West Seattle Crime Watch: ‘Huge spike’ in burglaries

April 19, 2011 at 9:14 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 48 Comments

2nd story from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (and we have a 3rd story to come, focusing on the 35th SW safety discussion): After something of a lull in residential burglaries, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen announced, there’s been a “huge spike” these past two weeks. How huge? The recent average has been 5 a week, he said, but suddenly “we are pushing almost 20.” Police suspect one or two people are responsible for most of the spike, he said, and they’re asking for community help in catching the culprits.

Capt. Paulsen says two “hot spots” have been the focus of most of the increase – the “William 1″ sector, Genesee/Admiral, and the “Frank 3″ sector (plus a bit westward), in the 35th/Thistle/Trenton/Barton area. Most of the burglaries are happening between 10 or 11 in the morning and 4 or 5 in the afternoon, he said, and the most common break-in method is kicking in the back door. They suspect “people we have arrested before” are to blame, though when we caught up with Capt. Paulsen toward meeting’s end, he stressed they do not have anyone specific identified yet, nor is there any specific description available to share with you – they just ask that you be extra-vigilant, particularly in those areas and during that time of day, and if you see/hear ANYTHING suspicious, call 911. “We’re putting as many resources as possible” toward stopping the burglary spike, added operations Lt. Pierre Davis. (Other crime trends, according to Capt. Paulsen, are more encouraging – car prowls and thefts are “trending downward,” and non-residential burglaries have ‘flat-lined.”)

48 Comments

  1. I live in this area (noted above). I work from home and “live” in both my back yard and my front yard. SPD are aprox. 1/4 mile from us. I have seen the police drive through our neighborhood exactly once in past three months. Why is that? I say again, as I have at least sixty times, why can’t they be visible? Why can’t/don’t they patrol our neighborhoods? Visibility patrols have worked in other parts of the country (world) and I am perplexed more and more why this doesn’t happen. I get they need to be in the “hood” all the time, but why can’t they change driving and predictability patterns? Trust me, the more they do it, the less people will wonder what BAD thing happened, and begin to realize the peace is being kept & that the cops are on *our* side. Geez, you might even see a cop stopping just to engage us in something other than “which way did ‘e go?” Novel concept, I know, but I hold out hope that such a day will come!

    Comment by WTF — 9:42 pm April 19, 2011 #

  2. Sorry I missed this meeting; does anyone know if there is are certain characteristics the burglars are looking for in the homes they hit? Apart from a back door that is presumably hidden, are they, for example, targeting homes without burglar alarms? Without dogs? With expensive automobiles in the driveway?
    .
    The question about burglar alarms in particular interests me, and it seems like a question that always comes up after such crime spikes.
    .
    In any event, I’m working from home and down in the Roxhill neighborhood, so I’ll keep my eyes on the happenings outside during the day.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 9:43 pm April 19, 2011 #

  3. BTS, I talked to the captain extensively after the meeting and that’s all the info we have so far. They’re just looking to break in, find something they can sell fast, and get out. Later after I finish the other story from the meeting, I’m going to take a look at the city crime map for the past couple weeks and see exactly where these all were – some of them have come in as Crime Watch reports, but certainly not all – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:47 pm April 19, 2011 #

  4. Are they breaking into homes that have goods visible from the doors? there must be more detail that can help us feel like we are able to set up a little prevention. There is a post on the crime watch page where the person had a dog that may have been hurt by the attacker. this is serious and scary!!! just noting my house could be robbed from 10-11 or 4-5 when people are at work is no help, just causes more fear! what helpful came out of that meeting?

    Comment by resident3 — 9:58 pm April 19, 2011 #

  5. I hope no burglers waste their time on my house. Would be a shame to break a window over an OLD laptop and my extentive handmade cloth diaper collection. Seriously, I can’t be the only one who owns essentially nothing of real value? Seems like these jobs must be cased beforehand.

    Comment by Owlish — 10:06 pm April 19, 2011 #

  6. Thanks for the info WSB

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 10:10 pm April 19, 2011 #

  7. Good question, WTF. Answers, anyone? I never see police cars in our neighborhood. It certainly wouldn’t solve the problem, but a strong police presence would help.

    Comment by Sonoma — 10:27 pm April 19, 2011 #

  8. Speaking of the 35th/Thistle/Trenton/Barton area there is a lot of police action going on at 35th & Cambridge. Not sure what has happened but there are 4 police cars, a firetruck, and an ambulance.

