West Seattle Blog... » Crime http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:02:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle Crime Watch: Junction 7-11 store robbery http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-junction-7-11-store-robbed/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-junction-7-11-store-robbed/#comments Sun, 25 Jan 2015 17:33:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299212 Thanks to the person who called to say they had heard about this from an employee at the Junction 7-11 (California/Erskine). We have since obtained some information from police: They confirm the store was held up about 1:30 am Saturday. The robber was described “as a white male about 25 years of age, wearing a dark blue or black puffy coat, and had a red scarf wrapped around his face.” He showed the clerk a handgun. Police called in a K-9 to help search but they didn’t find the robber. Checking Tweets by Beat, that’s the only robbery call in the Southwest Precinct coverage area, West Seattle and South Park, so far this weekend. (Side note: If you routinely check the tweets and haven’t noticed this, each confirmed incident generates two tweets – the second one, when a report is filed, so the time will be different. The first tweet describes what was reported – so the second one might classify the incident differently, depending on what’s confirmed. The telltale sign that two or more tweets are about the same case is the incident # in the tweet.)

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UPDATE: Police arrest 2 after in-progress burglary west of Junction http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-arrest-2-after-in-progress-burglary-reported-west-of-junction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-arrest-2-after-in-progress-burglary-reported-west-of-junction/#comments Sat, 24 Jan 2015 00:12:23 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299072

(WSB photo by Katie Meyer, police response north of burglary scene)
4:12 PM: Busy afternoon for police, again. And also for the tipsters who are quick to let us know when they see police cars going by with lights on – thank you. Here’s the latest: Police have taken two people into custody after an in-progress burglary was reported near 47th and Alaska, west of The Junction.

That’s all the details we have after talking to a sergeant at the scene; if we find out anything more, we’ll add it.

ADDED 4:54 PM: A reader texted the photo of the suspects being arrested outside the a nearby house. (Added: WSB photo of one suspect being walked to police vehicle:)

Scanner traffic indicated some stolen property was recovered.

ADDED 5:17 PM: And here are even more details, just published on SPD Blotter:

A woman called 911 around 3:30 P.M. when she heard the sounds of someone breaking into her home in the 4500 block of 47th Ave Southwest. The woman hid in an upstairs closet as officers arrived on scene.

Officers began searching the neighborhood and found both suspects hiding inside a shed about a block away. Police arrested both suspects and found they were carrying a backpack full of stolen property. Officers will book both 20-year-old suspects into King County Jail on investigation of burglary.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Delridge search; twice-stolen car http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-delridge-search-twice-stolen-car/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-delridge-search-twice-stolen-car/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:51:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299054 In West Seattle Crime Watch – a police search right now in North Delridge. According to the scanner, a 911 caller reported a man with a handgun firing one shot into the air and then heading northbound in the alley between Delridge/25th, near the library. The description that’s being broadcast is black male, 14-15, 6′, thin, dark heavy jacket, dark pants. He was said to be in the company of someone described only as a black female in a purple sweatshirt. They might also be associated with a gold or green vehicle headed southbound. No injuries reported; police are checking for property damage. If you see anyone/anything possibly related, call 911.

(ADDED 3:06 PM: We were in the area around 2:30 pm checking on the search; no lights-flashing police still at the scene but cars were visible patroling several nearby blocks.)

(back to original report) Also in Crime Watch:

TWICE-STOLEN CAR: Amanda‘s car has been stolen for the second time in less than a month, sometime between midnight and 11 this morning. Gold 1994 Honda Accord, stolen from the 900 block of SW Holden. Let police know if you find it.

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UPDATE: Police arrest suspect in Admiral robbery attempt http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/followup-police-arrest-one-suspect-so-far-in-west-seattle-street-robberies/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/followup-police-arrest-one-suspect-so-far-in-west-seattle-street-robberies/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 18:07:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299010 Update this morning from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, in a message sent to multiple community groups:

I wanted to update you all that we made an arrest in one of the 5 robberies that occurred here in the last week. We are continuing to work the others.

We’re following up to find out more and will add here. If you’re looking for background – here’s our most recent followup, with links to our coverage of all five of the recent street robberies.

ADDED 10:41 AM: A bit more information: We’ve just confirmed which robbery the arrest was made in relation to – it’s the attempted robbery that happened Tuesday afternoon but wasn’t reported to police until Wednesday, a 13-year-old boy who was asked about his phone at Admiral Safeway and then followed across California SW, where two would-be robbers tried to take it from him. Details were in the followup mentioned above, same link.

ADDED 4:37 PM: Even more information, according to SPD: The suspect’s probation officer happened to spot him in the area and knew there was a warrant out for him, related to a theft case, and contacted police. They arrested the suspect on that and for probable cause in the Tuesday robbery attempt, and he was booked into the King County Youth Services Center, since he’s a juvenile. We will check with prosecutors next week regarding charge(s).

