WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Playtime becomes prowl time @ Lincoln, Westcrest Parks

The two newest West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports are from victims of car prowls while taking their kids to play at two local parks:

AT LINCOLN PARK: From Victoria:

Was hoping you could put something on the blog to alert people to being extra cautious with their belongings when they park their cars at Lincoln Park and similar places in West Seattle.

My car was parked at Lincoln Park yesterday afternoon while I was at the playground with my daughter and walking our dog. I had hidden my purse underneath my daughter’s backpack, lunchbox, and my coat, but the criminal still found it, broke my window and snatched it. They spent $4000 in less than 45 minutes on my cards at two nearby Targets and a Walgreens.

If you could alert others to this incident and encourage them not to leave anything valuable behind I’d appreciate it. I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

The advice from police is to not leave anything in a vehicle, valuable or not. As our next reader report demonstrates, thieves will and do take just about anything, on spec.

AT WESTCREST PARK: From Vanessa:

Just wanted to let you know that my car was broken into (Wednesday) at Westcrest Park between 3:30 and 4:30 pm while my son and I were at the playground. My window was smashed and my diaper bag was stolen. There was nothing of any value in it and I’d tried to hide it but apparently hadn’t done a good job. Luckily the police were doing a routine drive through the lot just as I discovered the break – in and were able to take my report.

37 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Playtime becomes prowl time @ Lincoln, Westcrest Parks"

  • Delridge Home Owner June 15, 2017 (11:40 am)

     Vanessa:  You’re lucky the police even stopped let alone take the time to take your report over a broken window and stolen diaper bag…

    • WSB June 15, 2017 (12:05 pm)

      On the glass-half-full side, at least there are pro-active patrols, as commenters are often asking/hoping for.

    • Vanessa Eng June 15, 2017 (12:13 pm)

      I have to say that the police were extremely sympathetic, courteous and helpful. They removed some of the glass from my front seat and checked to see if there was any glass in the car seat. This is my second experience reporting a non – emergency to SPD and both experiences have been positive. 

  • sw June 15, 2017 (11:49 am)

    Obligatory:  When you’re at Lincoln Park, don’t leave anything in your car ever.  Plan ahead. Don’t try to “hide” anything, as thieves will break in to steal a handful of change if they see it.

  • Just Wondering June 15, 2017 (11:56 am)

    Not at all in the same league as these car break-ins but we had rebar stolen from our carport sometime between last Sunday and Tuesday.  It was under some plastic fencing and the carport can’t be seen from the street.  You have to walk down a hilly driveway and go behind a parked car.  This is near the Kenney Home.

  • Oakley34 June 15, 2017 (12:16 pm)

    Back when I was a daily Westcrest user I took to always leaving the windows open.  There doesn’t need to be anything of value for them to smash the window, and that lot was for a time (maybe still is…I no longer go) smash window central.  They’d hit multiple cars at a time.

  • Gatewood June 15, 2017 (1:04 pm)

    FYI for those of you who live next to/near Lincoln Park.  Yesterday June 15th, 4:45PM, I parked on the street at 47 Ave SW and Fontanella.  I was getting out of my car and saw a guy in the apartment parking lot, right behind the gas station.  Instincts told me, he had no business being in that lot.  I watch him, he waved at me.  I took my time getting the dogs out of the car as I watched him cross the street and walk west on 47th. I walked down 47th to see where he went and he was walking out of another apartment parking lot.  He then walked up the street into the north entrance of the park and was hanging around the edge of the park, near the neighborhood that dead-ends at the park.  I did call the police.

    • Kersti Muul June 15, 2017 (3:06 pm)

      he’s here today and he scared my neighbor and toddler in the park. Blocked their path. I sent a report to the blog a few minutes ago. Just saw this here. :(

      I met you yesterday on my road. Thank you for taking the time to point him out. He did eventually come back and walked right by us!

      • Gatewood June 15, 2017 (4:31 pm)

        Kersti, I’ve very sorry to hear about him scaring your neighbor.  I’m very surprised he walked past you all on the street last night.  I will keep my eyes open when I’m at Lincoln, and take a look down your street.

        • Kersti Muul June 15, 2017 (5:27 pm)

          Thank you! The more eyes the better. I bet those little dogs make you feel a little safer :) 

          • Gatewood June 15, 2017 (8:54 pm)

            My little dogs may not “take anybody down”, but believe me, they let me know when someone is anywhere near the house ; )

  • Krista June 15, 2017 (1:07 pm)

    If you absolutely have to take your purse to the park, carry it with you. People that leave stuff in your car reward these criminals and they keep smashing windows because they get rewarded. It’s a endless cycle but leaving nothing in your car helps break the cycle and encourages the criminals that breaking into cars is not worth it.

