Chad Clark

Guest columnist

By now, all of us have had to adjust to the new way of life dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and the accompanying new guidelines.

More of us are staying home much more often than ever before. Many of our citizens are working from home utilizing the technology we now have. For my family, trips to the store to stock up on necessary items have dropped to once a week.

In looking at our crime stats, the impact seems to make sense on some of the numbers we are seeing.

Burglary complaints from May 1 to June 30 in 2019 for the Sheriff’s Office was 50, compared to 34 in the same time frame this year. It makes sense as the majority of the burglaries occur during the day when homeowners are at work, kids are at school or residents are out and about enjoying themselves with no restrictions. The burglar now has to work harder to determine who is home and who isn’t. If you get that knock on your door and you don’t know the person, be cautious and ask what they want with your door shut.

Theft calls are down as well. For May through June 2019, 84 thefts were reported. The number was 69 during the same time this year. Package thefts are less now, but please remain vigilant and put things away after you use them. Make sure lawn mowers, weed eaters, garden tools, etc., are put away and tool sheds are locked up.

Vehicle prowls have not gone down. In May and June of 2019, 38 vehicle prowls were reported, compared to 46 in the same time frame this year. We have noticed an increase in vehicle prowls at night while vehicles are parked at home.

Vehicle thieves have also adjusted to the times by seeking out vehicles in late night and early morning hours in front of your house. There are fewer cars now at trail heads, so the thieves are going to where the cars are — at home.

Don’t leave anything in your car that you don’t want stolen — purses, wallets, money, back packs. We are still seeing these crimes at our local trail heads as well, but not as much. A recent caller reported only being away from their car for less than hour for a quick hike, then on return found a smashed window and a purse and bag missing. Having those kinds of items in plain view makes your car desirable.

Suspicious complaints for May to June 2019 were 341; it’s 276 in the same time frame this year. We like to see this category improve even more as communities work together in keeping an eye on their neighborhoods. Deputies are still patrolling and respond in person to most suspicious complaints. The deputy will wear a mask but is still eager to help solve whatever issue comes up in your neighborhood.

— Chad Clark is undersheriff of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to

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