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West Seattle Crime Watch: 4 reader reports, and other notes http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-4-reader-reports-and-other-notes/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-4-reader-reports-and-other-notes/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:06:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298940 While we’re covering the street-robberies investigation separately (newest update here), we have reader reports on several other crimes you should know about:

OFFICE BREAK-IN: Between 7 pm last night and 10 am today, a health-care office in the 5400 block of California SW was broken into. Laptops and a filing cabinet were taken; the latter had some checks and cash, as well as client files.

CAR THEFT: Kristine in North Delridge hopes you’ll help look for her 1998 dark green Honda Civic LX (license plate AMR5059): “It was parked on the street in front of my house (2800 block of SW Nevada St.) and taken sometime between 11 pm and 7:30 am.” Call 911 if you see it.

CAR BREAK-INS: Both happened Wednesday evening. From Charise: “My black Lexus was broken into … in the rear lot behind the West Seattle YMCA on Alaska. My daughter’s backpack is all that was stolen. It’s pretty obvious people are canvassing the area for cars with bags left in them.” Not far away, this reader report: “Between 4:00 and 5:30 pm (Wednesday), someone smashed the rear passenger window of my car while parked in the back parking lot near Oregon Street and 44th Avenue SW. They grabbed (stole) my light green backpack. A brazen theft in daylight hours in a popular area.” Any information, please contact police.

REMINDER – NEXT CRIMEFIGHTING MEETINGS: Two chances to talk with police as well as your West Seattle neighbors – 6:30 pm Tuesday (January 27), the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network; 7 pm Tuesday, February 3rd, a community conversation with SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole. Both at the SW Precinct (Delridge/Webster), both open to all.

SIDE NOTE – CRIME STATS: SPD has gone public with the full 2014 stats. Here’s the overview.

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West Seattle Crime Watch followup: Street-robberies investigation update; precinct commander says possible connection in 2 of 5 cases http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-street-robbery-investigation-update/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-followup-street-robbery-investigation-update/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:35:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298921

(Wednesday night WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
As we work to follow up on the five street-robbery incidents in West Seattle we’ve covered in the past week, there’s new information from the Southwest Precinct. This update from precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske has just been sent to community groups:

I wanted to update everyone on a series of incidents we have had occur here in the last week, as I have had a lot of folks express concerns, as well as the desire to keep everyone up on significant events.

We have had a total of 5 theft/strong arm robberies since January 15th, most targeting younger victims that range in age from @14 to 18. The items taken are personal electronics, either laptops, pads or cell phones. The two most recent happened along California Ave SW, with the others in the areas of 6500 42nd SW, 36th SW and Myrtle, and 26th SW and Thistle.

Based on what we currently know about the incidents, there may be a connection between two of the cases. Several of the others appear to be stand-alone incidents that have not been repeated in the area.

We have distributed what info we have to the patrol officers so they can be aware of the incidents and suspect descriptions, and they are spending the time they can in the areas most commonly used by students as they travel to and from school. The precinct detectives are working the cases, and they will have access to any and all resources of the precinct, and we will draw in more department resources if they need them.

I will update you as things progress, but wanted you to know that we are aware of this and working on it as a priority. I have cc’ed Mark Solomon on this email, and he will also be sending out some safety information.

Mark Solomon is the SW and South Precincts’ Crime Prevention Coordinator, and his forward of this note included that safety information. We’ll attach it shortly, along with other information we’ve been working on today. First – here are our links to WSB coverage of the incidents mentioned in Capt. Wilske’s note, newest-to-oldest:

*Wednesday evening robbery in North Admiral, with coverage including info about Tuesday incident
*West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting coverage, including discussion of incidents
*Followup report on Saturday morning Morgan Junction robbery
*Same-day coverage of Saturday morning Morgan Junction robbery/carjack attempt
*Coverage of Friday robbery in Westwood
*Coverage of Thursday robbery in Gatewood

ADDED 12:49 PM: Here’s the safety information mentioned above:

(If you can’t see the embed – we hear it’s glitching for some – here’s the PDF.)

ADDED 1:57 PM: The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network has just announced that Capt. Wilske will be at the WSBWCN meeting next Tuesday (January 27) to talk about this, 6:30 pm at the precinct, all welcome.

Meantime, from the police report on the Tuesday incident, how it unfolded: The victim was at Admiral Safeway with friends at about 2:50 pm and about to leave to head home when the two would-be robbers came up to him. One asked if he could use the victim’s phone, and said he didn’t need to hold it, but just asked the victim to hold up the phone and dial a certain number. The number didn’t connect. The victim left the store and crossed the street; the two confronted him on the northwest corner of California/Lander (by Lafayette Elementary). The report says one stood behind the victim while the other “grabbed his belt loop and tried to reach into his pocket where (he) had put his phone.” That’s when other teens, described as West Seattle HS students, “pulled (the would-be robbers) off” the victim, who they told to go home, which he did. The victim’s father told us that kids should specifically be warned to NEVER let anyone they don’t know use their phone – he says these two were apparently approaching others in the Safeway area first, and then, when his son left the store alone, went after him.

