By Doug Petrowski
Many hope the new Arbor Village Apartments development, on the corner of 236th Street Southwest and 56th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace, will become a magnet for new residents and further economic growth in the city. But for now, the construction site seems to be a magnet for thieves and trespassers.
Over the past three weeks, police have been called three times to the site during early morning hours to apprehend suspected burglars. The latest incident occurred at 4:35 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, when Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds police officers arrested two men found running from the site. (See video above.)
Police credit the video surveillance system being utilized at Arbor Village for the ability to apprehend suspects quickly. “The security system that the company has is working very well,” Mountlake Terrace Police Commander Doug Hansen said. “I believe it has made the difference in our response and the apprehensions we have had at the construction site.”
The system being used is the latest technology for security of construction sites, according to Jim Payne, President of Secure Pacific Corporation. The Washington state company provides security for commercial and residents customers throughout the Northwest, including at the Arbor Village site.
Motion-triggered cameras and audio sensors are set up around the area needing security, Payne explained. If motioned is detected, video and/or audio is sent to the company’s verification center in Everett, where operators determine if police need to be called to the site.
“Ninety-nine percent of alarms are false,” Payne said. “Our system assists law enforcement in that they are called only if there is an actual threat to the premises.”
In the burglary attempts at Arbor Village, video images of trespassers at the construction site were captured by the surveillance cameras and seen by Secure Pacific operators, who then notified the Mountlake Terrace Police Department that crimes were taking place. The system is more effective, and less expensive, then hiring security guards to parole a site, Payne added.
The video images from the Jan. 18 incident show one suspect handling some tubing at the site. “The thieves are stealing anything they can — tools, copper,” said Commander Hansen. Payne agreed that burglars are going after any pipes or wiring that contains copper, but also “anything they can find of any value.”
While the Arbor Village site may contain enticements for thieves, they should be forewarned: step inside that construction fence and you are being watched.