    Comment by 35thSWres — 10:39 pm April 19, 2011 #

  9. I don’t have your answers but I have to implore folks, as we have been saying for the 3 1/2 years that we have been covering the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meetings (the one in September 2007 was the very first event anywhere in which I stood up and introduced myself publicly as being from WSB!) – PLEASE PLEASE come to the meeting and ask your question sometime. If you are working or otherwise indisposed, send a family member. Send a neighbor. Our reports will cover the informational toplines but there is NO substitute for this rather extraordinary monthly opportunity to directly stand up and ask a top-ranking local police rep the question that’s on your mind (or if you don’t want to ask it publicly, ask it afterward). The reply might surprise you, might please you, might disappoint you, might anger you, but at least you get to hear, or not hear, something from the source. There are usually police reps at the Blockwatch Captains’ Network meetings too – their next one is 6:30 pm Tuesday (one week from tonight), also at the precinct – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:45 pm April 19, 2011 #

  10. Thanks, 35thSWres … the 911 log does not seem to be coming up at the moment so I don’t know what it was dispatched as … listening to scanner and hoping that if it’s anything ongoing, we’ll hear something! Will ping the precinct, too – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:58 pm April 19, 2011 #

  11. I live at College and California Ave SW. 2 weeks ago a man was going door to door knocking and looking in windows with pen and paper in hand. He was wearing blue sweatshirt with 87 on back and then took it off to show red and white soccer shirt. Black, 6’5″ thin, short hair. When he saw me call 911 he took off south on 44th. A black car was following him around. Never seen him in neighborhood before but will be watching.

    Comment by Kathleen — 8:01 am April 20, 2011 #

  12. If the police know the suspects… why doesn’t an undercover policeman follow them and catch them in the act?

    Comment by Alki Res. — 8:08 am April 20, 2011 #

  13. If I wasn’t clear enough, I apologize, but I clarified with the captain – they have some “educated guesses” but no definite tied-to-the-case suspects yet – they’re working on a variety of fronts to analyze evidence and hoping to catch the suspect(s) “in the act,” which is where the plea for community watchfulness comes in – ANY call of something suspicious could turn out to be THE call that nabs somebody – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:18 am April 20, 2011 #

  14. Have never had a problem although I do not lock my car -parked on the street- and I have forgotten to close my garage door (sometimes overnight!) on several ocassions. I will definitely be more careful.

    Comment by good egg — 8:28 am April 20, 2011 #

  15. Someone last summer was arrested in my back yard after trying to break in to a neighbors house near Fauntleroy & Juneau. I’m a stay at home mom (she was too), and that was the day I started checking the door/ window locks when I’m here with the baby alone. I’m not terrified, because there is obviously crime everywhere you go, but it’s unsettling to see how much of an upswing we’re on.

    Though why am I surprised? Our car was already stolen this year…

    Comment by ummm — 8:35 am April 20, 2011 #

  16. They hit my neighbor’s place (north 26th) and it seems they work in a pair. One break’s in early in the day and stashes the items nearby, the other comes back later to retrieve. My other neighbor saw the 2nd guy with a roll-away luggage, covered in a gray blanket and wires sticking out. That was what was stolen. Both times the police were called.

    Comment by ZS — 8:39 am April 20, 2011 #

  17. NOW, I have noticed West Seattle community is being victimized almost everyday!!

    Robbers, may I ask you a stupid question – why are you making West Seattle so special??? and youwant to steal our equipments and pay more out of our pockets for our damages and you make yourself more money to spend on whatever you need. Stop that!!! go and find somewhere to break in, NOT OURS!!!

    Its so hard to believe the crime rate drops from previous records, I do not comply the crime rates, look at this community.

    I have my Rotty standing by and he is so ready to snap their bottoms soon… Look out and try my ROTTY. Good luck!