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Update: Police search for suspects after Admiral street robbery; fifth West Seattle holdup or attempt in seven days http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-searching-for-suspects-after-admiral-street-robbery/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/police-searching-for-suspects-after-admiral-street-robbery/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 01:18:51 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298837

(WSB photos by Christopher Boffoli. Above, police near the robbery scene)
5:18 PM: Police are combing North Admiral neighborhoods right now for two street-robbery suspects. More to come.

5:27 PM: They have found a possible suspect. We don’t have full details of the incident yet but police had been seeking two people, one reported to have a knife, another who reportedly told the victims he had a gun. They either stole or tried to steal a phone.

(44th/Atlantic, where police checked a home whose resident reported an intruder alarm)
5:45 PM UPDATE: No word of any arrests yet. An active search continues, with K-9; the actual robbery happened north of Admiral/California.

(Tonight’s search went all the way to the water – above, Don Armeni Boat Ramp park)
Just before this, we had learned of a robbery attempt near there yesterday afternoon; police say they don’t know yet if that’s related. In that one, two people tried to steal a 13-year-old’s phone, but older youth in the area chased them away. It apparently was not reported to police until today. (Added: That attempt happened near Lafayette Elementary around 3 pm Tuesday, according to the victim’s family.)

6:26 PM: Search continuing, and it’s very wide-ranging.

(Sunset/Seattle, atop the North Admiral bluff)
7:23 PM: Police have been searching as far north as Harbor Avenue. Counting the attempted robbery yesterday that we just learned about today, this is the fifth street robbery or attempt in West Seattle in the past seven days, starting last Thursday (January 15th) when two people knocked down and stole the backpack of a middle-schooler walking by Myrtle Reservoir in Gatewood; on Friday, a robber stole a phone from a high-school student walking in a Westwood neighborhood; on Saturday, a man parking near his workplace in Morgan Junction was accosted by robbers who tried to steal his car.

8:14 PM: We’re adding photos from the search. Meantime, we just checked with Lt. Alan Williams, who confirms, no arrests yet, and that the person detained at 45th/Walker was not identified by the victims, so he was released. The robbery itself, Lt. Williams says, happened in the 2300 block of 44th SW. He has no description information at this point aside from “two black males … estimated to be 15-17 years of age.”

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Westwood robbery arrest; mystery car… http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-westwood-robbery-mystery-car-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-westwood-robbery-mystery-car-more/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:54:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298799 First, if you happen to have been at Westwood Village and noticed police this past hour:

SHOPLIFTING/ROBBERY: What was described over the air as shoplifting-turned-robbery at the Westwood Village Radio Shack drew a big police response. Our crew was told the employee wasn’t hurt; they’re still trying to determine what was taken. Police were searching for two possible suspects, described early on as Hispanic women 18-22, both 5’3″ to 5’4″, one thin, one medium-to-heavy, one dressed all in black, one in a gray jacket. We’re hearing of one possible arrest in a residential area several blocks north and will be checking to verify.

(12:35 PM UPDATE: SPD confirms a 15-year-old girl is in custody. Apparently the other possible suspect was not involved in the crime.)

(back to original report) A few other Crime Watch notes from the past few days:

RECOGNIZE THIS CAR? Shay says it’s been parked in her neighborhood for a few weeks and neighbors thought it belonged to someone working nearby, but now realize it’s abandoned.

Police will be contacted if they haven’t been already, but Shay got a stolen car back via this kind of WSB report a few years ago and so wanted to get the word out this way too.

CAR PROWLS: Last Friday night, according to a reader report, three cars, all Hondas, were broken into near 49th/Juneau in Seaview; someone “with a flashlight was spotted at 6 am and fled upon being observed.” No signs of forced entry, so neighbors are wondering if the prowler(s) have “a keyless entry.”

NEXT CRIMEFIGHTING MEETINGS: The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets at 6:30 pm next Tuesday (January 27th) at the Southwest Precinct – you don’t have to be a captain, or even in a block watch (yet!), to attend. And if you missed the announcement published here Tuesday morning, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is coming to West Seattle for her first “community conversation” here, 7 pm Tuesday, February 3rd, also at the precinct (which is at Webster/Delridge).

P.S. The chief’s latest quarterly report to the City Council will be presented this afternoon – read it here.

