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Twin Lakes taps Safe City for neighborhood crime watch
Twin Lakes is the first neighborhood to join Federal Way's Safe City program in an effort to curtail property crimes and raise overall safety.
Nearly 1,400 households in the neighborhood are eligible to participate. The online program allows users to post tips about suspicious or criminal activity.
First launched in 2009, the Safe City program has previously focused on Federal Way's downtown core, and is prominently supported by police and the business community. Volunteers operate a total of 36 cameras that pan, tilt and zoom on the downtown core.
The Twin Lakes Homeowners Association connected with the program this month. The association has yet to approve or purchase cameras. However, Twin Lakes residents can now access safecityFW.com and post online reports specific to the neighborhood, complete with maps. So far, 230 homeowners have signed up for the free service.
The extra sets of eyes that watch out for the community is a big help to law enforcement. Federal Way Police Cmdr. Chris Norman showed Twin Lakes residents how it works during their HOA meeting Jan. 26.
One of the program's success stories involves a man who was allegedly fondling children at local businesses. In July 2011, loss prevention officers at Sears in The Commons Mall spotted the suspect shortly after a surveillance photo was distributed via the Safe City network. The suspect was arrested that day.
Twin Lakes HOA president Bob Hill told residents of an incident earlier this month, when he suffered three vehicle break-ins on his property. After calling police, he posted an alert online to warn other Twin Lakes residents.
Police reported 744 burglaries in Federal Way in 2011, with 34 burglaries in Twin Lakes. Most of those residential burglaries took place near the end of 2011, said Federal Way police crime analyst Lindsey Tiroux. Most burglaries occur during the day and are typically committed by juveniles, she said. Most thefts also target vehicles.
"The majority of the time, they're looking for quick and easy," Tiroux said of potential perpetrators.
Other 2011 crime statistics for Twin Lakes and Federal Way, according to the police department:
• Malicious mischief: 30 reports in Twin Lakes, 783 total in Federal Way.
• Theft of vehicle: 18 reports in Twin Lakes, 647 total in Federal Way.
• Theft: 16 reports in Twin Lakes, 2,946 total in Federal Way.