  • kate June 15, 2017 (1:15 pm)

    I had an EMPTY brown paper grocery bag sitting on the passenger’s seat when I ran into Whole Foods in Ravena last year. My car was parked right outside of the store in front of the window of dining area.  I didn’t bring the bag in because I was running in to buy one item. The thief, in broad day light and in front of a whole bunch of people eating lunch, smashed the passenger window and ran off with the empty bag. Several of the diners called 911 and police arrived within minutes.  The witnesses reported that the thief was hopped up on drugs. So, while stealing an empty paper may not be logical we’re not dealing with logical people. They are desperate, addicted, and willing to anything to get something.  I don’t even leave a pack of gum in my car anymore.

  • Seattlite June 15, 2017 (1:34 pm)

    Never leave anything of value in your parked cars.  Thieves are everywhere.  They will break in even if they see an empty envelope in your car.

    One other tidbit about Lincoln Park:  I’ve been very cautious of a group of guys that sit at a table in the north west corner right behind the maintenance area.  I don’t know what’s up with these guys but sometimes there’s yelling, swearing…these guys make me feel less safe walking the trails alone.  This area is also just north of the kids’ area. 

    • M June 15, 2017 (6:32 pm)

      I’ve noticed them too and am sick of it. I wish they just remove that one table. 

      • Kersti muul June 15, 2017 (10:00 pm)

        That table is a drinkers meet up area. On Sunday a woman was pooping over there and screaming because they wouldn’t bring her TP. It is getting ridiculous

        • sam-c June 16, 2017 (8:44 am)

          What ?!? really ?!? yikes.

          Seems like the City should take some action to discourage that. Sounds disgusting.

          • Double Dub Resident June 16, 2017 (1:47 pm)

            LOL, the city would probably just turn it into a sanctioned encampment

          • BG June 16, 2017 (2:37 pm)

            Good luck getting the city to do anything about it, but it does not hurt to let our City Councilperson know how you feel about what is happening to our parks.

            lisa.herbold@seattle.gov

            Also, FYI, my friend who lives on Admiral next to Schmitz Park tells me there are quite a few campers staying in that park. He sees them leave every morning on their “commute”.

  • Leigh June 15, 2017 (2:05 pm)

    Yes – adding on to “don’t try and hide anything”.  The people who are doing this are usually nearby watching for people who “hide” things.  If I’m going somewhere that I won’t need my purse I put it in the storage compartment in the trunk when I leave the house.  I had my car widow smashed for an old blanket once – I thought at the time who in the world would steal that?  The answer is  someone who is cold. 

  • 56bricks June 15, 2017 (2:12 pm)

    Yeah,when you provide them with enabling safe shoot ’em up sites, among everything else, I’m  positive crime rates in those areas will decline, as posted by the smarter than every one else progressive posters here.  We’re just being xenophobic,racist and all those other terms.  I’m tired of it, and also done with it.  I’l take my law abiding activities elsewhere.

  • Jen June 15, 2017 (2:49 pm)

    This is very unfortunate, but seems too common of an occurrence.  I also notice the group hanging in the NW corner of the park near maintenance.  I was there Sunday afternoon, and noticed them.  The park was jam packed full of families with kids and people enjoying the lovely afternoon.  However, I still felt an unsettling presence by this group.  They were there a week prior when I was at the park early in the morning with my kids and a couple of them came over to the playground we were using.  A little awkward, as they wanted to use the zipline and the slides while we were; definitely seemed under the influence of something.  The police could try to ask them to leave, but then where would they go?  It is such a beautiful park, and we are so lucky to have it, but it is somewhat lessened with that vibe of car break-ins and vandalism, etc. II am not indicating that this group in the NW corner is doing it, but they do feel out of place. I just try to stay alert and aware of my surroundings at all times there.

    • BG June 15, 2017 (4:29 pm)

      I see those guys too. They are camping in or near the park, and hanging out during the day drinking/drugging.  We should just get used to it as I am sure more and more of them will be taking up residence in the park.