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Scam alert, again: Fake City Light calls @ West Seattle biz, home http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/scam-alert-again-fake-city-light-calls-west-seattle-business-home/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/scam-alert-again-fake-city-light-calls-west-seattle-business-home/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 16:55:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298785 Two new reports of the scam phone callers who claim to be from Seattle City Light, alleging you owe money and are at risk of imminent shutoff if you don’t pay them. This came in last night from Dan at Peel and Press in Morgan Junction:

My employees at Peel and Press just got a call from someone claiming to be Seattle City Light stating that they were going to shut off our power in one hour and that they needed to confirm our billing info. My employees took down the name and number and then called me. I called back “Mr. Allan Grey” and he went on about how my last two payments weren’t cleared and they would be shutting off my power in the next few minutes. He wanted me to confirm my card number and exp date. I asked him to reference the last 4 numbers of my SCL account because something didn’t seem right and I had a feeling this was a scam. He assured me I could wait for my power to get shut off so I would know it was real. I again asked for the last 4 digits and he hung up. I called Seattle City Light and just as I expected my power bill was up to date and no issues with my service. Claimed to be Allan Grey – Ph. 1-800-237-3081

At least one local residence also just got this kind of call – see this post in the WSB Forums. And as noted here a month ago, utility-bill scammers are showing up in person, too.

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT: City Light has scam-protection advice for you here.

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‘Apple-picking,’ nuisance houses, crime trends, and other discussions @ West Seattle Crime Prevention Council http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/apple-picking-nuisance-houses-crime-trends-and-other-discussions-west-seattle-crime-prevention-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/apple-picking-nuisance-houses-crime-trends-and-other-discussions-west-seattle-crime-prevention-council/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 04:56:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298754 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

No new information about Saturday’s Morgan Junction holdup, when it was brought up during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.

What did dominate the evening was a wide-ranging discussion on various neighborhoods’ problems and what can, can’t, and – in some neighbors’ view – should be done about them.

First, the crime-trend update:

LOCAL CRIME TRENDS: Auto theft has remained the same – a high level, but “we’re starting to make some arrests.” Car prowls are “down drastically.” So said precinct operations Lt. Ron Smith, representing precinct leadership at the meeting – he said car prowls are down to 11 in the past week, compared to 18. A new way of handling the data is being implemented soon, he said, so that could make a change. Nonresidential burglaries are down; residential burglary is down 40 percent from an average week, 6 compared to the average of 10. “We’ve made a couple arrests, and that might have made a difference – names known to the community.” Strong-arm robberies, usually 1 a week, this past week we’ve had two (both reported here).

Asked about the strong-arm robbery, Lt. Smith mentioned – without specifying the location – the Sealth student who was walking to school when her phone was stolen. They don’t know yet for sure whether the robber is a student or not, though “similar age group” to the victim. Sometimes the response time is hampered by the fact the robbery isn’t reported until they tell their parents hours later. He says this type of robbery has now been dubbed “Apple-picking.”

Asked about shoplifting, aggravated assault, drug-dealing arrests, Lt. Smith said he doesn’t have numbers on those categories but can get them. He says the Anti-Crime Team is going after drug crime right now, though, and that drug dealing is being addressed “through other methods” – CPTED, such as lighting, removing phone booths, cutting back shrubbery, and talking to businesses to let them know it’s their responsibility to keep watch on what’s happening on their property.

NUISANCE HOUSES: A question is asked about a South Delridge block and a particular house on 17th SW. Lt. Smith says they’re aware of several trouble houses. Precinct liaison Matthew York from the City Attorney’s Office, seated next to Lt. Smith (photo at right), gives his card to the asker. Another man says there’s a similar problem in his neighborhood – stolen cars dumped, an unregistered sex offender who they say had a teenage girl in his house, someone else who was wanted on warrants and “had a sawed-off shotgun.” The house in question had “constant turnover,” troublemakers in the back yard – they would report the problems, police would show up, and be deterred by a locked gate and people going into hiding. “With (houses like this) you can look at the 911 calls – 197 on that block – (people have) called constantly.” Someone else says “it’s kind of like we’re at war” but it has quieted down a bit with the involvement of the Community Police Team.

People are pulling up in cars and smoking heroin, a resident went on to say. “If you see someone smoking heroin, that’s a 911 call,” says York. Is a photo evidence of what happened? the resident asked. The officer generally has to see the crime being committed, York replies. They can’t just stop someone because someone says they stopped them doing something. Another attendee asks, what if that person is driving under the influence, then, can they be pulled over? York explains the legal issues. “They can stop and arrest him, but whether they can prosecute him … comes down to a whole lot of case law.”

The prior resident says that he thinks there’s a “whole lot of value” in seeing police driving past, say, the drug-smoking person sitting in their car. And then comes a discussion about living next door to chronic offenders who are out of jail “and they know I put them there … we’re surrounded by felons whose rights are more elevated than ours. We’ve been victimized by them all this time.” She said she didn’t have a complaint about police response, just the situation in general that has left them next door to the felons. York says he’d like to talk to them offline.

Should this go before the City Council? Is there a place to get more help? asks another attendee. “It’s a complicated legal situation,” says York, but maybe, for example, the Department of Planning and Development might have an ordinance that would apply.

