Mukilteo burglary up; crime down

MUKILTEO — The crime rate in Mukilteo appears to be falling, but the change machines at Harbour Pointe Auto Bath tell a different story.

Thieves have bashed and pried open the change machines several times since Mark McCalmon bought the business in February 2006. Although McCalmon has only lost about $200 during the thefts, he’s had to spend thousands of dollars on repairs and security equipment, he said.

McCalmon, a 17-year Mukilteo resident, was among the small crowd who attended a town-hall meeting Wednesday about crime in the city.

Mukilteo Police Chief Mike Murphy and other police department officials reviewed the city’s statistics for burglaries, robberies and other crimes, as well as crime-prevention tips.

The meeting didn’t make McCalmon feel any better.

“They’re too busy selling Mukilteo as a good place to live, instead of doing what needs to be done,” McCalmon said.

Mukilteo police data shows the city’s overall crime rate has dropped since last year, when Mukilteo and several other cities in Snohomish County experienced a surge in criminal activity, Murphy said.

Burglaries were perhaps the biggest problem in Mukilteo in 2006, hitting 191, nearly double the previous year. Most of the problem could be traced to one group of thieves, who eventually were arrested, Mukilteo detective Lance Smith said. Once the crooks were caught, the number of burglaries dropped off.

Gone are the days when people in Mukilteo can safely leave their cars unlocked or their garage doors open, police said. People can protect themselves by taking simple precautions such as parking in visible, well-lit areas or getting to know their neighbors.

“We’re in a day and age now where people will just walk into your garage and take something,” Smith said.

Still, crime in Mukilteo isn’t as bad as it is in neighboring cities, said Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine, who attended the town hall meeting. The city’s crime rate in 2006 was 44.7 crimes per 1,000 people, compared with 95 crimes per 1,000 people in Everett or 89 crimes per 1,000 people in Lynnwood for the same year, according to federal statistics.

“We are not a crime-rampant community,” Marine said. “We’re very lucky in that way.”

Bill Drake, a board member for the Possession Bay Homeowners Association, came to the town hall meeting on behalf of his neighborhood. Although he hasn’t noticed a spike in the crime rate, many of his neighbors have been hit by criminals during recent years, he said.

“Until you start talking to your community and your neighbors, you don’t realize there are vulnerabilities until it happens to you,” Drake said.

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or

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