      • WSB June 15, 2017 (4:38 pm)

        If you have seen a campsite, the city says they want to hear about it. You can use the Find It, Fix It app or this online form:

        https://www.seattle.gov/customerservice/request.htm

        • Jen June 15, 2017 (9:07 pm)

          Thank you for the suggestion. I just left my observations. Maybe if a few more pitch in with what they have seen at that table it would help!  

  • Heather June 15, 2017 (2:58 pm)

    Seattlite, it’s okay to report suspicious (potentially drunken/unsafe/whatever) behavior in a public area to the police. It’s up to the police to determine if the behavior is a public safety issue – you’re never bothering someone, taking up time, etc by calling to report something that makes you avoid a public area, particularly if, as it sounds from your comment, that the circumstance/persons are a regular occurance.

  • Carole June 15, 2017 (3:32 pm)

    I have a big note I leave on my dash when parked in the Junction, at Lincoln Park, Southcenter, etc., that just says “Nothing of value in car.”  And I leave nothing either.

  • Stanley June 15, 2017 (3:38 pm)

     This has been going on for years in Lincoln Park.  They have a look out in the parking lot and someone else follows the victim into the park to make sure they are not returning to their car quickly.   25 years ago they were doing this, now it’s easier with cell phones.

    • Carole June 15, 2017 (7:14 pm)

      They do this at Westwood shopping center too.

  • sam-c June 15, 2017 (3:52 pm)

    ugh. Hate car break ins. I can understand the desire to not carry everything with you, but these awful criminals make it absolutely necessary.

    I remember (not fondly), days when I’d get picked up at work with request to go eat dinner in the Junction. (hey you wouldn’t have to make dinner !) but then we get to a restaurant, and we’re carrying practically a half dozen bags… (breast pump, work bags x 2, diaper bag,  my older daughters’s school backpack, …. what a circus.)

    eventually you get to a point where you can travel lighter.

  • Mark Schletty June 15, 2017 (4:01 pm)

    This happens so much at Lincoln Park that I think it would be  time worthwhile to set up stings in the lots.  Undercover cops out of sight prepared to pounce on the crooks. But, on second thought, it probably would be a waste of time since anyone caught would be immediately turned lose to do it again by the judges here who apparently think it is ok to steal from citizens.

  • Mary June 15, 2017 (5:29 pm)

    Leave NOTHING – NOTHING – NOTHING! in view – anywhere – ever. If you need to stash something in your trunk, do it ahead of your final parking spot. Leave nothing in view – no matter what it is! This applies in cities, in parking garages, at trailheads, etc. Again – leave nothing in view!

    • GC June 16, 2017 (8:58 am)

      YES! I can’t believe people don’t understand this!!

  • M June 15, 2017 (6:39 pm)

    The best way to get rid of the drunks at the NW corner of the park is to spill spoiled milk all over the table. It’s harmless, it absolutely works and the rain will eventually wash it away. We used to do that all the time in college to get rid of unwanted things. 

  • k8 June 15, 2017 (7:41 pm)

    Maybe we should stage a look out for the look outs! Act like you’re hiding something in your car and walk away while you have your own look out watching your car with cell phone in hand. BUSTED!

    • Ohyeah June 16, 2017 (9:39 am)

      Yes- catch them red- handed!!

      now, Uh… You can go get your window fixed..

  • 1% June 19, 2017 (12:24 am)

    Trunks aren’t safe either in fact almost always if they weren’t kicked back watching you arrive and exit to the park the glove compartment and trunk get popped and dropped immediately before scanning over your car my advice is to disengage your trunk latch and if possible lock any inner access to these compartments.And as silly as it sounds dress down skip hair and make up they won’t mess with anyone who appears to be as broke as they are.Go as far as even asking these suspicious individuals for some spare change or a smoke.Any movement to or from your trunk is all bad don’t do it it doesn’t matter if your only grabbing a leash it’s a automatic target you place on yourself.Best advice is to avoid the parking lots with people who are just sitting in their cars which can be tricky a lot of norms do this but it’s pretty easy to spot a non norm smoking looking around not preoccupied with a paper or book are some obvious signs they are casing and sit in your car for at least 5 minutes to look around you they will often be hiding up in trees or in amongst the brush.And any car driving thru the lot more than twice when available spots are open they are out shopping for what’s yours.Presidential Glass guys spark plugs has no effect on these types of windows.And always roll up tight another method used is a flathead to pry just enough to slip a fingertip in and then to pull the glass outward they sell trim to prevent this tactic as well if you drive a car that isn’t at least a 2003 or newer get aftermarket locks

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