West Seattle Blog... » West Seattle police http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:06:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglary suspect in custody http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-crime-watch-burglary-suspect-in-custody/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-crime-watch-burglary-suspect-in-custody/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:07:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283965

If you heard/saw the big police response in southeast West Seattle, it was for a report of someone breaking into an occupied home (added: near 21st/Barton) … and police are reported to have a suspect in custody. More when we get it.

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The WSBeat: Four police-report summaries, starting with fruit theft http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/the-wsbeat-four-police-report-summaries-starting-with-fruit-theft/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/the-wsbeat-four-police-report-summaries-starting-with-fruit-theft/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 19:33:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283913 By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

This edition of our periodic feature The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …

*A Fauntleroy resident went out to his planting strip to harvest his organic pear crop and was dismayed to discover that all of the ripe fruit had been taken. He estimates that at least 50 pounds of fruit — worth $200 — was missing. A nearby citizen said she saw a man and woman in a white van picking the fruit. The van is registered to a Georgetown address.

Three more summaries ahead, including the case that began with a naked man and a tree:

*Around 6:30 pm on the 26th, officers were dispatched to the 2500 block of 56th SW where a naked man was doing pullups from a tree branch. He didn’t appreciate being placed in the rear of the patrol car, where he spent his time mumbling and spitting. The 17-year-old from Kent was eventually restrained (and fitted with a “spit sock”), placed on a gurney, and transported to Harborview for treatment.

*On Harbor Avenue on the evening of the 21st, a rollerblader claimed that a driver speedily exiting a restaurant parking caused a collision. He said the driver entered the skating lane so unexpectedly and abruptly that he (the fast skater) was unable to stop in time and slammed into the car. When medics arrived, they found him on the ground. On the other hand, the police report says, the driver, two passing witnesses (who knew neither the driver or skater), and the restaurant video told a different (and consistent) story: The driver *had* pulled out and was waiting for passing traffic to clear before entering the street. The skater (“moving slower than I walk” said one witness) chose to pass in front of the car (rather than going behind), tapped/grasped the hood the entire time. As he reached the driver’s side he lowered himself “gracefully” to the ground, claiming injury, and pulled out a cellphone. They also say he was lucid and talking … until medics arrived and transported him to Harborview. Officers interviewed him there and warned him that his version was at odds with those of the witnesses. They even mentioned that security footage likely recorded the scene. They asked if he wanted to amend his version of events. He did not, and is facing investigation of false reporting.

*Around 6:15 pm on the 21st, medics were sent to the 1900 block of 42nd SW where they revived a man in a parked car who had overdosed on heroin. He was transported to Harborview. Meanwhile, his female friend who called for assistance was taken into custody for an outstanding felony warrant and for a variety of needles, methamphetamine, and fake IDs in her possession.

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EDITOR’S NOTES: Remember, the CRISIS CLINIC hotline is a resource for those in crisis, including thoughts or acts of self-harm, or trying to find help for someone in crisis: 206.461.3222 … Previous WSBeat roundups are archived here. We also publish crime reports when we get tips or otherwise hear about noteworthy incidents – they don’t all turn up on the scanner, so please don’t be shy about letting us know when you see/hear something happening = call or text 206-293-6302.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Police investigating gunfire http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-crime-watch-police-investigating-gunfire/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-crime-watch-police-investigating-gunfire/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 03:43:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282854 No word of any injuries, but it appears that police have confirmed that was gunfire heard by many near the Delridge Library (5400 block of Delridge) a little while ago. Officers are still in the area investigating and one reported (via radio) finding shell casings. One nearby resident who called 911 tells WSB that dispatchers told her others had called too.

