Police, Community Meeting Recap

Considering recent criminal activity in the Highlands, the members of the Issaquah Police Department (IPD) held an informal meeting at Blakely Hall last night. Attending the meeting were Chief of Police, Scott Behrbaum, Community Resource Officer, Ryan Smith, and Detective Troy Kemp.

We won’t be able to reproduce here all the valuable lessons learned at this meeting, but we will share highlights of what seemed to be the top priorities for the attendees: What happened? How does the IPD serve us? What can we do to prevent or report a crime? What can we do when we are victims of a crime?

What Happened?

Over the last two weeks, five crimes were committed in Issaquah Highlands that the IPD are investigating. Two were armed robberies of retail stores, both around 7-8pm. No one was physically harmed. Money appears to be the motive. The first was at Subway and the second at TCBY, both on Park Drive. The thief(s) have not been identified.

Also, on February 23rd there was a home burglary and an attempted burglary, in the middle of the afternoon. A suspect was arrested Tuesday night. According to IPD, he is in custody, a 19-year-old, Issaquah Highlands resident with a criminal record.

Safeway was victim to a large liquor theft by a “high-end, organized retail group.” This incident is unrelated to the other thefts.

How Does the IPD Prevent and Solve Crimes?

The officers provided detailed information at the meeting about the current investigations, about crime in Issaquah, and about services we receive from IPD. The constant refrain was, “If you see something, say something.” But many of us don’t know when to report, or when a person or a circumstance is suspect. To that, Officer Smith said, “When in doubt, call us out!” He explained that we should call the IPD any time something doesn’t seem right. IPD will look into situations for us.

IPD is our source for information regarding criminal activity in the Highlands. Sign up for City of Issaquah alerts and see the crime map at IssaquahWA.gov. When IPD makes a statement, they will share it with the community and will ask Highlands Council’s assistance in getting the word out, when appropriate.

Questions about solicitors, panhandlers and homeless campers prompted Officer Smith to again say, “When in doubt, call us out!” Some circumstances simply involve enforcing City code, such as educating solicitors that they are only allowed to go door to door with a permit, and only between the hours of 9am-5pm. Panhandlers and campers will be approached as part of the IPDs outreach, helping people get the services they need. In any circumstance where you are not sure if you should call, Officer Smith says you should anyway.

Emergencies, call 911
Non-Emergencies call 425-837-3200

 

What Can We Do to Prevent or Report a Crime?

See something? Say something!

  • If your “gut” says a circumstance does not look right, call IPD and let them investigate. In some cases, this simple step will prevent a crime.

Be proactive with the security of your home.

  • Leave outdoor lights on at night.
  • Lock your doors
  • Keep your doorways and windows visible from the street, clear of plants, etc.
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Let your neighbors know when you will be away from home on trips, etc.
  • Don’t let your home look empty – use timers for lights, and the TV.
  • Consider a security system, or a cloud-based appliance such as The Ring Doorbell/camera.
  • Lock the door between your garage and your home. (See car security)

Be proactive with the security of your car.

  • Lock your car doors.
  • Do no leave items in the car (i.e. backpacks).
  • Do not leave your garage door opener in your car.
  • If your garage door opener is built into your car, use the setting that requires the car to be on for door opener to operate.

What Should We Do if We Are a Victim of a Crime?

And what should you do if someone suspicious comes to your door? Keep the door locked and let them know you are home. That is often enough to scare them away. Then call 911.

What should you do if someone enters your home? Officer Smith cautions, “Every circumstance is different.” You might be able to scare an intruder away from a distance by just letting them know you are home. Or it might be better to hide you and your family and call 911. It all depends. If you become trapped, just “give them whatever they want.” Stuff can be replaced; lives can’t.

What Can We Do as a Community?

In addition to this universal advice, the IPD responded to questions unique to Issaquah Highlands. Should the IHCA hire a private security company? Officer Smith responded, “I don’t think that’s a bad idea, but remember, they are not cops. But they can be good witnesses.”

Should the IHCA or the City install surveillance cameras? Officer Smith explained how home cameras (such as The Ring Doorbell) do a very good job of capturing valuable information. Businesses can have cameras installed, too. Police could get very good coverage if more homes and businesses installed surveillance cameras, and kept the videos files for three months. Some investigations take weeks or months.

Thank you all who attended this meeting, bringing your questions and concerns. Thank you IPD for all you do for our community.