West Seattle Crime Watch: Vandal driver(s) tear up Hiawatha lawn

Police are investigating vandalism on the east lawn of Hiawatha Community Center. An officer arrived while we were there looking at the damage a neighbor had called to tell us about. One or more vehicles drove over the east lawn – in repeated circles/criss-crosses, tearing up the grass in the area used for so many community events:

The neighbor who called us said it happened overnight – he believes he heard the noise of whatever vehicle(s) did this, but didn’t realize at the time what it was. The tire tracks are on the north side of the east lawn too:

We did not see any equipment or building damage, though, and it wasn’t clear what direction the driver(s) came from – there is a driveway but the locked bollards were up. The site is owned by Seattle Parks, and we won’t be able to check with them till Tuesday because of the holiday.

45 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Vandal driver(s) tear up Hiawatha lawn"

  • CandrewB January 14, 2012 (12:48 pm)

    A-Hole move, but the grass will have repaired itself by Spring.

  • smokeycretin9 January 14, 2012 (12:58 pm)

    Parents of West Seattle. Do you know where your teenager is at night?

  • S5 January 14, 2012 (1:42 pm)

    Oh, no… I think I heard this too. About 4:30am or so? I live across from Hiawatha and woke up to a loud car, revving its engine, repeatedly. Sad.

  • MB January 14, 2012 (2:00 pm)


  • Sgt. Hartman January 14, 2012 (2:05 pm)

    I think 100 hours of community service groundskeeping for Parks & Recreation sounds about right.

  • Neighbor January 14, 2012 (2:30 pm)

    Isn’t there a camera attached to the building? This costs us taxpayers hundreds of dollars everytime it happens. A single car on the turf causes so much soil compaction that it takes 30 years for the soil structure to repair itself. Seems to me that an appropriate sentence would be the ass**** who did this should be required to turn the entire site over by hand and lay new sod or he should be jailed until the grass grows back to it’s original state.

  • Kristi M January 14, 2012 (2:35 pm)

    I think the vandals also were at Whale Tail Park as it almost looks the same.

  • ohthehorror January 14, 2012 (2:41 pm)

    @smokeycretin9 – From what I see in my WS neighborhood, it’s not that the parents don’t know, it’s that they don’t care. Destroying property is just another form of self-expression, right?

  • josh January 14, 2012 (2:52 pm)

    Maybe some trees or a blockade separating the park from the road would prevent this from happening again?

  • visitor January 14, 2012 (3:08 pm)

    Likewise, Alki Playground is worse than Hiawatha. OMG.

  • Alvis January 14, 2012 (3:15 pm)

    Whoever caused this damage will likely brag that WSB ran a story about it. Please add a police phone number to the story and urge anyone with inside information to call that number on Tuesday. Thanks.

    • WSB January 14, 2012 (5:04 pm)

      Alvis, we always weigh that, but unlike tagging vandalism, where generally there is a “tag” that proves it’s person X, nobody knows this is person X unless they actually tell people, which would be idiotic. I expect to follow up. Maybe Parks has a reward fund for prosecution. I also took a couple of close up photos of the tire tracks, in case it is relevant …
      Sorry to hear about the other sites. Hiawatha is the only one someone called us about, or I would have gone over and checked those out too. Will look tomorrow if it’s not covered in snow. I wondered if perhaps they expected it to be snowed over before anyone even noticed.

  • LAP January 14, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    Stinkers! Shame, shame, shame on you!

  • Aman January 14, 2012 (3:42 pm)

    Better than bullets flying through our hood. It’s called a “lawn-job.” Nice wet-grass makes it EZ & Fun to do 360 degree turns. I’m not condoning this however.

    Maybe if the weather turns snowy the perpetrators can move to large vacant parking lots and achieve the same thrill without destroying the lawn?

  • CSW January 14, 2012 (3:55 pm)

    Infuriating!!!! I think punishment should be MORE than community service. How can people be so disrespectful? They could have done the same stupid thing in a parking lot and not caused the damage.

  • L January 14, 2012 (3:58 pm)

    Can’t imagine the emptiness, anger and lack of talent that would prompt someone to tear up a community’s property like this. What an achievement! “Look at me, I’m in the news! See what I can do?! I AM somebody!”

    Get a life! Nobody thinks you’re cool.