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Election 2014: Despite (or because of?) park proliferation, Seattle Proposition 1 on losing side here http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/election-2014-despite-or-because-of-park-proliferation-seattle-proposition-1-on-losing-side-here/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/election-2014-despite-or-because-of-park-proliferation-seattle-proposition-1-on-losing-side-here/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 21:58:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=282241 checkbox.jpgAt week’s end, King County Elections published the legislative-district-by-legislative-district breakdown of the first night’s results in the August 5th election. Though the citywide total has been in favor of Seattle Proposition 1 – creating a Park District with taxing authority for extra parks funding that has previously come via levy – parkland-rich West Seattle is in the “no” column. West Seattle has the bulk of in-city voters in the 34th Legislative District (map), and the district’s opening-night vote was 42 percent “approve,” 58 percent “reject.” That was the lowest “approve” percentage of any legislative district with some Seattle voters; next lowest was the 32nd District (map) in northwesternmost Seattle, at 43 percent “approve.” The strongest support, meantime, was 63 percent “approve” in the 43rd District (map), which includes downtown, Capitol Hill, and Green Lake.

If you’re interested in other King County races’ election-night district-by-district breakout, it’s all in this PDF. No precinct-by-precinct breakout yet; the final vote won’t be certified until next week. (And again, what’s reported above is from a breakdown of the first count, made public election night, and does not include ballots counted and reported since then. The “approve/reject” gap has widened a little citywide since that first round; as of Friday afternoon, “approve” was ahead with 53.2 percent, while on Election Night, it was at 52.4 percent.

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The WSBeat: ‘Hang up and drive,’ especially if you’re wanted … http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/the-wsbeat-hang-up-and-drive-especially-if-youre-wanted/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/the-wsbeat-hang-up-and-drive-especially-if-youre-wanted/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 09:02:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281478 By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

This edition of our periodic feature The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …

*In the 1500 block of SW Cambridge, a driver pulled over for talking on her cell phone was unable to provide the officer with her license or proof of insurance. What she *did* have were five felony warrants (totaling $65,000): Three for DUI and two for driving with a suspended license. She was booked into King County Jail.

*On Monday the 28th, the manager of an Alki coffee shop called 911 after checking the welfare of a patron who had been in the bathroom a long time. She opened the door, saw him with a belt around his arm and suspected he was injecting drugs. Officers arrived and questioned the man who, the previous day, had fallen asleep in the same bathroom. At the request of the manager, he was trespassed from the business. When a records check showed that he was wanted on a felony warrant by the King County Sheriff’s Office for residential burglary and trafficking stolen property ($50,075), he was booked into the King County Jail.

*On the 23rd, someone got into the foyer of an apartment in the 1700 block of Alki Ave. SW and stole a package that had been delivered. (The addressee found the empty box at the rear of the building.) Inside: A $2,000 gaming computer.

*Wanting to sell a coin collection, a citizen got a ride to a Junction store from “a friend of a friend.” He stepped from the car, and as he turned back to reach for the items, the driver punched the accelerator and took off. Officers later discovered that the driver needed money to bail out on a $20,000 felony warrant from King County. A records check later in the day showed that the warrant had been “cleared.” Bottom line: The driver had used the proceeds from a new felony to pay off a previous felony.

*On the 25th, just after midnight, officers arrived at the scene of a reported robbery at 26th and Barton. The victim had been attacked by four men and then dragged into the bushes, police were told. The attackers then removed the victim’s clothing and fled. They were described as black males, one in red shorts, a white T shirt, and long black hair down to his shorts. A second wore jeans, a black shirt, and a baseball cap. The third wore a white fisherman’s cap and a white shirt. The victim was transported to Highline Hospital for treatment.

*Same place, on the 27th, another man waiting for a bus was attacked by two juveniles who ended up being booked into the Youth Service Center. One of them was carrying a half gallon bottle of rum, which was returned to a nearby drugstore.

*On the 27th, at 29th and Barton, what was first called in as “a man with an ax” turned out to be a man who pulled a work hammer from his backpack when he felt threatened by juveniles who made fun of him for being drunk. The kids who were still at the scene told officers that the man never chased or tried to hit them. The man was released.

*On the 26th, a stranger (who turned out to be a Queen Anne resident) stumbled into a yard sale in the 7700 block of 12th SW carrying a half-gallon of alcohol. He offered drinks all around before the homeowner told him to leave. The next thing she knew, the stranger was inside her house. The man fled when told police had been called. He was booked into KCJ for investigation of non-forced residential burglary.

