West Seattle Crime Watch: Latest trends, plus 5 reader reports

November 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm | In Crime, West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 14 Comments

Just back from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. The transit discussion – which swerved back and forth across just about every imaginable bus-related issue that’s come up recently – will be in a story all its own. So we’ll start this Crime Watch roundup with the WSCPC meeting-opening briefing on crime trends, followed by 5 reader reports we’ve received.

The briefing:

Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen said that a spike in property crimes about a month ago is over because of recent arrests – the rate had dropped back down in the past week or so. He says the year overall remains on track around 20 percent below last year’s property-crime rate – a year that in turn was about 20 percent above the long-term average.

Another “bump” may be ahead, he warned, because it’s “that crazy time of the year, the holidays,” when thieves and burglars are after items you’ve bought for gifts, maybe even before you get them into your vehicle or home: “(When shopping) you become more of a target, so be aware of your surroundings, look around,” Capt. Paulsen warned, adding that there will be more police presence at Westwood Village and The Junction – not on overtime, but by “shuffling around” resources. He also cautioned people to arrange for deliveries in ways that won’t lead to packages unattended on front doors.

Betty asked about the Fairmount Springs break-in reports that circulated one week ago (they’re in this WSB Crime Watch roundup), apparently targeting homes inhabited by women, home alone. The cases were news to Capt. Paulsen and Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn, who monitor for patterns, but said these hadn’t surfaced as one. Another attendee said she had come to ask about the incidents too, and the perception that there might be a known suspect who hadn’t yet been arrested. Police promised to check into these cases ASAP.

One attendee brought up mail theft and asked if police could “set up a sting.” Short answer: No, since it’s a federal-jurisdiction crime, but if you see it happening, do call 911, the citizen was told, since, Capt. Paulsen said, they have caught mail thieves “over the years.” He was also advised to look into a locked mailbox. Immediately after the exchange, he and Officer Kiehn started a followup conversation.

Now, Part 2 of this roundup: The latest reader reports – five in all, the first two with photos:

Kevin shares that photo from 45th and Dakota and reports:

Late (last) night/ early AM, someone stole the taillight assemblies from my 2012 Toyota pickup. It was a neat job, but the dealer says they are $249 each to replace. Two days ago my neighbors found an abandoned, but new, auto emergency kit on their front curb. It looks like someone’s working the neighborhood

Next, a photo that might help solve a burglary:

Louis is circulating that surveillance photo in hopes someone recognizes the silver car with the extensive rear-end damage. He says it’s linked to a burglary on the south end of Beach Drive that happened between noon and 2:30 pm November 5th. Contact police if you know whose car it might be.

A victim of vandalism, who wanted to be anonymous, reports:

I woke up this morning to find that my car that I parked on Delridge Way and Alaska was egged. 2x on the driver’s door/window and 1x on roof of my car. … I have no reason to believe anyone that I knew could have done this.

The victim says it happened sometime between Sunday night and this morning.

Doug reported last Friday that his “townhouse @ 17th and Henderson St SW was broken into but nothing was taken. Amazing. The downstairs sliding glass door was broken out. It appears person(s) were inside. My front door was unlocked when I got home. Can’t believe nothing was taken.”

And finally, Sarah in the 6000 block of Fauntleroy reports something last night that might not have been linked to crime, but she offered a heads-up just in case:

Before 9:00 pm a man dressed in black clothing wearing a baseball hat was knocking on my door. He wouldn’t look up so I could see his face through the peep hole. He had a clip board in hand and was flipping through the papers, making it look like he was checking something. The knocking was light and constant but not loud enough for my neighbor to hear. I watched him through the peep hole but never asked who it was or answered the door. It seemed suspicious. I hope no one else falls for this and opens their doors.

Police have said it before and they said it again tonight: If you see anything suspicious, call 911. (Sarah did.)

14 Comments

  1. Break-in on the 5600 block of 41st tonight (probably while this meeting was going on).

    Comment by Brontosaurus — 1:24 am November 21, 2012 #

  2. Sorry to hear that. The tweet is time-stamped 10:43 pm but I have noticed, comparing incidents we covered or heard on the scanner to their entries on Twitter, that the time-stamp may be when the report was filed, rather than the incident time: https://twitter.com/SeattlePDW2/statuses/271147190288781314

    Comment by WSB — 1:37 am November 21, 2012 #

  3. Not sure if you have heard about this one or if it was reported, but I haven’t seen it yet……
    A friend who lives off of Fauntleroy near Fairmont Park said a neighbor emailed the neighborhood about a man being dropped on her front doorstep. A thud was heard from inside her home and she checked the front porch because she thought it was a package. It was a man in the fetal position, not moving. She opened her door and he lunged at her. She stepped back into her home, slammed the door and instinctively locked the deadbolt. He immediately ran away.
    Scary.

    Comment by NorDel — 7:32 am November 21, 2012 #

  4. Kevin,
    Bummer that they took your tailights. I just had to replace mine. A lot of dealers sell these through ebay for much less than the retail dealer prices if you have not replaced them yet. They essentially plug right in. (and obviously unplug) Consider using tamper-proof screws where they attach behind the tailgate.

    Comment by Delridge Believer — 7:37 am November 21, 2012 #

  5. NorDel, that sounds like the one incident in this Crime Watch Round-up linked above.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 7:48 am November 21, 2012 #

  6. Thanks, Mike – yes, that’s one of the two incidents that were reported on the Fairmount Springs mailing list one week ago (at which time at least half a dozen people forwarded it to us, and we added to our Crime Watch roundup, minus names and specific addresses), and which were brought up at last night’s meeting. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:06 am November 21, 2012 #

  7. As for package delivery, check with your employer, many times you can have items shipped to your office, which is WAY safer than sitting on your front door step all day. And locking mailboxes, well expensive (McLendons 149.99) are a huge saver. Many on my street have the idential box and we have had no issues.

