ORIGINAL 7:42 PM REPORT: The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council seldom draws citywide media coverage, but a crew from channel 7 dropped in tonight to hear what Seattle Police had to say – and what citizens wanted to ask – about the Beach Drive murder case. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen spent about half an hour talking, and answering questions. We have it all on video so you can see for yourself if you couldn’t be here; topline for starters – no breakthroughs to report, but Capt. Paulsen reiterated that if there was something the public needed to know to be safer, they wouldn’t hesitate to share it, and that the department “is putting everything we have” toward solving the case. The only bit of information about the case itself that he revealed, in response to a question, is that they do believe Greggette Guy was killed at or “very close to” the lower level of Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint, during “evening” hours (the night before her body was found half a mile north). The meeting is still under way; more to come.
ADDED 9:36 PM: Added the video atop this story. It begins when Capt. Paulsen started speaking about the case, after spending about a minute and a half discussing other crime trends (major topline: car prowls are down dramatically), but otherwise is unedited, running 26 minutes, until no one had any more questions and he yielded the floor. Along the way, you will hear him address a few unrelated questions, including one about the recent Westwood Village gunfire (bottom line, no one arrested yet, but the Gang Unit is handling the case, and they don’t believe it was a random occurrence). (Still more to add from the meeting, re: other topics. P.S. We have created a coverage archive for all stories about this case, while it remains unsolved – find it here, with, as always, newest stories first.)
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: In case you can’t view the video, we have transcribed Capt. Paulsen’s opening statement about the Beach Drive case, before he invited Q/A, which focused on safety questions overall. Read on for that and notes from the meeting’s other speaker, an insurance-fraud expert with some eye-opening insights into car theft:
The transcript of everything Capt. Paulsen said before taking questions:
“I would love to be able to explain or answer questions – because we take these so seriously, as this type of crime .. we hold a lot of stuff close because our goal is to have the most professional, detailed and complete investigation, our goal is to get this person and to see it successfully through the court system.wth that, I don’t want to compromise the integrity of the investigation. That is also very important for you.
I can tell you, I’ve worked out here in WS since 2005, your West Seattle parks are safe – they do get a little busier in the warmer months, obviously … but we just did a check on what is the crime rates over on both the parks over on beach drive .. i think a lot of you saw those numbers posted … … very low numbers … i think a … I am comfortable in telling you those parks are safe. In light of the tragic homicide … One of the things i have done is thrown some extra patrol cars down in the area, it’s not so muc going to catch somebody or anything, but … this type of crim causes a lot of fear and we want to subside that fear by having this presence down there for you all. .. Trying to think what else I’d like to say in regards to that ..
If there was something that you needed to know that as our public, our citizens out here in West Seattle about your safety that you needed to be concerned about because we’re not expressing anything to you about the details – just know if there was something that I was concerned for your safety as a community, we would tell you, trust me, we would tell you, we would take steps to make sure you were all safe, hopefully you can kind of read between the lines of my cryptic messaging on that, so …
From there, he mostly sought to reassure questioners who wondered about the safety of walking on the beach, and whether there were any “personal safety devices” he would specifically recommend (no).
He also noted that he was moved and impressed by the 75-plus turnout for the walk and vigil on Sunday night (WSB coverage here), as a symbol of the fact Beach Drive neighbors are banding together. (Read Beach Drive Blog‘s thoughts on the situation, here.) And he reiterated two things you’ve heard here before over and over again, but can stand to be repeated again:
*Don’t hesitate to call 911. Don’t even bother trying to remember the non-emergency number. “Please just use 911,” he said.
*Get involved with Block Watch. Organize one if you don’t have one. (And join the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network, which meets again next Tuesday – follow the link to its website to watch for details.)
Keeping an eye out in your neighborhood was also a theme of the group’s guest speaker, Scott Wagner of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
He had a long list of insurance-fraud crimes that might affect you – with a focus on cars. He talked about the 10 most-stolen cars – here’s the slide he put up with the current list:
Wagner declared that it would take him “about thirty seconds to steal one of these cars.” And he said those are often the models you’ll see “cruising your neighborhood,” since criminals tend to steal them to commit other crimes.
Some car thefts, he said, are springboards for other scams, such as stealing their vehicle-identification numbers, “cloning” cars – using one VIN for multiple stolen cars that are similar in appearance – etc. If you’re in the market for a used car, you can check its VIN at his organization’s website, nicb.org, he said.
If you’re selling, don’t fall for scams such as someone claiming they will have the money to buy the car as soon as an insurance settlement comes through. If you have questions and concerns, his organization has a hotline, 800-TELL-NICB (though it’s not a substitute for calling police, he said).
And if you happen to see a tow truck in your neighborhood, maybe even picking up a neighbor’s car or an abandoned car, don’t assume everything is legal and above-board – write down the time and the tow company’s name, Wagner suggested, because it might not be, and if a detective or fraud investigator comes around later asking if you saw anything, the information might be helpful.
Current top trends in car-theft include odometer fraud, component theft and resale – airbags are the biggest, according to Wagner, with GPS and DVD players right up there – and thefts of xenon headlights.
He discussed some high-tech equipment that’s circulating among auto thieves, but acknowledged it’s not very common.
UP NEXT FOR WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: After a quick vote at the end of the meeting, a nominating committee is in place to come up with a slate of officers for the volunteer group’s next election. Meantime, its next meeting will be April 17, 7 pm, at the Southwest Precinct as usual, and president Richard Miller says the guest speaker will be from the Parks Department.