West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglarized during the game; more

January 12, 2014 at 7:51 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight – we start with two reader reports. First, from Nerissa:

Around 12:15, my house was broken into. We are on the corner of 47th and Andover. [map] My roommate was downstairs watching the game and the people or person must have only been in for a minute or two. They came in through the back door which *was* a half-glass French door with what looks like a crowbar. They took laptops, iPods, iPod chargers, and some jewelry. They may have left out the front door and were quiet and quick. We didn’t notice until I got home since my roommate assumed it was me walking around upstairs.

We checked the SPD map; the burglary rate is back down, eight mapped in the past week in West Seattle.

From Joleen in Westwood:

My bicycle was stolen within the past week. It’s a white women’s bike, 18-speed I think. It was locked to the beam in my carport. The bike lock was cut, likely with bolt cutters. My back gate was left open as well…

If you’re wondering what brought police to West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) this afternoon:

(Photo added 8:57 pm, courtesy Brian Allen)
After a reader tip, we went to check, and learned on scene that it was another case of liquor shoplifting, which has plagued so many stores since privatization. One suspect was taken into custody.

Finally – we got a note from neighbors at 40th/Findlay (map) who wondered if anyone else has been hit by tree vandalism/theft. Three “young trees” were cut down in a planting strip and front yard – not lost to stormy weather, we’re told; saw marks were visible on the stumps. We haven’t heard of any trees targeted since the holidays, in a couple cases that appeared to be thieves seeking free Christmas trees (which they could have instead gotten from at least two local lots that wound up giving away remainders).

15 Comments

  1. Reported crime might be down, but crime’s still occurring at the same rate as ever. I have neighbors on Alki who’ve had their cars broken into recently (brazenly right on Alki Ave, and in our condo’s lighted parking lot). They didn’t report the break-ins, because SPD’s flat-out stated that there’s basically nothing they can do (OR WILL DO) after the fact. Maybe people are losing confidence in the West Seattle Precinct, and just not reporting their losses – the instances of car theft, and burglary here are rampant. Per capita, burglary in West Seattle is higher than any other big city I’ve lived in.

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 9:37 pm January 12, 2014 #

  2. No, SPD does NOT say there’s nothing they can do. Car thieves are prosecuted. Burglars are prosecuted. Car prowlers are prosecuted. I cover these cases and report them over and over here.
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/12/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-plea-bargain-for-sean-jeardoe
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/my-family-and-i-didnt-deserve-to-be-violated-by-you-victims-admonish-serial-burglar-justin-wood-at-his-sentencing
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/video-six-month-sentence-for-repeat-offender-alan-polevia/
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/3-12-year-sentence-for-mailidentity-thief-with-west-seattle-victims
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2011/12/prolific-burglar-john-novotny-sentenced-to-8-year-sentence/
    .
    And those are just some of the sentencings. Some are awaiting trial; I have a long watchlist of cases I look into every week. Other arrests, I have no followup on because I never was able to get the names – I only have so much time to chase stuff through the system. Look at the King County Jail Register in “booked past 24-hour view” at any time and see how many people are listed for burglary/car prowl/etc.
    .
    Yeah, it would be great if the crooks were put away for longer. That requires legislative change. I doubt the court documents I’m finding, the incidents we are seeing, the people whose sentencing hearings we attend are all works of fiction. So please tell your neighbors otherwise. Those who don’t report crime are doing themselves and their community a huge disservice, whether it’s by NOT having more incidents on record that can be pinned to certain people when they are found with stolen property (which, if not having been reported as stolen, may never get back to them) or by NOT having more incidents on record when police’s higher-ups go to the City Council for more funding. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:57 pm January 12, 2014 #

  3. I’ll second that, TR. My car was stolen(and found) recently, and I’ve since been called as a witness in the case against the suspected thief. Bottom line is… if you don’t report it, the police don’t know about it.

    Comment by lankfactor — 12:29 am January 13, 2014 #

  4. I hear what you are saying Tracy, but I have to agree at least in part with ScubaFrog. I have directly experienced that unhelpful (even slightly hostile) attitude coming from the West Seattle precinct of the SPD in regards to reporting crime. I even filed a formal complaint about it. It’s really made me feel hesitant about calling them to report anything in the future simply because my previous interaction with them was so negative. I hope that for many West Seattleites my experience is the anomaly.

    Comment by Jen — 2:35 am January 13, 2014 #

  5. Please do file a complaint if you have problems. Otherwise officers’ bosses (or whomever) won’t know, either. Although just to make sure – the precinct should not ever be the first point of contact – officers aren’t dispatched from there – 911 is the first place to go with a report about a crime or suspicious incident that is happening now or has just happened, and the dispatchers take it from there. And yes, as discussed here ad infinitum, the dispatchers can sound brusque, but they are trying to get the information out on multiple levels and have to determine fast what they’re sending and to where. Meantime, for complaints, the following page has multiple ways to file one – including online, on the phone, in person, even in person but not at a police facility:
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/police/OPA/Complaintform.htm

    Comment by WSB — 3:22 am January 13, 2014 #

  6. When my Jeep was stolen a couple of years back and I was notified the day before it was to be auctioned off by the towing company, by the tow yard. Yeah, great police work. They caught the guy,(only because he ran out of gas wile being chased)but that was the extent of their involvement. I’m glad I took that call.