    Comment by coffee — 8:26 am November 21, 2012 #

  8. Another option for Amazon deliveries is Amazon Lockers. They ship to the locker and text you a code that you can use for pick up. Looks like there aren’t any locations in West Seattle yet but others sprinkled throughout the city. I’ve been using it for a while and won’t go back to deliveries on my doorstep.

    You can check for locations at https://www.amazon.com/gp/css/account/address/view.html. [Edited to add link]

    Comment by mary — 9:37 am November 21, 2012 #

  9. Another option for UPS package delivery is to use UPS My Choice. You can customize your delivery options such as where you want the driver to leave the package, have emails or text sent when the package is out for delivery and when it gets delivered and even have it re-routed to a UPS Store.

    But the best option remains to either have the package shipped with signature required or have it sent to your place of employment.

    Comment by Brian — 9:56 am November 21, 2012 #

  10. I’m glad you reported it. I must have missed that somehow.
    Thanks again for keeping our community informed!

    Comment by NorDel — 12:13 pm November 21, 2012 #

  11. Regarding Sarah’s report of the suspicious man knocking on the door, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s linked to the case of the man on the porch reported last week. I posted a comment on that report last week with a description of a suspicious man my girlfriend encountered in the alleyway behind our townhouse (we live right near 40th and Juneau). In response to that comment, the woman who reported the man on her porch said that my description seemed to match the man who was on her porch. That incident occurred about a block north and a block west of where my girlfriend and I live, and this new incident reported by Sarah occurred about a block south of where we live.

    Furthermore, this past Saturday night my girlfriend may have had another sighting of the man she saw in the alley last week, though it was dark when she returned home, so she could not tell for sure. There was a silver sedan (she thought perhaps a Pontiac, but wasn’t positive) awkwardly parked in a spot in our little row of parking spots behind the cluster of townhomes where we live. We’ve lived in our place for a year now, and this was the first time she’d ever seen this car. (My girlfriend parks in our one alotted parking spot and I park on the street in front of our place). There are usually just two cars in the row of spaces – my girlfriend’s, and the car belonging to the young woman who lives in one of the units behind us. So Saturday night was odd because there was this third car parked tightly at the end of the row. As my girlfriend arrived, the driver was sitting in the car, and was talking to a young woman who was standing outside the car. My girlfriend believed the young woman was the woman who lives right behind us (the owner of the other car that is always parked there), but again it was dark and she couldn’t tell for sure. My girlfriend caught a glimpse of the driver’s face, and he looked right back at her for a few seconds. Her heart started pounding because she was had a feeling it may have been the same suspicious man she had seen in the alleyway earlier in the week. She got out of her car and quickly walked down the steps to our house and got inside and locked the door. Not completely sure if it was the same guy as before, but it was a little suspicious.

    The best description my girlfriend has given of the suspicious guy is that he has a very round head. If you read this comment, Sarah, would that describe the guy who was knocking on your door?

    There was also a night I believe a month or two ago where someone was knocking on our door at an odd hour of the evening – later than any delivery person would have knocked at. They kept knocking and when my girlfriend didn’t answer the door, they tried the doorbell. She stayed put on the couch and didn’t answer the door. Unfortunately the front door on the place we are renting does not have a viewport, so we cannot discretely peek out at anyone who is knocking on the door. All of these events have happened when my girlfriend was home alone, so I have yet to catch a glimpse of anything suspicious myself. I’m keeping an eye out though, and my girlfriend is no longer parking in our alleyway spot because now she’s starting to get a bit scared by what has been happening in our area lately. We equipped her purse with a mace spray can, though I hope she doesn’t come into a situation where she has to use it.

    Comment by David — 3:03 pm November 21, 2012 #

  12. Is there any kind of Southwest Precinct sting operation that will be in place to catch package thieves this year during the holidays? It seems like this would be very fruitful and the community would greatly appreciate it. I can imagine two scenarios: 1. an undercover cop could follow UPS trucks around during Christmas time and catch the thieves that follow the UPS trucks. 2. Police could place bait packages at volunteer’s houses that are embedded with with $100 spot GPS systems and the police could get the criminals when the package is stolen. I would love the see the police emerge from the 1980′s and proactively try to address package theft with technology and an active police effort.

    Comment by AIDM — 11:42 am November 22, 2012 #

  13. David,

    When I heard the knocking I was putting kids to bed. I honestly thought that it was the neighbor since it was late and the knocking was so soft. I am really glad I looked instead of just opening the door.

    I can’t give you any description of the man other than he had a black hat and black clothing. He kept his head down so I could only see the top of the hat. I never have people dropping by without calling first. I know there is no deliveries happening that late at night even during the holiday season.

    Be safe and smart. Don’t open your door.

    Comment by Sarah — 12:18 am November 23, 2012 #

  14. I live at 5643 42nd Ave. SW and returned home Monday morning after being away for the holiday weekend. My house was burgled. Rear window smashed and house had been ransacked and robbed.
    Back guest house garage also attempted but unsuccessful.
    I suspect they used the alleyway and they are very small because the opening they crawled through was tiny maybe 11″x 13″ only?!
    Have Seattle police on it now and filed a report but thought the local blog should know.

    Comment by Jonathan Barnett — 3:34 pm November 26, 2012 #

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