without forcing their way in was double the number of forced-entry burglaries for the month of June, according to statistics released by the Spokane County Sheriffs Department.
With better weather, “people are gone on vacation more,” said Sgt. Gary Smith, head of the Sheriffs Department’s property crime division. “If they don’t have people coming over to check the place or put their lights on a timer, they are easier to spot.”
But residents can fight back. Besides making sure to lock all doors and windows, leaving lights on a timer and having friends pick up the mail and paper, residents can call Crime Check and let the Sheriffs Department know they will be on vacation. As deputies have time, they will periodically drive by the house and take a look.
“If we do get a call of somebody who is not supposed to be there and we know the resident is on vacation, it gives us a lot more authority to act,” said Sheriffs Department spokesman Lt. David Wiyrick.
The area in and around Opportunity was hardest hit by property crime. Residents and businesses reported 13 incidents in Opportunity and 17 just south of the area.
Some of the more notable incidents in the Valley were:
While walking out to shut his garage door on June 29, a 30-year-old homeowner came across two men in his garage attempting to steal two bikes, the deputies said.
The homeowner chased the two from his house on the 14100 block of East 13th and apprehended one. Deputies charged Danny Seaman, 20, with the burglary.
Rocky Banks, an employee of Northwest Windows in the Valley, was beaten and robbed on June 27 while he measured windows at Valley Fourth Memorial Church at 2303 S. Bowdish.
Banks was treated at Valley Hospital and Medical Center for a concussion and lost his wallet.
Jim Nypen was robbed and his car was stolen on June 20 after he confronted five teenagers who had rammed a green 1995 Jeep Cherokee through a fence on his property.
Nypen surrendered the keys to his 1985 Chrysler New Yorker and $375 when one of the five teenagers threatened him with a metal fence post while one of the other teens held Nypen in front of his home on the 7900 block of East Beverly, deputies said.
“The number of people out and about increases during the summer and it’s harder for us to tell the good guys from bad guys,” Smith said.