Concerns about burglaries activates neighbors

One woman’s property has been hit twice by thieves in recent months

Staff writerMay 28, 2014 

When Patty Divelbiss and her husband were hit not only once but twice by burglary at their Rodesco neighborhood home east of Shaw Road in Puyallup, the experience motivated Divelbiss to organize a block watch meeting at Northwest Christian School nearby.

At 7 p.m. on May 20, more than just people from the Rodesco neighborhood poured into the school — so did homeowners from Crystal Ridge and the Highlands north of Rodesco and from Bellwood, south of Rodesco, according to Captain Scott Engle of the Puyallup Police Department.

“It grew a bit from a block watch to more of a neighborhood meeting,” Engle said. “About 100 people on Tuesday night showed up. We were very pleased.”

Divelbiss said the shed on her property that housed all of her husband’s tools was broken in once and then a second time, after a reinforced door was put in place. During the second time, the offenders entered the Divelbiss’ garage but did not enter their home.

“They’re getting bolder and bolder,” Divelbiss said.

Divelbiss said her husband’s tools, valued at $3,000, were taken. The couple installed a new alarm system that cost $8,000, according to Divelbiss.

Divelbiss said in their neighborhood alone there has been six burglaries over the past several months. Engle said crime data does not show evidence of a spike in burglary in the Rodesco neighborhood, nor in any other parts of the city.

“We’re not seeing anything unusual in that Shaw Road corridor,” Engle said. “We’re not seeing a burglary trend.”

Engle said there has been a higher number of burglaries hitting detached trailers or sheds.

At the Tuesday night neighborhood meeting, Engle said Lisa Isaacs, the department’s crime prevention coordinator, encouraged residents to be proactive about reporting burglary incidents and other crime occurrences. Often the data doesn’t show a spike because people don’t report to police when a crime occurs, he said.

Engle said it’s important to report, because when a crime trend does show, then police can target resources to those areas of the city that are affected.

Isaacs also taught residents at the meeting how to lower the probability of crime through environmental design. For example, incorporating good lighting around a home and keeping vegetation down on the property, is a good idea.

An important resource Divelbiss learned also was the value of getting to know your neighbor. She said it’s something she will be doing more of moving forward.

“We just have to get acquainted with our neighbors, like how it used to be,” Divelbiss said. “We’ve become locked in our homes and we don’t get out and talk to our neighbors.”

As a result of the meeting, Divelbiss said her neighborhood will start having regular block watch parties. Sometime this summer will be the Rodesco neighborhood’s first block watch meeting.

“We’ll get together for a barbecue, block off the streets,” Divelbiss said. “It will be an opportunity to meet neighbors.”

Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 andrew.fickes @herald_andrew

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