Reader Question of the Day: When Are Burglars Busiest?

From time to time I get reader questions about crime in my inbox.

Here’s a question about burglaries Seattlecrime reader David sent in last week:

I am curious to know when the likeliest time to get hit [is].

I assume that cops, robbers (and you?) know when.

Is it the same in most Neighborhoods? Or are there demographic variations?

Fewer in Washingon Park because everyone (I assume) has an alarm system[?]

I called up a Seattle detective to ask about the busiest times for burglaries, and was told that most break-ins occur “during the day when you’re at work.” Burglary detectives are also typically busier in the summer—when people leave windows open and unlocked—and around the holidays, when there’s more stuff to steal.

The detective I spoke with also says predicting which neighborhoods burglars will target is a “non-exact science,.” Burglars aren’t very picky, and they’ll go wherever they think they can find something to steal.

When police do discover there’s a pattern burglar working in a neighborhood—like the burglar who targeted a number of homes in the Roosevelt and Maple Leaf neighborhoods over the summer—they’ll usually assign detectives or officers out in unmarked cars to patrol hard-hit areas to keep an eye out for suspicious people prowling around backyards and peeking in windows.

Police tell us alarm systems “definitely do” act as a deterrent for burglars, there are other things you can do to protect yourself and your neighbors: setting up a block watch, and calling police if you see suspicious people poking around in your neighbors’ yards and houses.

The detective we spoke with told us “of all the burglars I’ve ever caught, it was because someone made a 911 call.”

If you’ve got a crime question you’d like answered, email it to me at, and I’ll get you an answer.