Another attendee points out that this sounds like the nuisance-house situation at 36th/Morgan that was addressed with the help of the City Attorney’s Office. “Is there something that could be done without us having to come to a meeting like this” to get help? she wonders – perhaps the Community Police Team? The South Delridge residents say the CPT has addressed their situation and it’s “quieted down” somewhat as a result, as those officers “have been real direct” with the chronic offenders next door.

Lt. Smith points out that 911 calls are what get the most attention for trouble spots – repeated 911 calls. “Foreclosed homes” are a problem right now, “and you wouldn’t believe how many we have in West Seattle.” He says that one particular (unnamed) bank owns “85 percent” of the vacant, bank-owned homes in West Seattle, and they have a contract with that company that allows them to cut right to the chase if action is needed at a particular address.

Another attendee suggests neighbors might threaten to take offending neighbors to small-claims court; she mentions living next door to a house whose owner wasn’t the problem, “but they had rotten relatives.”

Keep calling 911, urges Lt. Smith.

Finally a question about Saturday’s robbery in Morgan Junction – a man cites the WSB comment from someone who wrote about seeing suspicious people in the area a short time earlier and reported being told, when calling 911, that nothing could be done if a crime wasn’t being committed.

“What was the crime?” York asked repeatedly.

“A–holery,” it was suggested.

But – that’s not a crime, it was repeated. Another man said that near 17th/Henderson, he had encountered someone who behaved threateningly and not gotten much of a response. “If you want police at the doorstep right away, tell them you’re going to do to the person what the person is doing to you,” he said, and that’s the only way to get a response.

Back to the Morgan parking lot, “suspicious behavior is at the bottom of the priority list” in terms of what police can report to. If reported as “they’re slowing down cars and harassing people,” that might be a crime, but if you just say “they’re walking in front of a car and slowing it down,” the operator might not perceive that as the type of problem you’re seeing.

Don’t be nice about it when you call something in, said Lt. Smith.

At that point, a TV reporter identified herself from the corner and asks about the Morgan robbery case and the surveillance video mentioned in our earlier coverage. Lt. Smith looks into a sheaf of report copies he’s brought, to try to find information about the case.

If suspects are identified, will their photos be made available? it’s asked. Not if they’re juveniles, York says, unless they are charged as adults.

Is it legal for someone to walk around with their face covered (as was one of the robbers) – let’s say, if it’s not freezing cold weather? Yes, it is, the law enforcers reply.

Coming back to the subject of the 911 call made earlier that morning, another man in the corner mentions again that you have to be very direct with police – you can’t just say you think something MIGHT be happening, you saw someone who kind of sort of made you wonder. You have to be factual and direct. (No one here had firsthand knowledge of that call, including police, so they were just speculating that perhaps the caller was not.)

Another attendee asks about the prioritization mentioned earlier. Lt. Smith said it depends on what else is going on. The attendee goes on to ask about staffing – “do you have enough officers to respond in a reasonable amount of time?” Lt. Smith says shortly thereafter, “Yeah, we need a lot more officers. We have the amount of officers we had in the late ’60s. We need more officers not only in West Seattle but citywide.”

“Is it a recruiting issue or a funding issue?” asks an attendee.

Both, says Lt. Smith. Personally, he says, as a 35-year cop, he wishes far more money would go toward police services – but where do you take it away? Social services? Fire Department? Roads? “What I have to do is work with the number of officers we have. And we have an incredible bunch of officers here.” He notes that the Southwest Precinct remains a popular place to work.

An attendee goes back to the Morgan robbery, wondering if anyone had seen a gun when the people reported in the street, who might have been the robbers. Another attendee points out (from the report we published earlier) that the gun didn’t come out until after the first robber had asked the victim about the time.

From another attendee: “These things happen in cities … the majority of us here are concerned about the underlying (situation)” such as nuisance houses and chronic offenders.

“We go through phases,” said Lt. Smith. “Right now, community policing is taking the lead” for SPD, the City Attorney’s Office, etc. He brings up the work done to clear encampments. “It sounds simple ‘just clear them out’ – in the city, it’s not that simple, because of the political environment and the legal environment. … we have to follow a proper step-by-step process and it’s time-consuming as heck, but (once we do) we get the people who need help, social services.”

York notes that the Community Police Team has two officers in this area right now but they hope to be getting a third back.

The nuisance-house neighbors say that they wish they could have found an FAQ that would tell them what to do about problems like this, and possibly even have access to knowing that police have been to their neighborhood recently, so they know that officers are on the case – “could we type in ‘house on 19th’ and see” – Lt. Smith says the followup visits don’t always generate new report numbers; the attendee says even if they did, it’s hard to follow.

York says the FAQ idea is a good one, noting that the City Attorney’s Office is redoing its website and that might be something for it.

Neighbors go on to talk about various other problems – including stolen shopping carts, and no prosecution, with store reps showing up. “Did the store owner follow up and want to charge them with a crime?” asked Lt. Smith. The neighbors didn’t know.