*The drivers/owners of two cars stolen on the 28th (one from Lincoln Park; another from Beach Drive) unintentionally provided extra help to the thieves: In both cases, the police reports say, there was an extra car key inside the vehicle.

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EDITOR’S NOTES: Remember, the CRISIS CLINIC hotline is a resource for those in crisis, including thoughts or acts of self-harm, or trying to find help for someone in crisis: 206.461.3222 … Previous WSBeat roundups are archived here. We also publish crime reports when we get tips or otherwise hear about noteworthy incidents – they don’t all turn up on the scanner, so please don’t be shy about letting us know when you see/hear something happening = call or text 206-293-6302.

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Gunfire investigation http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-crime-watch-gunfire-investigation-2/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/west-seattle-crime-watch-gunfire-investigation-2/#comments Sun, 03 Aug 2014 11:40:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=281410 We’ve had several reports of what sounded like rapid gunfire in the past half-hour somewhere near High Point/Sunrise Heights/Gatewood. Police had been investigating for a while before one officer finally reported (as monitored via scanner) finding a shell casing. This was after a dispatch to go check out an alley off the 7300 block of 35th SW, but we don’t know for sure if that’s where it turned up. No reports of anyone having been hit/hurt, so far.

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Update: Police investigating South Delridge shooting; 2 people hurt in car, bullet hits parked van http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/police-investigating-shots-fired-call-in-south-delridge/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/police-investigating-shots-fired-call-in-south-delridge/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 21:36:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278534

(Photo added – SPD still investigating as of just before 5 pm)
2:36 PM: Police are investigating a report of shots fired in the 9400 block of 15th SW (map). No reports of anyone being hit/injured; radio communication monitored via scanner says it’s believed to have involved some kind of argument between people in a car and people on foot – we haven’t heard whether the shots came from the former or latter.

3:23 PM: Police reported finding at least one shell casing.

4:13 PM: Now there’s word someone WAS hit and wound up at Valley Medical Centerjust tweeted by SPD, which says the victim has non-life-threatening injuries.

4:56 PM: Just talked to police at the scene. The man previously reported as hit was in the car involved in the incident, which took him directly to a hospital, and that’s why there was no medic callout. Separately, a stray bullet hit a parked van behind a local business (The Live Butcher – photo added below).

No one was in the van and no one was hurt by that bullet, nor was the business itself affected. And as we write this update, an SPD Blotter post has just been published, saying a woman in the car was “grazed” by a bullet in addition to the man who was shot in the leg. Police are still on the scene looking for witnesses.

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West Seattle 4th of July 2014: Night notes, including fireworks, stabbing, crash http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-4th-of-july-2014-notes-as-the-night-proceeds/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-4th-of-july-2014-notes-as-the-night-proceeds/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 03:37:50 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278356 8:37 PM: As night falls, we’re starting a sort of live chronicle/open thread going here – anything of note that we hear about via scanner, text (206-293-6302), e-mail, etc. We start with another reminder that if you lose or find a pet tonight, once you’ve checked around the neighborhood, please send a note – pic if you have one, but not mandatory – to editor@westseattleblog.com, and we’ll put a listing on the WSB Lost/Found Pets page, which is already busier than other days of the year. Hoping for a safe night for all.

9:04 PM: Police are checking out a reported strong-arm robbery at the bus stop on Barton by Roxhill Park, per the scanner. The victim is reported to have said a group of 8 or so robbers “stole his fireworks” and then got on a RapidRide bus. By the way, police *are* being dispatched to some fireworks calls. We’ve heard addresses from Westwood to Alki.

