Vehicle break-ins are on the rise in Seattle, according to recent reports, and Seattle police are dedicating a team of investigators to target this citywide crime spree. They are also expanding their telephone reporting unit and revamping electronic reporting options to improve service.

Komo News reports that there have been 3,493 car prowl reports thus far in 2016, which is close to a 20% increase from last year.

As Seattle police concentrate efforts on getting a handle on this increasing issue, they ask the community to do their part as well. Police note that car prowlers are very motivated and will take every opportunity that comes their way. We should not make things easier for them than they already are.

Please review these tips to help prevent vehicle break-ins:

  • Park in well-lit areas whenever possible
  • Lock your car!
  • Set your car alarm if you have one
  • Don’t leave any valuables in view when leaving your car unattended
  • Put accessories out of sight (charging cords, etc.)
  • Store valuables in your trunk or glove box before you arrive at your destination
  • Do not store a spare key in your car
  • If things seem suspicious, trust your instinct and park elsewhere

Vehicle Prowling Law:

Under Washington State Statute, vehicle prowling is a gross misdemeanor, unless it is a third offense of vehicle prowling in the second degree or unless the vehicle prowled was a motor home. In these cases the crime is a class C felony:

-Vehicle prowling in the second degree –  RCW 9A.52.100

  • A person is guilty of vehicle prowling in the second degree if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a vehicle other than a motor home, as defined in RCW 46.04.305, or a vessel equipped for propulsion by mechanical means or by sail which has a cabin equipped with permanently installed sleeping quarters or cooking facilities.
  • Vehicle prowling in the second degree is a gross misdemeanor
  • Vehicle prowling in the second degree is a class C felony for a third conviction of the crime

-Vehicle prowling in the first degree –   RCW 9A.52.095

  • A person is guilty of vehicle prowling in the first degree if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he enters or remains unlawfully in a motor home, as defined in RCW 46.04.305, or in a vessel equipped for propulsion by mechanical means or by sail which has a cabin equipped with permanently installed sleeping quarters or cooking facilities.
  • Vehicle prowling in the first degree is a class C felony.

-Penalties:

  • gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000
  • Class C felonies are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

–Legal Representation

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a criminal offense involving vehicle prowling, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys are skilled and available to help protect your criminal record and to reach the best possible outcome. Before you pay any penalties or admit to any fault, it is essential that you consult a knowledgeable attorney. Please contact us today for a Free Consultation.