Now an attendee speaks up and says, some of these robberies are happening in the morning – is there a standard patrol that’s happening? Lt. Smith mentions that first watch, 3 am to noon, is the shortest-staffed time period. The attendee says a concern is that she can’t tell her teenage daughter, avoid a certain area – “it’s happening all over West Seattle.” Replies Lt. Smith: “It’s happening all over the city.” He also acknowledges that SPD is reactive – if a pattern erupts, they focus resources in a certain area. But by “the next meeting,” there might be a request for resources elsewhere, because the previous problem has been alleviated.

From the other side of the room: “The community is relying on you guys to protect them and come out to calls … I don’t live here, I work here, but like my community, I see a lot of you wanting to do something and not knowing what to do … how can you put out the word that this is a community to be reckoned with.” She says she teaches workshops on “how not to be a victim.”

“Our big thing is Block Watch,” Lt. Smith noted, and more discussion ensued about ways that neighbors can talk with each other.

So what’s being done about addressing the underlying causes? he was asked. What can be done about chronic offenders?

He didn’t have a pithy answer – but did recount a story from his days as a foot-beat officer, how a young offender changed his ways – “People change.”

Another man said that a civic-minded attitude can help. “In our neighborhood, I look around, and I don’t see anything for kids to do.” Somebody suggested that we put out a list of things for kids to do. (We actually do have listings on the calendar. The city-run community centers also have pamphlets full of listings.)

“Volunteer at a school,” suggested one person. “I don’t have time,” was the reply.

Someone else brought the conversation back around to “crime.” She said she’s seeing an increased presence on 21st SW, where she says she’s lived since childhood, but it’s “never been as bad as it is now … I’m really glad to see people here, because I’m not willing to just see it” (fall apart). She then asks a question about some of the side streets, such as Juneau and Brandon, and how she interacts with neighbors when she’s out for a walk. She said she has encountered some who saw suspicious behavior but didn’t report it. Then she mentions one neighbor’s report of what seems to be youth camping in a wetland area, “surrounding by electronics … that they probably didn’t buy.”

“It’s illegal to camp in Parks property,” said York.

The talk then came around to, the issue of seeing “suspicious” behavior, and when police can be called in and when they can’t. “If you take a picture of someone behaving suspiciously, what do you do with it?” asked one man. “Just walking down the street,” you can’t do much with that. “But if (the suspicious person) is putting a safe in the back of their car …”

He asked to clarify: So the Community Police Team officer would be the first point of contact about the suspicious behavior? Yes, said Lt. Smith, noting that the CPT officers on duty right now are Jon Flores and Erin Nicholson. (Find contact info for the CPT on the SPD website, here. Officer Nicholson is filling in this month for Officer Kiehn, per Lt. Smith.)

A woman then voiced hope that once arrested, convicted, and put behind bars, offenders would be trained so they could get jobs “and be a good person” when they get out. Lt. Smith agreed that “correctional” facilities don’t seem to be “correcting” anyone.

At that point, WSCPC president Richard Miller asked for ideas of topics to address at future meetings. Graffiti vandalism was mentioned – “a police perspective on the trends,” for example.

Another suggestion: How various departments/agencies work together on crime/safety issues, so that the public can better understand.

The WSCPC meets on third Tuesdays most months, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct.

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The robbers who couldn’t start the car and the victim who said ‘no’: Followup on Saturday’s Morgan Junction holdup http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/the-robbers-who-couldnt-start-the-car-and-the-victim-who-said-no-followup-on-saturdays-morgan-junction-holdup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/the-robbers-who-couldnt-start-the-car-and-the-victim-who-said-no-followup-on-saturdays-morgan-junction-holdup/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:11:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298703 New details about Saturday morning’s Morgan Junction street robbery/carjacking attempt are in the official police report we have just obtained, as well as the reason for the subsequent search in Gatewood. Until now, as weekend WSB readers are aware, most of what we knew came via comments (here and here) plus a bit of information we procured by finding an SPD sergeant at an unrelated scene post-search. So far, no word of any arrests, but we hope to hear more directly from Southwest Precinct police during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. Ahead, we’ve transcribed the report’s narrative, since this is a high-interest incident, the third street robbery in three days in West Seattle at the time (no reports of any since Saturday):

(Officers) responded to a report of a robbery and carjacking at (4200 block of) SW Morgan. Upon arrival I contacted (victim) at the above-listed location. He advised his vehicle was parked in the south side of the store parking lot. He further advised that the incident actually occurred southeast of this location.

I walked with (victim) to (6700 block of) 42nd SW, where he informed that he was first contacted by the suspects who ultimately ran south and east from the location.