9:27 PM: A dispatch to the 2700 block of Alki right now, with a report of someone putting fireworks in front of cars and on fences. Meantime, LS in Highland Park just sent this report about something earlier tonight:

Around 8 pm, I saw someone driving away very fast in a very loud white pickup, and looking back toward my mailbox seconds before it exploded. Police arrived about half an hour after I reported it, and are submitting it to the bomb squad. It was a sizeable bomb. Apparently the same person (same pickup) was seen after exploding something else in W Seattle (according to the officers). Hopefully someone will see the license plate and report this jerk.

9:54 PM: The fireworks dispatches/callouts on the scanner continue – addresses all over West Seattle. Also a few minutes ago, four people reported to be brawling near 61st/Stevens in Alki. Meantime, the fireworks on Lake Union are now less than half an hour away.

10:26 PM: “Chinese lanterns, falling into people’s yards” in the 2400 block of Alki. (Likely the popular “sky lanterns.) And now another strong-arm-robbery report, not far from the first one – someone saying they were knocked down by QFC at Westwood Village, and had their wallet stolen. Police got there quickly and now report “one in custody.” (Again, this is all preliminary information – we won’t be able to see the final reports before Monday.) Over on Lake Union, the big Seafair-produced fireworks show has begun. (**a few minutes later**) Brush-fire call at the former Genesee Hill Elementary.

10:45 PM: Fireworks on Lake Union are over. East Alki will be emptying out. But the unofficial shows continue. Someone just texted about “huge” fireworks visible somewhere near California/College in Admiral.

11 PM: Police are going to start “sweeping the beach” to tell people Alki Beach Park is closed (as of 11) and that it’s time to clear out.

12:52 AM: Much quieter out there; so far, no major incidents in West Seattle, though police and fire have been plenty busy.

2:08 AM: Missed the initial dispatch for the “assault with weapons” call at 64th/Admiral. A private ambulance was called, suggesting non-life-threatening injuries, and the call closed after about half an hour, so, pending further info, it seems to have not been major; will update when we find out more.

2:47 AM: We’ve received a phone call from someone who says he was a witness. He says a stranger barged into a neighborhood party and stabbed one of the guests, then ran out. The caller alleges police were slow to show, and that the suspect – who he described as white, mid-30s, bearded, blondish-brownish hair, wearing a white shirt – was long gone. He didn’t have an update on the victim’s condition but did affirm the injury didn’t seem to be life-threatening. (added) Southwest Precinct Lt. Paul Leung did respond to our original inquiry and also said it was a private party, at which, he says, an “unknown person showed up and somehow got into an altercation with one of the guests. The guest was cut in the hand with a knife and the suspect left in an unknown direction. The injuries were minor. Everyone was intoxicated.”

4:06 AM: Reader report from Kristen:

Just want to report that there was a car crash here on Marine View and about a block south of 106th at about 2:44 AM – one that sent a Jeep off the road into a downhill bank. My household and I heard the screeching of tires and then a loud crash. We found a Jeep off the main road crashed in-between trees… but no one there. Apparently the driver and anyone else in the car split… we called the police and two officers arrived immediately. They’re towing the car and I suspect the driver will be notified accordingly (which makes it all the more silly that they would think running would be smart)…

Tonight is an especially perilous night because of the holiday, but people almost always come around the curve on MVD too fast, going north and south. This is not the first time we’ve known someone to take it too fast and go careening off the main road (we live on the part of MVD that dips below the main road), sober or drunk. I wish that drivers would be more cautious on the main road. Tonight was certainly a scary reminder that people need to be more aware that there is potential to careen off the road if they’re going too fast!

We’ll be checking with police to see if the car by any chance was stolen – which is sometimes the case when a crashed car is abandoned.

