West Seattle Crime Watch: Auto theft; tree theft; mail theft, and advice for preventing it

In West Seattle Crime Watch – a check of the crime map shows car thefts are the trend of the week, with 15 reported between December 20th and 26th (yesterday), including seven reported on just one day, December 21st (though two of those seven apparently happened some days earlier). Full list ahead, plus the numbers on burglars and car prowls, but first – two reader reports, one with a photo:

Barry explains:

Sadly, someone didn’t get the memo about the season. A nice silver mountain dwarf pine was unceremoniously yanked from our property on Christmas Eve on SW Frontenac Street. The plant was eventually to be donated to a local park, so everyone kind of lost out. We left a sign in the hole as a guilty inducement, as even the Grinch was shown to have a heart in the end. We don’t hold out much hope for these clowns, however.

Meantime, from the 5400 block of Fauntleroy Way, Kristin reports:

I got home late at night on 12/24 after being out of town for several days. I saw my mailbox was full, along with the two right next to mine that belong to my neighbors (we live in a house that is split into three different units). All three mailboxes were full at 11:45pm on 12/24. I forgot to take my mail inside that night, and when I went to get it before work on the morning of 12/25 at 6:15, all three mailboxes were empty.

When I returned home from work on 12/25 at 8:30 pm, mail was strewn about the front porch. Mine was opened, and there’s no way that four days worth of mail is what was returned. They returned the ads/coupons and personal Christmas cards. There weren’t any of the typical credit card offers or bills that usually come.

All in all, my mail was stolen and my neighbors suffered the same ordeal.

After that original note, by the way, she contacted her landlord to ask for locked mailboxes. He lives about a mile away from her – and, Kristin wrote, “said he would consider it as his mail was stolen a week ago.” If you haven’t already heard SPD’s mail-theft prevention advice, it’s included in this info published by the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network.

Now – click ahead for the date/place list elaborating on the auto-theft map:

From north to south, what’s on the map:

2300 block of 42nd SW, reported last Monday (12/23)
3800 block of 53rd SW, reported last Saturday (12/21)
4400 block of 44th SW, reported last Sunday (12/22)
Two thefts in the 4500 block of 42nd SW, reported last Saturday and on Wednesday (12/21, 12/24)
4300 block of SW Alaska, reported last Saturday (12/21)
3600 block of SW Edmunds, reported Tuesday (12/24)
4700 block of 23rd SW, reported Saturday (12/21)
5000 block of 38th SW, reported Tuesday (12/24)
5900 block of California SW, reported Sunday (12/22)
6000 block of California SW, reported Saturday (12/21)
6000 block of Fauntleroy Way, reported last Friday (12/20)
6700 block of California SW, reported Saturday (12/21)
Sylvan Way/High Point Drive, reported Saturday (12/21)
6900 block of Delridge Way, reported Wednesday (12/25)

Also on the map for the past week – 11 burglaries and 8 car prowls. This month last year, according to stats on the SPD website, burglaries averaged about 17 per week in December; car-prowl stats weren’t broken out, but car thefts were, averaging about 12 per week.

18 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Auto theft; tree theft; mail theft, and advice for preventing it"

  • martin December 27, 2013 (8:58 am)

    You can request a hold mail from the USPS via there website for when you are gone.

  • Kathleen December 27, 2013 (9:40 am)

    As small as this is, someone stole our wreath off our front door and it bummed me out.

  • dsa December 27, 2013 (10:09 am)

    martin, we had used both their website and personal visit.

  • Todd December 27, 2013 (10:11 am)

    Just a tip about mail holds, I filled out a form online one time and it didn’t work. When I followed up with the PO 98116, they suggested I use the yellow card at the PO.

  • Pam Jorgensen December 27, 2013 (11:53 am)

    USPS holds are not reliable. We have requested mail delivery be stopped when we are out of town, and mail has been delivered anyway. So frustrating!

  • george December 27, 2013 (1:27 pm)

    Check you car windows in the morning. If they’ve been “wiped” or “smeared”, someone was peeking in it overnight. Have noticed this by Madison MS lately.

  • A December 27, 2013 (1:28 pm)

    There is way too much crime around here. It’s so sad that we scour our yard before turning in for the night. God forbid we leave a toy or anything for that matter in our OWN YARD bc it may be stolen. Very sad. Looking forward to moving out of the area.

  • G December 27, 2013 (1:35 pm)

    I just returned from LA (75 degree Xmas!) and picked up my mail from the Post Office. The mail hold always works great for me, via online.

