How to keep your home safe from burglars in the Inland Northwest

SPOKANE, Wash — Every 13 minutes, someone in Washington is burglarized.

Throughout the pandemic, home invasions have become even more sophisticated. With police already stretched thin, the city of Spokane has turned to the COPS program to help people to avoid being a victim.

“Obviously, when we out drive around and if we see somebody’s garage door open or car door open or people ducking around outside on the size of houses or sneaking into the backyards.” said Spokane Patrol Officer Nate Gobble. “We are looking for some of those behavior changes, and also any activities of criminal activities, suspicious activities.”

According to the Spokane Police Department, 248 residential burglaries were reported so far this year in the city of Spokane. That’s a nearly 8.3% jump from the same time frame last year.

Patrick Striker, executive director of Spokane COPS, says that these residential burglaries happen around the clock.

“Something like break-ins used to be almost predominately at night. What we are seeing over the past years is that really it’s 24 hours a day, even in the middle of day light.” Striker said. “Criminals will get a rental truck. They pull it up to the house that looks like no one’s home in the middle of the day. They knock on their door, and if no one answers. They will kick open the front door, and just start unloading your house.”

There are a few things that you can do to keep your home safe such as landscaping methods.

“Lava rocks because they make a noise when you walk on them so putting that around your house. It can’t get up in the window without making a loud noise.”

Striker added that having a clear line of your sight from your house to your property by cutting branches and having a brighter outside light could be simple and effective.

If you don’t know how to start, Striker said that the free program, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is available for anyone.

READ: ‘The true loss is our security’: Security camera purchases rise in the Inland Northwest