  • sna January 14, 2012 (4:44 pm)

    these tracks also appear on the street right of way grass in front of a few North Admiral homes.

  • LHen January 14, 2012 (5:08 pm)

    We live a few blocks north of Hiawatha, and our damage is not even close to as bad, but someone drove over our lawn last night, too. Woke up this morning to tire tracks all over the lawn, parking strip, and 2 neighbors’ parking strips. The car actually woke me up last night- loud engine revving- but I also didn’t realize at the time what was happening. I am just thankful they missed our cars. Still frustrating though!

  • PT January 14, 2012 (5:23 pm)

    Seattle @ 45th and Atlantic @ 45 – they ran right up on the parking strip, around parked cars and back down to the street. I often walk my dog very early in the morning in the dark & wonder what could happen…

  • miws January 14, 2012 (5:41 pm)

    TR, taking the close-ups of the tracks could be quite relevant, depending how deeply the authorities can/want to investigate this.


    The brand/model of the tire can be determined by tread pattern, and sometimes if there is a flaw in the tread on a particular tire, that can show up in the tracks.



  • nw ryan January 14, 2012 (5:48 pm)

    Boys will be boys…..unfortunately

  • sam-c January 14, 2012 (5:59 pm)

    disgusting. can’t believe some jerk would do that.

  • SeekingEuros January 14, 2012 (6:04 pm)

    NW Ryan… That comment exemplifies the attitude that this is an acceptable part of youth. It is not. It is destruction of public property, and should not be condoned or taken lightly. I hope this individual is caught and prosecuted for vandalism.

  • norsk girl January 14, 2012 (6:08 pm)

    “boys will be boys”. Please explain because to me it seems like you are giving this criminal and moronic behavior excuse. Just because someone is of the male gender and younger in age does not mean he is hard-wired to be a criminal and behave like a moron.

  • nw ryan January 14, 2012 (6:13 pm)

    I don’t condone it seeking euros, or the fact you want to utilize euros, but honestly…utilizing tax payer dollars to analyze tire tracks for doing dohnuts in the grass will cost ten fold what the grass repair will. Maybe if more parenting and less blogging was going on this wouldn’t have happened.

    • WSB January 14, 2012 (8:36 pm)

      NW Ryan, nobody is “blogging” here. We don’t “blog,” we report – and everybody else here is commenting about and/or reading the news.
      Also for everyone, as the parent of a teenager (whose whereabouts we ARE aware of), please don’t assume it was teenagers. There are idiots in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and yes, my bracket, 50s. I would like to think that toward the upper ranges we are not so wantonly disregarding of others’ property, but you know what? I have covered a kazillion crime cases (from this level crime to injurious/deadly crime) and can tell you, sadly, otherwise. I have no idea if anyone called to report what they heard overnight but if nothing else, I hope this story – and thanks again to the Hiawatha neighbor who called us; this IS the type of crime that plagues our city most, property crime, general disorder – might mean the next person who hears something like this in the middle of the night realizes a vandalism spree might be in progress … TR

  • AdmiralRob January 14, 2012 (7:20 pm)

    They ran across my parking strip. Wish I could get my hands on the little bastards!

  • S January 14, 2012 (7:51 pm)

    People have NO respect for anything anymore or anyone. Its sickning. Hop someone got a look at the car(s) that did this damage to all damaged areas. I’m sick of the youth of today thinking they are entitled to things and thinking they can do such things to other people’s property, or to city property and getting away with it. More than likely this was some punk ass kid alone or with friends thinking.. HEY! lets do this.. BECAUSE WE CAN!… Their parents ARE partly to blame… Society is also Partly to blame. Discipline has been nonexistent the last 20 years… Its disgusting. Hope they are caught and made to make the messes they have made right.

  • Steph January 14, 2012 (7:54 pm)

    People suck.

  • nw ryan January 14, 2012 (9:12 pm)

    I’m sorry TR. I don’t mean to offend. But I thought this was west Seattle blog, not west Seattle news. I appreciate what you do and it brings a whole new angle to journalism that has been missing for too long. But please don’t be critical of me sharing my opinion when it is exactly what type of interaction that is needed, and the very foundation, for this type of community outlet.