  • ScubaFrog December 27, 2013 (2:00 pm)

    We’ve got a lot of thieves in West Seattle. Being a victim of theft is very violating – and it’s hardly a ‘petty crime’ as the SPD refers to it. Whether it be a car, or someone’s wreath, theft has a remarkable psychological consequence for the victim. We may have one of the highest car theft rates on the west coast – so why no car theft task force? Why no ‘bait car’ campaigns? We need much stricter sentencing for theft in every degree. Today’s thieves in Seattle serve little-to-no time, and are released without bail most of the time.

  • Paul December 27, 2013 (3:19 pm)

    Sorry to hear about the mail theft. We had the same problem a few years ago and bought a locking mailbox. It doesn’t solve all one’s problems but fortunately we haven’t had any theft problems since that time. Just make sure it is USPS approved (should say on the box). We also drop all mail off at the post office rather than leave it in our mailbox to be picked up.

  • Neighbor December 27, 2013 (3:33 pm)

    A bait car is a great idea! Get the kind that locks the person inside the car and doesn’t move. Then we can get a picture.

  • wsn00b December 27, 2013 (4:46 pm)

    Get a MailBoss locking mailbox. It will deter casual thefts. It is made by a Redmond company (so you are theoretically buying local). McLendon’s in White Center carries it. The cost of the mailbox and handyman (optionally) are completely worth the peace of mind. The base model is large enough to carry a few days worth of mail. USPS holds setup online work great here in 98136. Set it up a week in advance and not last minute.

    Thefts aren’t going away this decade. Don’t be the “low hanging fruit”.

    (Potentially lame) Idea:
    WSB Crime Watch should publish an annual WS anti-crime holiday/christmas shopping wishlist in November of each year : Locking mailboxes, steering lock clubs for your theft favorites like 80s/90s Honda/Subaru/Volvo , etc

  • gmabetty December 28, 2013 (2:40 pm)

    You could always let a trusted friend or neighbor know you’ll be gone and ask them to pick up your mail.

    If I came home to find mail in box I definitely wouldn’t just leave it there for overnight. We just can’t be casual about mail anymore. A locked box would help but not deter a professional on a mission, like locked doors on houses and cars.

    My dad always told me “You lock doors to keep honest people out because the criminals can get in anyway”.

  • AGarcia December 28, 2013 (3:47 pm)

    I was just notified of this site today but, my 99′ Honda Civic was stolen on 11/22 on the corner of Fauntleroy & Alaska (right across from Trader Joe’s). It was totally stripped, only leaving the drivers seat.I mean, they took the engine,tranny, dash,exhaust system,lights,of course my 18″ rims w/ low profile tires and ALL of my personal belongings, my child’s car seat, even my makeup. Found almost a week later in the road,facing the wrong way, in White Center. I,also had items that were important and/or irreplacable in my car. So,if you happen to see a PINK 10″subwoofer box w/ a built in amp and made by FLI,it’s more than likely mine since I purchased it out of state, custom made.They decided that they needed my reward cards also. Beware if you suddenly lose gas rewards (ex. F.M card)or reward points from walgreens, Qdoba,etc.

    PLEASE do not leave ANYTHING in your car that can be used for identity theft later.
    I also had to change the locks at my house since the thieves also have my home address from my registration.

    Well, what goes around comes around. I pray that NO ONE EVER has to endure the experience I have or others who are now rebuilding their lives due to others dishonesty.

  • Bbbnn December 30, 2013 (10:25 am)

    I caught some crazy woman chopping the sh!t outta a public park tree for her “wreath” collection in the park by the steel mill. People a so f’in insane, seriously what the???

  • Jesse January 3, 2014 (9:36 am)

    My car was stolen from the Masonic Lodge parking lot on the corner of 40th and Edmunds. Its a white 2000 Honda Civic. After reporting it to the police a detective called me up 2 days later and told me that the car is now a suspect vehicle in a series of package robberies. The car is 2 door with a sunroof and white tail lights and tinted windows (all done before I bought the car).

    • WSB January 3, 2014 (9:52 am)

      Sorry to hear that, Jesse – adding insult to injury, as the old saying goes … if you want us to include it in the next Crime Watch, please e-mail me and include a little more info such as the date the theft happened and license plate if still relevant… editor@westseattleblog.com …TR

  • Jesse January 3, 2014 (8:51 pm)

    Well got a call from SPD at 5pm tonight mere hours after posting my comment and they found the car (white honda civic) parked next to the Papa Johns on 4224 SW Brandon St. All of the electronics were purged from the car including the new battery which was unceremoniously cut from the cables. A pair of new slacks were crumpled up in the back seat along with some ribbons and a box of chocolates. The detective said that there was no hard evidence to trace anyone to the crimes and that the car had probably been stripped and abandoned for a few days.

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