Roxhill robberies: District’s followup letter for West Seattle families

Following up on the two Roxhill Park-area armed robberies in the past week in which the victims were reported to be local middle-schoolers: Last night, Denny International Middle School principal Jeff Clark shared a letter he had sent to his school community, and said one for a wider area would be forthcoming from the district. We have just obtained that one – read on:

January 24, 2013
Dear Parents and Guardians:

I want to alert you to recent off-campus robberies of Seattle Public Schools students in the Southwest region in the last few days, and to encourage you to discuss personal safety with your children.

In these cases, students were robbed of cash and cell phones. None of these incidents occurred on school grounds or during school hours, but we are always concerned about the safety and security of our students. We have spoken with the Seattle Police Department and they are planning to increase their patrols in affected neighborhoods as a result of these robberies.

In the next few days, staff at your school will be discussing personal safety with the students. In particular, classes will be reviewing what to do when a stranger talks with them or approaches them. Our goal is to allow students to talk about their concerns and give them personal safety skills that are useful during the school year and generally when out in the community.

You can also help your children by talking and listening to them. As a reminder, please talk to your child or children about walking in pairs when possible, being aware of their surroundings at all times and ensuring that all electronic gear is worn discretely. We encourage you to be sensitive to your child and to call us if we can help in any way.

In addition, we have printed below a list of helpful safety tips from the Seattle Police Department.
If we can provide further assistance, please let us know.

Carmela Dellino, Executive Director, Southwest Region

• Pay close attention to your surroundings, avoid “automatic pilot”
• Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
• Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
• Stick to well-lit areas.
• Develop a plan before you see trouble. Crossing a street or entering a store may get you out of a potentially bad situation.
• If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
• Consider wearing clothing and shoes that you can move freely and quickly in, especially when walking or waiting for the bus.
• Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable.
• Always plan your route and stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
• Avoid walking alone at night. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.

In Spanish:

Enero 24 del 2013
Estimados Padres y Guardianes:
Quiero alertarles acerca de los recientes robos que han tomado lugar afuera de los edificios escolares de las Escuelas Públicas de Seattle en la región suroeste, en los últimos días, y para animarle a que hablen de seguridad personal con sus hijos.
En estos casos, a los estudiantes se les robó dinero y teléfonos celulares. Ninguno de estos incidentes sucedió dentro de los edificios escolares o durante horas escolares. Sin embargo, siempre nos preocupa la seguridad de nuestros alumnos.
Hemos hablado con el Departamento de Policía de Seattle y están planeando incrementar el número de patrullas en los vecindarios adonde han sucedido los asaltos.
En los próximos días, los maestros en las escuelas estarán hablando con los estudiantes acerca de la seguridad personal. Más especí ficamente, los maestros hablarán acerca de qué hacer si un extraño les habla o se acerca a ellos. Nuestra meta es permitir que los alumnos hablen acerca de lo que les preocupa y de habilidades de seguridad personal que les servirán durante el año escolar y cuando anden por su comunidad.
Ustedes también pueden ayudarles a sus hijos en casa. Como un recordatorio, por favor háblenle a sus hijos acerca de caminar con algunos amigos o en pares todo el tiempo que sea posible, que se den cuenta de sus alrededores todo el tiempo que van caminando y que lleven todo tipo de aparato electrónico no muy a la vista. Les pedimos que tenga mucho tacto con sus hijos y que si necesita algo que no dude en llamarnos.
A continuación hemos incluido algunos consejos de parte del Departamento de Policía de Seattle. Si podemos darle mayor asistencia, por favor déjenos saber.
Sinceramente, Carmela Dellino, Directora Ejecutiva de la Región Escolar del Suroeste
• Presta mucha atención a tu alrededor, evita andar en “piloto automático”
• Camina con propósito, con paso firme, con seguridad.
• Usa el sentido común; planea la ruta para evitar los parques deshabitados, estacionamientos, garajes y callejones.
• Camina por zonas bien iluminadas.
• Desarrolla un plan antes de ver problemas. Cruzar una calle o entrar en una tienda puede sacarte de una situación potencialmente peligrosa.
• Si un coche te sigue o te llama mientras estas caminando, no te acerques. En su lugar, gira rápidamente y camina en dirección opuesta.
• Considera la posibilidad de usar ropa y zapatos en los que puedas moverte libre y rápidamente, especialmente al caminar o esperar el autobús.
• Lleva contigo objetos mínimos; la sobrecarga puede hacer que aparezcas vulnerable.
• Siempre planifica tu ruta y permanece alerta a tus alrededores. Evita los atajos. Camina con confianza. Analiza tus alrededores y haz contacto visual con las personas.
• Evita caminar solo por la noche. En todo lo que sea posible, camina o viaja con un amigo, incluso durante el día.