Victim states that he parked and secured his vehicle on the southeast corner of 42nd/Holly. He began walking northbound on the west side of the street. When he arrived in front of (6700 block residence) a black male described as above (unidentified #1) was walking southbound toward him and asked for the time. Victim opened up his cell phone to look and informed him it was 7:13. Suspect then displayed a handgun and pointed it at his face ordering victim “Give me your car keys!” Victim states he told him no and started to walk off when another black male, tall and skinny, put his fist against his back. Two suspects who were walking on the east side of the street crossed over and he was surrouned by four black male teens and one Hispanic teen.

They all had on scarves or handkerchiefs covering their face except the one with the handgun. The taller black male described above began to go through victim’s pockets and he informed him, the keys weren’t in his pocket. He was ordered again to give up his car keys and he complied. They asked for the location of his car and victim advised them.

The taller black male continued to go through his pockets and took his wallet, pen, and keys from his right front pants pocket. Two of the suspects walked up to his car and opened it. They could not figure out how to start the vehicle (it is a pushbutton ignition) and he heard one of them ask, “Where does the key go?” They yelled and asked how to start the car and victim explained, put your foot on the brake and push the button. They continued to struggle and asked again. Suspect with the gun gave it to the taller black male (who was still behind him) and walked up to the car to assist with getting the car started. One of the other suspects came back to assist with victim. They then ordered victim to walk up to the car and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t comply. He walked up to the southwest corner across from his car and the suspects were able to get it started. All suspects jumped in the car and attempted to drive off northbound. They only went a few feet and ended up striking the curb. They then exited the vehicle and threw the keys across the street which landed near victim’s feet. They told him that if he said anything or called the police they would come back and kill him.

Suspects proceeded northbound on 42nd SW and eastbound on Heights Ave SW. Victim then drove his car to its current location. Victim further advises that during the incident one of the suspects recognized him as an employee of the store. Suspect said, “You’re the one who took the bottle of alcohol from me I had stole.”

(Two K-9 teams) responded to the scene. K94 tracked to the greenbelt south of 38th SW/SW Frontenac. En route they discovered a (card) with victim’s name. I later responded to the area of 40th/SW Frontenac to retrieve the item. (A witness) was out walking his dogs and found the card in front of (4000 block) SW Frontenac. He had picked it up and when he saw me checking the area he informed me and turned the card over to me. Victim confirms it had been in his wallet and I returned it to him.

(Witness) advised that he was out getting his newspaper around 0700 hours and observed three subjects walking eastbound on SW Frontenac on the north side of the street. This is consistent with the description given by victim and the direction of the canine track. (Officers) were unable to locate suspects after an extensive search with K9. (Officer) responded to attempt to lift prints from victim’s vehicle.

That’s where the report ends. It contains no further description information; we’re asking again if anything more is available, and will add anything we get. And again, if you have questions/concerns about this or anything else that’s been happening in West Seattle/South Park, police will be on hand as always at tonight’s WS Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm at the precinct meeting room, off Webster west of Delridge.

ADDED 1:18 PM: SPD spokesperson Det. Drew Fowler says the description to which that phrase points, elsewhere in the report, is only this: “black male, 5’1”, ~200 lbs, wearing dark clothing.”

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Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole coming to West Seattle for a community conversation on February 3rd http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/seattle-police-chief-kathleen-otoole-coming-to-west-seattle-for-a-community-conversation-on-february-3rd/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/seattle-police-chief-kathleen-otoole-coming-to-west-seattle-for-a-community-conversation-on-february-3rd/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:06:35 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298682

(WSB photo from August 2014 – Chief O’Toole with Karen Berge & Deb Greer of the WS Block Watch Captains Network)
Shortly after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole started her job last summer, she visited last summer’s Delridge Day/Picnic at the Precinct festival. She has not, however, been to a formal community meeting here – but that’s about to change. Just announced:

The Southwest Precinct Advisory Council (SWPAC) and the West Seattle Block Watch Captains are pleased to announce a community conversation with Seattle’s Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole.

The West Seattle community is invited to come to the Southwest Police Precinct on Tuesday, February 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 pm to participate in this community conversation.

There will not be a formal program as this is an opportunity for the citizens of West Seattle to come out and meet Seattle’s new police chief.

If you would like more information or have any questions, you can contact Pete Spalding at SWPAC@comcast.net.

The precinct is at 2300 SW Webster, on the NW corner of Webster/Delridge.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Holdup in Morgan Junction, followed by search in Gatewood http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-holdup-in-morgan-junction-followed-by-search-in-gatewood/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-holdup-in-morgan-junction-followed-by-search-in-gatewood/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 17:33:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298404

(Texted photo, during police search in Gatewood)
Thanks to everyone who asked about a police search in Gatewood about an hour ago. It broke up just as we arrived, but we have finally found a sergeant to ask, and we’ve learned it was related to a robbery first mentioned by a commenter. Still many details missing, but here’s what we know:

*A man was held up at gunpoint early this morning in the West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) parking lot at California/Fauntleroy. (The commenter who mentioned it says the victim described the robbers as “teenagers.”)

