BELLEVUE, Wash. — Bellevue police are cracking down on crime by upping patrols in “hot spots” as part of the department's recent anti-crime initiative.
Police said like many places Bellevue is seeing an uptick in property crime.
The department launched a crime data map that shows where incidents are happening across the city which is updated every 48 hours. The majority of the crime is theft.
Patrick Hill has lived in his Bellevue home for more than 20 years and is a recent target of mail theft.
“It’s been a rash. In the last 5 weeks there's been 5 break-ins,” said Hill.
Hill keeps a look out on his mailbox and has cameras surrounding his home.
“I have a buzzer in my bedroom and I just call 911 and half the time they catch them.”
Hill has reported 25 mail thefts to police and says it has resulted in 12 felony arrests.
Bellevue police said property crime is up 22%. The department said crime started to increase once COIVD restrictions were eased.
“The beginning of this year, man, it caught our attention. The numbers were pretty high, and they were going up fast,” said Capt. Darryl McKinney, with the Bellevue Police Department (BPD).
That's led BPD to increase police presence in the city's hot spots, which includes downtown.
“A lot of it is occurring at stores where people are shoplifting,” said McKinney.
Police said detectives work closely with store loss prevention like in a recent case where a Bellevue man was arrested and accused of stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from Fred Meyer.
Police said each hot spot will have its own plan.
“That can be high visibility with just more patrol cops. It could be a combination of resources, like patrol, traffic officers, and officers on bicycles. We've had undercover resources dedicated to certain operations,” said Capt. McKinney.
The agency's anti-crime patrols are also focusing on apartment complexes and neighborhoods that have been hit by car prowlers and catalytic converter thefts. The initiative also cracks down on DUIs which police said is a big problem downtown.
“Unfortunately, people still drink and drive,” said McKinney.
Police said the most important part is reporting because they use that data to identify hot spots.
For Hill, his reporting landed him an award from police, but keeping his neighbors safe is second nature.
“I'm retired coastguard and I've spent all my life helping and protecting people. It's just one of the things I do because of who I am,” said Hill.
Bellevue police said it’s still fine-tuning its “hot spot” initiative but is already seeing an impact.