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Burglaries in Federal Way: Less residential, more commercial

Residential burglaries have declined in Federal Way, while commercial burglaries have increased, according to recent statistics provided by police.

Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson reported a significant drop in residential burglaries between the second quarter of 2013 and the same period of time in 2012.

"(Overall) burglary was down 31 percent," Wilson said in a quarterly update on crime statistics at the city council's Sept. 3 meeting. "Residential burglary in that (same) quarter was a phenomenal drop — 41 percent."

According to the statistics compiled by FWPD, for the 2nd quarter of 2013 (April to June), 129 reports of residential burglary were made, compared to 220 in 2012. Total burglaries for the second quarter — commercial and residential combined — dropped from 254 in 2012 to 174 this year. Wilson credits the Safe City program, an online monitoring/reporting program that's been in use in the past few years.

"I'm convinced that it's Safe City. That is our citizens calling us, letting us know about suspicious circumstances and us being able to identify and solve those particular crimes," Wilson noted.

Wilson also had a year-to-year comparison spanning six months, and the same downward trend in residential burglary rates was seen for that time period as well.

"(That's) a pretty significant number. (Residential burglary) is down 32 percent, looking at that six-month to six-month comparison," he said.

So far in 2013, 288 incidents of residential burglary have been reported, while in 2012, that number was 424.

Commercial burglary goes up

Commercial burglary and theft were up in both comparison periods, Wilson said, with a variety of factors playing into that increase. Commercial burglary was up 31 percent (from 67 to 88 this year), while theft/larceny was up 10 percent (from 1,605 to 1,766).

"The commercial burglary, I do think some of that is tied to metal theft, where we have actually initiated stings and have made arrests. I think some of our numbers attributed to that increase," he said. "Some of our buildings that become vacant, they are a target for people who want to steal metal, and steal the copper wire and those things."

Overall, in the quarterly comparison, crime was down 3 percent, while for the six-month comparison, total crime stayed static. While there were some increases, such as the commercial burglary, Wilson again reiterated the power of the Safe City program and the partnership it fosters between FWPD officers and the public.

"We are very excited about this program and what it means and what it has done for the relationship between our citizens, our neighborhoods, (and the) relationship with the police department," he said. "We think it's…an electronic block watch, where citizens, neighbors can share information."

Readers weigh in

The Mirror asked fans on its Facebook page what they thought about crime and safety in their neighborhood. Here are a few responses.

• Richard A. Schultz: I would like to see a statistic that correlates arrests to the crimes. This would put some meaning in the numbers, and show what's working or not. Are these crimes being solved? That's the important number.

• Anne Farmer: I think they have failed to speak on attempted burglaries. Residential areas of (Federal Way) have become more vigilant at reporting suspicious behavior which has likely reduced the number of actual crimes committed/reported. That being said, I think the potential for residential crime remains as high as ever and no one should let their guard down.

• Deb Kaitschuck: I feel safe in my neighborhood with our security patrol, our home alarm system and the Safe City program.

• Melodie Hardwick: Well, we were burglarized in 2012 and haven't been burglarized in 2013 yet, so anecdotally I'd say my experience is consistent with the statistics. I'd sure have liked to see some arrests too. It seems that people have gone scot-free for these petty home burglaries that went on during daylight hours.

• Pamela Golliet: Well, both our cars were prowled during the night Sunday. Messed up, and my husband's iPod stolen.

Check it out

To learn more about Safe City, visit www.safecityfw.com.

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