    Comment by samson — 9:00 am April 20, 2011 #

  18. We lived in a small town(near a big town) in Florida. These break ins happened and were stopped immediately. The police would have unmarked cars all over the hood. Much like those that were lined up on 35th yesterday. However, the police cars were there to stop criminals and it took only 2 months to put a stop to the crimes.
    W. Seattle has the manpower. These criminal know they can get away with stealing cars and breaking in and that is why they do it. Also once they get caught they get out of jail. The neighbors in Florida were mostly East Coast and would not put up with stealing and neither would the police. There needs to be some deterents. Especially around this time of year when the weather is nice and people are out and about and leaving their windows open. If anyone is looking like they don’t belong in or near your neigborhood police were called in Florida-sounds prejudice but it usually was true. There is usually something wrong if something or someone does not look O.K.
    There should be no soliciting or strange cars or people rhoming around. The police and neighbors should be extra vigilant. Even if it is just people walking to get a bus or their car breaks down. If something/someone unusual is going on police should be on the look out and confront that person.

    Comment by lucy — 9:19 am April 20, 2011 #

  19. Both sectors are the entrances to West Seattle. More dragnets?

    Comment by common sense — 10:04 am April 20, 2011 #

  20. The last time I was burglarized, the cop said they were pretty sure who was doing it and even gave me his name! And immediately my case became “inactive,” with no arrest or recovery of my belongings, of course. I was run down by angry drivers twice (that I reported) on my bike (I was obeying the law both times – they both did it for fun and one nearly killed me) and the cops were not at all interested.
    :|
    So while I consider myself a good citizen and desperately WANT to be supportive of the police, it’s a challenge.

    Comment by amalia — 10:12 am April 20, 2011 #

  21. Instead of the daily speed trap at the bottom of Admiral, I’d rather see police resources used to keep our neighborhoods safe. I guess revenue generation wins out…

    Comment by jflateboe — 10:18 am April 20, 2011 #

  22. It seems to me that the burglaries increase during school break times – possibly because more homes are unoccupied due to vacations ?

    Comment by Jack Loblaw — 10:37 am April 20, 2011 #

  23. Posting this link to the SPD’s tips on how to make your doors less vulnerable to kicking in.
    http://wsblockwatchnet.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/new-seattle-police-newsletter-march-2011/

    Comment by Julia — 10:47 am April 20, 2011 #

  24. I am a retiree with a WA license to “carry.” I have 40+ years of experience involving the handling and use of firearms for both hunting and self-defense applications. I carry one of my handguns, loaded, on my person every day when I am at home. Warning to you scumballs out there: enter my home uninvited and you’re dead.

    Comment by Bill Brewer — 11:02 am April 20, 2011 #

  25. I live in F3 and I’m not particularly freaked out by any of this. I come from denser urban environs and these things are just kind of part of life, you take the good with the bad anywhere you go. The 20 a week number will regress back to the mean, and then pop back up, regress, etc. I also don’t own much worth stealing and my abode and vehicle make this pretty clear. I don’t want to get all Jesus-y on you, but they are just earthly possessions and all…

    ….I do wonder if any of the thieves read this blog though, because a good chunk of criminal motivation consists of the joy that comes from shaking suburban types up, as much as it is to pawn your Sony. And all it takes is a weekly crime report to get you people THOROUGHLY freaked, to the point where none of you seem bothered by the idea of racial profiling being touted regularly every time there’s a flareup. The thought of you all cowering and hugging your dogs and buying surveillance equipment is enough to make any criminal giddy. Cops make me more nervous than criminals. My liberty is much nicer than my TV. But then again, I have a pretty crappy TV. And have you SEEN my lawn? What’s going on in this country?

    Comment by ConcernedHedonist — 11:42 am April 20, 2011 #

  26. Hedonist- Maybe you’ll change your tune when you come home and find your belongings smashed all over the floor, your pet missing, your family photos gone, windows broken, and your house a total mess. I don’t have much expensive stuff either, but when I was robbed, it took weeks to get through the mess and hundreds of dollars (plus time away from work) for repairs. People aren’t “freaked out,” they are reasonably concerned with avoiding the expense and hassle of being violated. No need for you to be so sanctimonious and obnoxious.

    Comment by amalia — 11:58 am April 20, 2011 #

  27. My spouse was a police officer on the east coast on an infamously difficult and dangerous beat. It amazes us both that, in a relatively tame city like Seattle, specifically in West Seattle, we don’t see foot patrols and bike patrols all over the place! How did they make a difference when he was an officer? They made sure they were very visable to both the good and the bad guys. They knocked on doors. They rode down alleys in the middle of the day and night for the heck of it. I don’t want to hear about lack of manpower…that’s garbage. Reactive policing is ridiculous…proactive is more productive and much safer for EVERYONE involved.

