Police are warning of an alarming increase in daytime residential burglaries across Kootenai County. To access homes, thieves are breaking down doors and wiggling through doggy doors.
Coeur d’Alene police have counted more than 70 daytime break-ins to homes during the month of September and early October. City statistics counted 61 residential burglaries last year for September and October, but that number did not exclude night burglaries.
This year, burglars are targeting homes during the daytime and stealing anything of value that’s easy to carry, such as jewelry, coins, laptops and guns.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood called the incidents brazen.
“The direct correlation is drugs,” Wood said. “They have an agenda when they get up in the morning, and it’s drugs.”
To explain the ability to enter through doggy doors, Woods said, “There’s some really small, skinny people – honestly it’s all related back to drugs.”
Kootenai County sheriff’s officials said they’re experiencing a similar spike but were unable to provide specific numbers Tuesday.
Sheriff’s Lt. Stu Miller compared recent incidents to a string of burglaries that occurred last year where doors were also kicked in. In those incidents, suspects would knock on doors and provide an excuse if the door was answered.
Miller said there have been no reports of suspicious people knocking on doors, but he suspects the thieves are actively watching homes.
To tackle the incidents, deputies are making sure to patrol neighborhoods in the late afternoon to check on homes, but all it takes is for targeted residents to be absent about an hour.
“We’re getting about two to three (incidents) a day – that’s just our agency,” Miller added. “The average has gone askew with all of these coming in.”
To combat the break-ins, residents are also advised to lock doors, windows and doggy doors when they’re not in use and to install a good deadbolt on outside doors. Coeur d’Alene police recommend their block watch program to help educate residents about suspicious activity.
To organize a block watch, interested residents can contact the Coeur d’Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.