*Officers searching for the robbers had reason to believe they might be in the Gatewood area, several blocks southeast of the store, so that’s why they had “containment” set up in the 8 am hour – west of 35th, along streets including Webster, Ida, and Othello. We’re told some “evidence” was found.

They’re still investigating actively, and that’s why details are few. By the way, if you happened to see the big police response in the Home Depot parking lot around 9 pm, just next to the precinct, that was not related – they were taking a domestic-violence suspect into custody – that just happened to be where we found a sergeant to ask about the Morgan/Gatewood case.

P.S. This is the third day in a row that someone’s been robbed, armed or strongarm, in West Seattle (our Thursday and Friday stories are linked on the Crime Watch page). So we’ll say this again: The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets Tuesday (January 20th), 7 pm at the precinct (Delridge/Webster), and precinct leadership is always there for a briefing on trends as well as attendee Q/A.

ADDED 10:35 AM SUNDAY: Thanks to MK, wife of the man who was held up, we have details of what happened. From her comment below:

Steve had parked his car on 42nd by the McDonald’s and was walking to work. He was approached by Robber #1 and asked the time. Steve looked at his cell phone and it was 7:13 am. Robber #1 pulled out a gun and pointed it in Steve’s face and demanded his car keys, at the same time 4 males surrounded him. One of them searched his pockets, stealing his wallet and cell phone. Robber #2 & #3 took his keys and got into his car but couldn’t figure out how to start it – the car has keyless ignition. Steve was calm and told Robber #1 how to start it and Robber #1 gave the gun to Robber #4 who then had the gun on Steve’s back. Robber #1 went to the car and was able to start it, they all jumped in the car but they didn’t release the parking brake and maybe got 3 feet before all 5 jumped out of the car and ran off. Steve got into the car and drove to work where he called the police. Police responded immediately – they did a search of the area and also dusted our car for fingerprints and were able to pull some good prints.

Hopefully they will be caught- he thought recognized a couple of these punks (shoplifters) and spent the morning searching his shoplifting records and sure enough he found 3 of their photos which he called police and provided a cd of their photos.

Here are the descriptions (all teens/young adults):
Robber #1 short black male
Robber #2 tall skinny black male (previous shoplifter)
Robber #3 average height samoan male (previous shoplifter)
Robber #4 brother of number #3 (previous shoplifter)
Robber #5 tall black male

There was no activity on either our credit cards or his cell before they were closed so we think they were just after the car.

So please note the holdup did not happen IN the store parking lot, as early information had indicated – police responded there because the victim drove there after the robbers fled.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Another student robbed while walking to school http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-another-student-robbed-while-walking-to-school/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-another-student-robbed-while-walking-to-school/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 22:04:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298321 2:04 PM: For the second day in a row, a local student has been robbed while walking to school. Thursday, it happened in Gatewood; today, in Westwood. The victim’s mom contacted us in hopes someone might see this, tossed aside somewhere:

She told us her daughter’s phone “was nabbed right out of her jacket pocket as she walked from Westwood Village to Sealth High School on 25th ave. SW. We filed a police report but she’d really like the bottom half of her Beemo phone case back. It might have been discarded somewhere along 25th Avenue SW.”

We have requested but not yet received the police report in this case – if and when we do, we’ll add whatever else it includes, including descriptions, if any. Meantime, we asked the mom if her daughter’s OK. “She’s understandably shaken but physically OK. She’s just real sad about losing the phone case.” If you see it, contact police; the case number is 15-017129.

4:10 PM: We’ve obtained the report from SPD but it includes very little additional information. This was reported around 8:30 this morning; police were called once the victim arrived at CSIHS, so there’s no exact address of where she was when it happened. The robber is described only as black, male, maybe 15-17 years old, wearing black. The victim said he came up to her, said “Give me your phone”; she didn’t respond. He then reached into the front pocket of her sweatshirt, grabbed her phone, and ran southbound, toward Westwood Village.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Car stolen twice in less than 2 weeks http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-car-stolen-twice-in-less-than-2-weeks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-crime-watch-car-stolen-twice-in-less-than-2-weeks/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 17:52:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298301 Nine days ago, Beth‘s VW Passat was stolen from her driveway near Lincoln Park. The next day, a reader reported it turned up in front of their home in Beverly Park. Now – Beth says it’s been stolen again:

Turns out they ransacked and found an extra key in my husband’s car. I am
requesting help again since some lovely lady found it last time in the 115th
area. I was having it rekeyed on Saturday!!!

2004 royal blue VW Passat with Sun Valley and state of WA stickers on back,
license #AKD2678 (in a Hans Automotive frame). I am so frustrated!

If you see it, call 911.

P.S. The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s first meeting of 2015, with local SPD leadership on hand, is at 7 pm next Tuesday (January 20th). If you have neighborhood crime/safety concerns, be there.

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