    Comment by Not_So_New_Now — 12:13 pm April 20, 2011 #

  28. Friend’s house on Frontenac (Morgan Junction area) got hit at 5 a.m.. this morning. Two youths, age 17 and 18 were arrested, one other got away. Her German Shepard took off after the one that got away and returned 5 hours later. Hope he got a good chunk of the guy. Hopefully this is the group that’s been so busy lately. She was alone at the time with just her dogs and locked herself in the bathroom to call the police. Scary stuff!!!

    Comment by Martha — 12:15 pm April 20, 2011 #

  29. Thanks for the update, Martha, we’ll check with the precinct to see if they have anything more to say about these arrests … TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:22 pm April 20, 2011 #

  30. Also, she has a Great Dane and a German Shepherd. The Great Dane has been acting scared all day. No visible signs of injury though to either dog. I can’t believe these guys would still stick around and rifle through her stuff with such big dogs in the place~!

    Comment by Martha — 12:42 pm April 20, 2011 #

  31. Update: Checked with the precinct. No one was arrested for burglary this morning. Not sure about the circumstances shared by your friend, but they don’t have any arrests on record. So stay on the lookout (which is the advice the rest of the time anyway) – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:56 pm April 20, 2011 #

  32. I think you do not see regular patrols or beat walking because neighborhood Seattle officers spend most, if not all of their shifts responding to calls. In Seattle, there is one officer for every 461 residents. In Chicago for example, there is one officer for every 211 residents. That is a big difference. However, Chicagoans also pay what an average Northwesterner would consider an obscene amount of state and local taxes. Not advocating one way or another, just saying.

    Comment by CandrewB — 12:58 pm April 20, 2011 #

  33. CandrewB …. Balogna!

    Comment by Concerned — 1:33 pm April 20, 2011 #

  34. Well constructed argument.

    Comment by CandrewB — 2:00 pm April 20, 2011 #

  35. 10pm last night we came home to prowler in our back yard in William 1 area. Called police while one of us followed him in car and one followed him on foot. There seemed to be two-one in a red car and the man we followed was blond Caucasian 5’9″. Police showed in 2-3min…heads up if you live in the n. Admiral area!

    Comment by NAdmiral dwellers — 7:01 pm April 20, 2011 #

  36. wish we would hear more stories of burgalars breaking in homes and getting blasted..that might help prevent future would be thieves

    Comment by Paul — 8:24 pm April 20, 2011 #

  37. People at work, kids off on vacation, possibly check some kids as suspects?

    Comment by Mike — 9:41 pm April 20, 2011 #

  38. concerned hedonist – You must never have been through this sort of predicament yourself and I’m thinking you must not have any children either. Do you stop to think how this little ho-hum “part of life” of just having your home invaded by a criminal can be not only be upsetting for adults, but also very difficult for a child to process?? To heck with the stuff they stole – you feel personally violated!!!

    My house was broken into on Sunday. I have great insurance and will be able replace most of what we lost and the irreplaceable stuff is, after all, just stuff. But there is no policy one can take out to calm a child’s fear that it could happen again. The uneasiness an incident like this brings is much more difficult than simply being ripped off – especially for children. As a parent I have been chasing my tail to restore my son’s security for three days with less than stellar results.

    You are, of course, entitled to have your own opinion, but perhaps you could broaden your perspective a little? Maybe you wouldn’t mind these losers inviting themselves into your personal space and rifling through it, but I do mind – quite a lot actually – as does my child.

    Comment by Ella98126 — 11:13 pm April 20, 2011 #

  39. Get a dog. Be able to protect your self/family if something happens. Yelling at them seldom works. Dont advertise what is in your house. If you want to put a huge flat screen in your front window and keep the blinds open all day you should expect that somebody will see it. Security mindset. They are free. Good luck and Be safe.

    Comment by Kevin — 10:15 am April 21, 2011 #

  40. Kevin your right. Get a dog. Go to the pound and adopt a pitbull. or any large dog. When you have a dog and someone strange comes to the door You know sales man or petition signer if they ask about the dog always tell them they bit and please step back. This has worked every time. they leave right away. Also,I always leave my car open It is ceaper for crooks just to open the door and find nothing then break a window and find nothing. It is the deductible that cost money.