    Comment by Rick — 4:47 am January 13, 2014 #

  7. I saw that it said “white womans bike” and I was like wtf does her race have to do with it, then I realized that was the color of the bike, not her…face palm…I need more coffee

    Comment by monroe1200 — 8:11 am January 13, 2014 #

  8. Put one criminal away and there were be another to replace him/her. For whatever reasons, property crime is as endemic to Seattle as the rain. When I tell my LA neighbors that nearly everyone on my block has been hit by some crime, they are in disbelief; doesn’t match the pleasant impressions they have of the city.

    Comment by G — 8:49 am January 13, 2014 #

  9. I have to say I agree somewhat with scubafrog. My issue involved a burglary and me trying to get follow up assistance. I wrote a letter to the police dept. because I found that the person(s) with my computer had created a new comcast account. Signed a release per comcast instructions, gave it to the police so they could subpoena the IP address and get a possible physical address for my computer. The cop behind the desk scoffed at me and told me I addressed the letter to the wrong person and strongly implied that they don’t care and nothing with get done. He was a tall, older white man. He practically sneered at me. Maybe criminals get treated better at this precinct. I think he threw away my letter.

    Comment by Nell — 8:58 am January 13, 2014 #

  10. Incredibly brazen to smash a glass door like that. I’m sorry your stuff was stolen but also that you have to replace the door – crappy.

    Comment by heather — 8:59 am January 13, 2014 #

  11. And cheers to WSB! Not only is the blog a free, up-to-date daily media source dedicated to journalism, it’s also one of the best means of reducing crime in this community. One could also replace the word “crime” with “poverty” or “traffic” or “ignorance” and many others and the statement would still ring true.

    Comment by Jason — 10:26 am January 13, 2014 #

  12. Thank you, Jason. As an idealist and optimist, I wish no one would ever have a bad experience with any kind of organization, particularly one in the public sector, and it’s abundantly clear that a few commenters who have repeatedly written about their disdain for SPD clearly had something happen to them that has sparked that disdain. And the cases that have led, in other areas of the city, to the Department of Justice investigation/settlement/etc. are much-reported, and unquestionably disturbing.
    .
    But regardless of all that, blanket allegations such as “they can’t/don’t do anything about (crime here)” are inaccurate and dangerous, should they lead even one person to say “Really? OK, well, I won’t bother then.” When it comes to crime, lives and livelihoods are at risk – it’s not the same as if we were talking about some type of business, like alleging a restaurant treated you badly, so you’ll never go there again. Even in that case, you have other restaurants to choose from. We have ONE police department, so we HAVE TO deal with it, and if they have or cause problems, we HAVE TO report them so they will get fixed, so the department will improve.
    .
    So if I didn’t say it clearly enough in the previous comment, I’ll say it again: People who don’t report a crime are increasing the risk that the person/s who victimized them will be able to do it to someone else – or to do something worse. If you had property stolen and didn’t report it, you are increasing the risk you’ll never get it back. If you don’t get the service you expect, PLEASE file a complaint (see the links in my earlier comment) and help make sure something changes. Even if you are a natural cynic/pessimist, do it for your neighbors’ sake, if not for your own.
    .
    There are some things in our civic life that we can gripe about and never do more than gripe and … well … we’ll all live. Crime and crimefighting are different, and that’s why I’m passionate about it, and trying to make at least a tiny difference, especially when it comes to the kind of crimes that never made headlines otherwise, but affect so many more people (especially property crimes).
    .
    We’ve had to file reports for crimes (harassment/threats of violence) that had little chance of being anything more than paperwork in the system somewhere, but we had to, because they needed to be on record, if nothing more. If someone believes there’s little chance of anyone being arrested/prosecuted, they are entitled to that belief, but it’s a *fact* that if you don’t report a crime, there is NO chance of anyone being arrested/prosecuted.
    .
    Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 12:16 pm January 13, 2014 #

  13. Wow, disdain is kind of a strong word to use Tracy. I think that what I hear from reading the critical comments is a sense of feeling let down by the “One police department” that we have to obtain help from. Reflecting on these negative experiences points to an issue with the way the SPD has interfaced with their community, something that should be of concern to them (especially since they rely on community reporting to help them solve crimes).

    Comment by Jen — 1:10 pm January 13, 2014 #

  14. I think it is entirely fair to criticize SPD’s apathy to property crime. However, I feel that their apathy is rooted in the feeling that whenever they arrest someone, the suspects are either released without being charged or punished so lightly that there is no deterrent.

    .

    Hopefully the next SPD chief will be hired for their merit, not because they are the politically correct choice.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 7:43 pm January 13, 2014 #

  15. Well, we had blood/dna, and fingerprint samples taken from our car after a breakin (and 4 other cars on our block). You’d think thats a pretty open/shut case if a match comes back. Crickets.

    Comment by brandon — 11:55 am January 14, 2014 #

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