BELLINGHAM - Summer is more than just prime time for barbecues and camping; it's also high season for burglaries, according to the Bellingham Police Department.
Since the beginning of July, 31 residential burglaries have been reported to police in Bellingham, compared to 13 reported burglaries during the same time last year.
Of this month's burglaries, 10 were to garages, and seven of those garages were unlocked. Twelve homes were broken into through unlocked doors or open windows.
Police spokesman Mark Young advised people to close and lock doors any time they leave the house. And if windows are open at night to let in the cool air, he said, just make sure there's a screen and some kind of jamb or lock. He's heard of burglars getting caught because the sound of removing a screen alerted residents who then called 911.
"The message I'm trying to put out there is that if there's an open access point that's made easy for thieves, they're going to use it," Young said.
Here are some more tips to help prevent burglaries:
-- Always lock doors and windows.
-- Keep a porch light on while it's dark.
-- If you don't have an adequate deadbolt, install one in each of your ground-level doors.
-- If you have an alarm system, use it.
-- If you park outside, don't leave any possessions in your car. Don't keep garage door openers or any other keys to your home in your car.
-- Don't leave valuables outside overnight.
-- If you have a storage shed, install a lock.
-- Keep a record of your property, including makes, models and serial numbers.
-- If you see someone suspicious lurking in your neighborhood, call 911. Take a note of their description and their car's license plate number.
-- Start a block or neighborhood watch program.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT AGAINST CRIME
National Night Out Against Crime takes place Tuesday night, Aug. 6, and is an opportunity for neighbors to get together to socialize and prevent crime. The Bellingham Police Department will host a National Night Out Against Crime kickoff event from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, in the parking lot of the police department, 505 Grand Ave. The event will include crime prevention information from police dispatchers, Bellingham Lock and Safe Security Solutions, Puget Sound Energy and others.