Spike in crime for Benton County

BENTON COUNTY - The KEPR Crime Tracker is learning of an outbreak of car prowls -- mailbox thefts -- and home burglaries. Thieves are hot on the trail of your Christmas presents.

Corky is just like any grandma. Carefully crafting presents -- ready to ship in the mail.
Her only worry? Thieves.

"Yeah, I worry about that immensely," said Finley Resident Corky.

Corky's trailer park in Finley was recently hit by a series of mailbox thefts.

"It's extremely frustrating," exclaimed Corky.

Her situation is not isolated -- Benton County is reporting a handful of problem spots for theft -- car prowls and burglaries.

They include Paul's Trailer Court and Kelly Estates in Finley. Also the west end of Benton County -- along King Tull Road and West Hanks. And a pock of Benton County in unincorporated Kennewick -- near Arrowhead and Jefferson. Car prowlers have targeted that area near Canal Drive in recent weeks.

"Whatever present you just bought for your mom is going to someone else's mom," said Benton County Sheriff's Deputy Joe Lusignan.

It reflects a bigger trend. Crime in Benton County is down compared to the five year average. However, theft from vehicles, thefts and residential burglaries are all close to matching last year's numbers.

"This time of the year, these things start to trend upwards," explained Lusignan.

The Sheriff's department says it's increasing patrols and trying to boost awareness. But community action goes a long ways. It's all about simply locking-up.

"They'll take advantage of those of us in our society who are a little bit too trusting," said Lusignan.

So far no arrests have been made in connection to these. To avoid becoming a victim -- always park in a well-lit area -- and don't put the red flag up on your mailbox if you put cards or checks inside.