12 Replies to "Roxhill robberies: District's followup letter for West Seattle families"

  • ladybell January 24, 2013 (6:25 pm)

    Lastnigh at 8:00pm I saw a group of young black teens gather on 20th&Roxbury. They were drinking,smoking weed,yelling,breaking bottles and bragging about having a gun,shooting a gun and punching someone in the face. I called the cops but they arrived about 15 minutes after the losers took off on foot. I was hoping these were the punks responsible for the recent robbery/assault on students.

  • Jason January 24, 2013 (7:05 pm)

    It makes no sense to me that the letter does not specifically identify where the crimes occurred. it is very vague. Give people the opportunity to avoid the park, not just give them advice on how to handle a situation when it occurs. The Blog article does give specifics, thanks!

  • Jim Clark January 24, 2013 (7:12 pm)

    Also my neighbors got robbed up in Arbor Heights on Sunday. thinking about a security system now or packing heat

  • Nitro January 24, 2013 (7:26 pm)


    More details please! Where in AH? House robbery? Assaulted while walking in the neighborhood???


  • Long January 24, 2013 (7:32 pm)

    My neighbors also got robbed near Sanislo Elementary back in December. Lost valuable jewelry as well as cash stolen. The police needs to step up the Crime Watch in West Seattle.

  • Alki Resident January 24, 2013 (10:37 pm)

    Jason-Why do people need to avoid the park? Don’t the thugs win if we do? I’m not avoiding anything or we all may as well stay at home barricaded.
    Jim Clark-Do both, it’ll be worth your while.

  • lina January 25, 2013 (9:34 am)

    DO NOT AVOID THE PARK (I am assuming that you mean Roxhill bog area) The more of us that step out and use the park, walk in it, gather in it, care for it, the safer it becomes. Basic “Broken Window” theory. This is the very reason that I believe when the playground and skate spot is open and being used, crime will go down in this area. Please, Please go for a walk this weekend in that sweet park, take a look at the playground soon to be open, the playground that your neighbors built and at the AWESOME explorer dome. And get psyched for the safer, healthier place it will become.

  • Jason January 25, 2013 (10:18 am)

    @Alki Resident: I understand your point, but I think my comment wasn’t clear. I don’t mean that everyone should avoid the park, but that parents should know where the incidents occurred so that they can have their children avoid it for the time being. Middle school children were robbed at gunpoint by masked men. I have a daughter in Middle School (not Denny) and given the information I would make sure she did not walk through the park right now. I don’t think the thugs are trying to ‘win’, they are just being opportunistic. If I knew a building was structurally unsafe, that was supposed to be safe, I would not send my kids in anyway and say “It may not be safe, but it should be so out of principle we’re going in. I’d keep them out and then address the safety issues.

    • WSB January 25, 2013 (10:32 am)

      The area where the most recent robbery happened is described as “the central area of the park where paths converge, near some large stones” – that’s somewhat different than what our tipster told us, but again, she wasn’t there, she was approached by the kids looking for a phone to call for help. Having walked through Roxhill Park more than a few times, I think I know which area that is. While there are residences overlooking that area of the park, there are also trees and shrubs, and it certainly can be somewhat out of the way. – TR

  • Lolly January 25, 2013 (4:25 pm)

    “…ensuring that all electronic gear is worn discretely.”

    Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that a middle school principal uses the wrong word here—the word he’s looking for is “discreetly”. (Adverb meaning: showing prudence and circumspection; modestly unobtrusive; not ostentatious.) “Discrete” means separate.

    Perhaps an English teacher should proofread all official correspondence.

  • WSB January 25, 2013 (4:36 pm)

    This letter is not by “a middle school principal.” Nor by a male. It’s by Carmela Dellino, executive director of schools for the district’s southwest region. And while I try to be a stickler for perfect spelling/grammar, nobody’s perfect. It’s a really difficult word to get right – a lot like “insure” and “ensure,” which seem to be used interchangeably. Please don’t nitpick about grammar and spelling here. What matters is the message, and I’m glad they’ve shared it. – TR

  • tk January 25, 2013 (7:21 pm)

    @Lolly: nope.

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