    Comment by foy boy — 10:44 am April 21, 2011 #

  41. NAdmiral dwellers ,
    Any additional description of the red car would be great.

    Comment by Resident3 — 1:32 pm April 21, 2011 #

  42. My car got burglarized last night. They stole my gps. I know I shouldn’t have left it in the car. We just moved to gate wood neighborhood and this is just horrible this happened to us justvwhen we were getting to like the area. I feel very unsafe reading other blogs also and now this happened. Of course police was no help whatsoever. Watch out for prowlers on sw Myrtle street by the water tower.

    Comment by Newbie — 1:25 pm April 22, 2011 #

  43. I live in a small condo building near the Admiral Junction. I just got an email from one of my neighbors about some unknown men in our building this afternoon.
    “Two soliciters, or scammers, not sure which, were somehow let into our bldg this evening, around 6pm. Unfortunately, I did open my door, as I
    didn’t hear any buzzer ring so I figured it was a neighbor at the door and I couldn’t see who it was through my peep hole.

    These two guys also came to [another resident's] door, as well as [third resident]. From what I was told by them, they said a “woman” let them in.”

    From other comments, it seems likely that we were visited by some of the same men others have mentioned. Not being home at the time myself, I don’t have a description, but I’ll see if I can get one from the neighbor that talked to them.

    Comment by kendjra — 8:40 pm April 22, 2011 #

  44. This is the description my neighbor provided regarding strangers in our building on Friday evening:
    The description is this: both black, the one knocking/talking is tall, probably 6’3″. The other one stood to the side and was my height, 5’6″. I want to say they were maybe African, but definitely not Somali or Ethopian- some kind of other slight accent. The tall one spoke so fast I barely understood what he said. Something about a mentor program and not selling anything.

    Comment by kendjra — 8:49 am April 24, 2011 #

  45. “Instead of the daily speed trap at the bottom of Admiral, I’d rather see police resources used to keep our neighborhoods safe. I guess revenue generation wins out…”

    Yes!

    Comment by Sean — 4:28 pm April 24, 2011 #

  46. I live in the central district and had some afternoon visitors about a month ago, I have some great pictures of the young men attempting to break into my home – they realize their are cameras and take off. Unfortunate they drove their car right to the front door. Small compact silver pontiac – G6 I believe – first young man comes to the front door, they then park the car and all three attempt to pick the door lock – seems one of them fancies himself as a locksmithy – he left his tool behind along with his prints. They then try kicking my front window three times – “looks like some show that could be on funniest home video’s – his pants falling off practically and he hurts his foot trying to kick thru my brick lined windows” they then go to the back yard, get a rock – while looking into the camera’s & break the back window – old reach your hand inside thru the window and run scared —reading signage but I suppose when you do not attend school in the afternoon you miss reading LA class. What happened to the days when you skipped school you got caught?

    Comment by Justina — 11:28 pm April 26, 2011 #

  47. http://i1115.photobucket.com/albums/k554/recordgirl/New%20west%20Seattle%20blog/3df70664.jpg
    http://i1115.photobucket.com/albums/k554/recordgirl/New%20west%20Seattle%20blog/3df70664.jpg
    Photo of two young men knocking on doors looking in windows as we were walking our dog. We felt it was necessary to take a photo. They confronted us, pretended to be lost than disappeared. Just an FYI. We r new to this neighborhood and have already had our car burglarized and my gps got stolen.
    The first week we moved here we had a man fitting the description from prior posts knock on our door and give the same info -new to sales, training etc. He provided some sort of an id. Did not explain what he was selling, kept rambling and left after we said not interested. Since than we have spent hundreds of dollars on every security system possible HA! Cameras, every door, window alarms etc. Being new to the area it made us very uncomfortable to encounter multiple negative incidences. However, we still love the neighborhood and people have been extremely nice… I guess we are more aware now that these kind of suspicious and criminal activities are very high in this area and wanted to take precautions.
    This blog certainly helps. Wish we had signed on sooner…I guess you live and learn…. Thanks everyone for all your helpful input…
    Click to Edit
    Comment by Newbie — April 29, 11 11:21 pm #

    Comment by Newbie — 11:39 pm April 29, 2011 #

  48. Dogs deter. Also, close your blinds when you leave and leave. I would also suggest a louisville slugger under the bed for when you are home at night. Work on that home run swing and get ready to hit the hoodlum outof the paahhhhrk! Fly away scum bag!

    Comment by Dirk Digler — 9:12 am May 12, 2011 #

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