Big jump in thefts in Snohomish
SNOHOMISH — There’s been a big jump in thefts from carports and sheds this year, and the stolen goods might be fueling the drug trade.
Police Chief John Flood said home burglaries are atypical, but the trend in outside buildings being ransacked is rising.
Vehicle thefts also are high, with 21 vehicle thefts in Snohomish this year. That’s more than Monroe, a city almost twice Snohomish’s size.
The 21 vehicle thefts this quarter is on par with the number of vehicle thefts from quarterly crime reports from the latter half of 2013.
The Police Department handled 43 burglaries this year compared to 20 in the last four months of 2013. Theft is up to 132 thefts from 86 last quarter.
Thieves are taking items that they “can quickly sell or trade so that they can go get their drugs,” Flood said.
He said the trend could be correlated to the rise in panhandlers in the city.
“We have people that are desperate for money, and they’re going to do what they (think they) need to do to support habits, unfortunately,” he said.
No one was harmed during any of the reported burglaries.
The Snohomish Station shopping complex also is generating shoplifting calls daily.
“We just have this problem that will not go away,” Flood said.
People are stealing items, but not raiding liquor shelves.
“Certainly, no one has been attacked during these crimes, but businesses are suffering a significant loss as a result of this happening. So that’s why you see that theft number so high,” he said.
Numbers remained constant for more non-property crime categories such as domestic violence, drunken driving and malicious mischief.
One bright spot is that vehicle prowls are down after a high spate of prowls last year.
There were 11 reported vehicle prowls this quarter compared to 57 last quarter. Eleven prowls is lower than any single quarter Snohomish had in 2013.
Overall, the shoplifters at Snohomish Station are skewing Snohomish’s numbers. This scourge makes it look like Snohomish has a significant crime problem even when compared to Monroe, Flood said.
“Our number is 145 (thefts), while Monroe is 151 and they’re a much larger city than we are,” he said.
The issue leaves Snohomish with almost twice the crime ratio of Monroe’s.
“If I can get shoplifting and burglaries under control, that (overall) number would come down considerably,” Flood said.
People keep returning to steal again and again, and police haven’t been able to stem the tide. Fred Meyer has security guards, and Kohl’s, for example, added a second security guard to combat theft.
“We are catching people, we are putting people in jail when we can, but for the most part, these individuals are not deterred,” Flood said. “They may go away for a day or two while they’re in jail, but they come back and do it over, and over and over.”
He added: “We are a very safe community, we just have some criminals that view us as an area of opportunity, and we need to change that view, and we’re doing what we can.”