Kirkland police fight car break-ins with new patrols

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KIRKLAND, Wash. - Officers in unmarked police cars are patrolling some areas of Kirkland after the number of car break-ins in the Eastside community has spiked recently.

 

Walt Scott works in Kirkland's Juanita neighborhood. He admitted he's not always thinking of thieves when he parks there.

 

"If I'll run in real quick to the office, I might even leave it unlocked just real quick. I have stuff in the back right now," Scott told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Millman.

 

The neighborhood is one of three areas in Kirkland that's been hit by thieves who steal cars or break into them to take phones, laptops or wallets.

 

"It takes mere seconds to just reach in and grab that and continue to move on," said Mike Murray of the Kirkland Police Department.

 

Murray said that in the month of September, Kirkland investigated 18 such crimes. Since Oct.1, they've had 74.

 

The communities hardest hit are Juanita, the downtown area and South Kirkland, near State Route 520.

 

Murray said because of budget cuts, Kirkland wasn't able use unmarked patrols for a few years, but now one or two officers per shift are about to patrol those areas.

 

Police said it's potential victims like Megan Adrian who make the thieves' job easy.

 

"I'll leave my wallet and my cell phone, and just pop in for 5 or 10 minutes and just get coffee and just come out," Adrian said.

 

But after hearing the statistics, Adrian is keeping her valuables with her.

 

If you think you're safe putting your valuables in your trunk, Kirkland police told Michelle, thieves are getting to that stuff, too. They'll break in to your car, pop the trunk and rip off what you've put in there.