    • WSB January 14, 2012 (9:43 pm)

      Not being critical; opinions are welcome and have been voiced in the comment section more than 153,000 times in the site’s lifetime. My point is a factual correction and we have to make it now and then. The word “blogging” is a weird sort of artifice when used to describe any kind of content creation – “blog” is just a publishing format (imagine if we said people were “newspapering” or “televisioning”). I rue the day we used the word “blog” to create this site, which started as something else different, but like many businesses whose mission changes along the way, for now we have to live with it! (West Seattle News is too generic for a site name but we do use it on Twitter @westseattlenews … in addition to @westseattleblog.) – thanks, TR

  • jgmirs January 14, 2012 (9:34 pm)

    Personally, I always chalk these kinds of things up to poor parents and poor upbringing. I agree with many other posters before me.

  • Westside J. January 14, 2012 (9:34 pm)

    It could be crop circles, done by aliens.. I think there are clues we should be looking for!!

  • datamuse January 14, 2012 (9:48 pm)

    Hey nw ryan, what’s the difference between blog and news?

  • Neighbor January 14, 2012 (11:24 pm)

    Come folks fess up who out there has done similar? I have years and years ago on a number of lots in west seattle this place further west. The now collenade under I-5 I gratefully have grown up and view this same behavior as malice and degrading. Vandals? Weren’t the vandals an army of some sort that were not paid for services provided to the Romans and so they pillaged and stole from them in order to receive payment. They left behind chaos and damage. The vandals they were known as afterwards.
    This is horrible and I hope they catch these individuals.
    Say a prayer for them.

  • waterworld January 15, 2012 (12:33 am)

    I respect what Tracy says about not assuming we know this was done by kids. On the other hand, looking at the FBI statistics for vandalism crimes last year, fewer than 20% were committed by people over 35. More than 60% were committed by people under 25. As for the boys will be boys thing, the FBI data confirms that 82% of the time, its men who are arrested for vandalism. So I don’t think people’s gut suspicions are entirely unwarranted. The good news is that vandalism crimes, like most others, continue to go down, year after year.

  • velo_nut January 15, 2012 (5:57 am)

    Maybe coyotes stole a car and went for a joy ride.

  • miws January 15, 2012 (7:53 am)

    I have to agree with waterworld.


    Although it’s quite possible it’s teens, and perhaps that assumption come from the park being nest to WSHS, it’s probably equally possible it was someone older. Perhaps in their 20’s, or even 50’s,


    Ahhhh speculation! (And yeah, I’m guilty of it too! ;-) )



  • Gina January 15, 2012 (9:02 am)

    Some big rocks here and there around the edges of the parks would act as a vehicle barrier in the future, and kids like climbing on them. Organic, non-toxic.

  • questionable January 15, 2012 (9:47 am)

    While it’s true that young males tend to vandalize more than other demographics, while we’re assigning blame to fit our prejudices, it could be said that this was the work of a particularly incompetent driver, perhaps of the elderly or female persuasion.

  • thomas January 15, 2012 (10:41 am)

    Ryan typifies what’s wrong with West Seattle and, more specifically, the High Point area. I’m sure he’d care more if it was his yard that was destroyed.

  • KeithN January 15, 2012 (10:47 am)

    to those who had their parking strips messed up also, recommendation is to add rock features. I converted mine all the way to a rockery after getting sick and tired of these idiots reckless behavior…suffice to say they don’t go near my parking strip anymore. hopefully the solution for the public land is to put up barriers or concrete posts to prevent access…

  • Neighbor January 15, 2012 (4:11 pm)

    This snow brought back more memories of being pulled behind a friends pickup truck on my snowboard during deeper snows in my home town of West Seattle and carving fresh tracks thru most likely your front yard. Don’t recommend it at all. I am fortunate and grateful to have all my limbs still and the rest sort of together. Completely forgot about this until I was outside shoveling the sidewalk out front. Good times!

  • KD January 15, 2012 (4:46 pm)

    Questionable…,really? I like Westside J and Velo_nut theories much better than yours. It probably was car stealing-crop circle making-alien coyotes! In reality, to another much referenced WSB commenters term: Karma! Again, say prayers they turn around and make retribution someday.

  • Neighbor January 15, 2012 (7:01 pm)

    Questionable … really? Is that KD towards my comment above yours? If so yes true it happened, one can accomplish alot with sufficient momentum.

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