August 29, 2012 – Nearly 100 people filled the Birch Bay Bible Community Church to hear a presentation by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Deputy Zac Reimer, who spoke about the recent rash of burglaries in and around the Birch Bay Community.
Birch Bay has been subject to a significant increase in burglaries this summer. On any given normal day there are 1-2 burglaries in all of Whatcom County. In Birch Bay there have been 64 incidents of burglary, theft and vehicle prowl for the period of June 24-August 24 – a dramatic increase. In the Baycrest area alone there have been 19 burglaries. Of all 64 incidents, 5 have occurred when the residents have been home sleeping. These crimes are typically occurring between 12 AM and 4 AM, and to date there has been no violence associated with these events and Deputy Reimer said he does not have any indication that violence would occur.
Most of these burglaries seem to be occurring on targets of opportunities where people have left doors and windows open, unlocked sheds and garage doors unlocked or open. The people who are carrying out these burglaries do not appear to be gang members, but there are similarities in what is occurring suggesting there may be some organization to what is happening.
According to Sheriff Bill Elfo, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office has been increasing investigation into these burglaries and has some undercover Deputies working in the area. Sheriff Elfo stated “We are asking for the community to help the Sheriff’s Department to be vigilant, to look out for each other, and to report any suspicious activity to 911.”
Deputy Reimer did make a number of suggestions that the community can do to help prevent burglaries – locking up sheds, making sure there is lighting on all sides of a building, not leaving windows or doors open at night or if you are not home during the day, keep cars locked (remove the garage door opener and valuables), lock up ladders and kayaks that may be in the side yard. “Be extra mind full of strange things going on. If your little voice is going off saying something is not right, it probably is not. Call 911. Don’t wait. If you see anything out of the normal, report it.” Deputy Reimer also suggested getting to know your neighbors and setting up a Block Watch. If you do see something suspicious, Deputy Reimer said to not hesitate to call 911 and let them know as much as possible such as – location, time, description of persons or vehicles, license plates, direction of travel, clothing, or photos if possible.
Hand outs included materials on Suspicious Activity, a Home Security Checklist, a suggested Operation ID Property List, and suggestions for indoor and outdoor security for your home or business. Copies of these materials will soon be available on the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce Website as well as the Birch Bay Steering Committee Website. Compiling a list of items in your home or business with serial numbers that can be provided to law enforcement is another good thing to do. Taking time to secure your home is a small investment with big returns. Be aware, and call 911 to report suspicious activity.