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Here’s how Seattle Police are handling Alki Beach this week http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/heres-how-seattle-police-are-handling-alki-beach-this-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/heres-how-seattle-police-are-handling-alki-beach-this-week/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 05:24:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278065

(Photo by Don Brubeck)
What’s the police plan for Alki this 4th of July? We’ve been talking to Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, who says that for starters, they’ve had additional patrols daily this week to “set the tone” for the 4th and also to guard against anything stemming from last Wednesday’s fight/stabbing. The precinct commander added that there are regular-duty officers specifically assigned to the beach, especially on third watch (evening and early am), and SPD continues “to use officers to close the beach at (11 pm), as well as requesting the assistance of the traffic unit and the parking enforcement unit when they are available to deal with some of the traffic congestion issues.” On the 4th of July itself, he says, “We will have a significant presence of both bike and foot officers starting about 4:00 pm on Friday. We are not planning to close down streets, particularly Alki, unless we have to for some reason such as clearing a path for the Seattle Fire Department. We will be continuing the emphasis on Saturday the 5th, and have it scheduled for every Friday and Saturday through the summer.”

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The WSBeat: ‘Fast backup’; stuck in a cabinet; trapped in a tub; more… http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/the-wsbeat-fast-backup-stuck-in-a-cabinet-trapped-in-a-tub-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/the-wsbeat-fast-backup-stuck-in-a-cabinet-trapped-in-a-tub-more/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 04:35:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277509 By Megan Sheppard
On the WSBeat, for West Seattle Blog

This edition of our periodic feature The WSBeat contains summaries written from reports on cases handled recently by Southwest Precinct officers – generally cases that (usually) have not already appeared here in breaking-news coverage or West Seattle Crime Watch reports, but that might at least answer the question “what WERE all those police doing on my block?” Or on the bridge, or the beach, or …

*On the afternoon of the 20th, firefighters asked for a “fast backup” from officers as they dealt with a patient in the 7500 block of 32nd SW. Officers found the 38-year-old lying on his back, yelling and growling, with “about half a dozen medics and officers holding him down.” The man had fought with firefighters and injured one by grabbing and crushing his upper arm, breaking the skin in three places. The suspect, who has a history of drug-induced “excited delirium” incidents, was transported to Harborview. Officers are recommending that the suspect be charged with assault.

*On the 18th, in the 2800 block of 36th SW, a man took up residence inside a small cabinet discarded {“Free!”) on a corner. He provided incoherent answers to officers’ questions, and they felt it was best he be taken to Harborview for a mental evaluation–plus, they were concerned he might die (from “positional asphyxiation”) if he accidentally fell asleep inside the cramped quarters.

*On the 16th, Arbor Heights residents asked that officers check on the wellbeing of an elderly neighbor whom they had not seen for about a week. Officers noticed a full mailbox and papers on the porch. Getting no response to knocks, they decided to make a forced entry. They found the 77-year-old woman in the bathtub — alive — but gasping and unable to speak. It appeared she had been stuck for several days. She was transported to Harborview for care.

Ahead, eight more summaries, starting with two cases of predatory behavior:

*While in a business in the 1600 block of SW Holden, a woman noticed that an older man had his arm around her 6-year-old daughter, who was standing just behind her but near the door. The man also seemed to be whispering in her ear. The mom jokingly said, “Excuse me, you can’t take her,” but the man ignored her. When she forcibly removed his arm from the girl, he said, “They’re best at that age.” He left the store and climbed into a dark blue, newer hatchback wagon. He was a white man in his 70s, between 5′ and 5’5″, with a medium build. He wore a white shirt with thin back stripes, possibly plaid. He remains at large.

*On the afternoon of the 20th, a 20-year-old woman was walking in an alley behind the 6300 block of 35th SW when she sensed she was being followed. A man was approaching quickly, chiding her loudly for not “watching her surroundings” and then saying, among other things, that “Girls like you get stalked like prey and killed.” The woman looked around and saw an elderly male nearby, stopped in a vehicle, who seemed to be watching out for her. The suspect also saw the man and walked away quickly. (The man in the car gave her a “thumbs up” and then drove off.) The suspect (and another man) drove off southbound on 34th SW in a blue 1990s van with tinted windows. The suspects are both black males. One was 30-49 years old, the other 22-29. The older man was about 6 feet tall, with slim build and dark complexion. He had a scar below one eye and white residue on his nostrils. One wore a red sweat suit. They remain at large.

*On the evening of the 20th, a citizen reported a disturbance with a man forcing his way into a home in the 5200 block of 19th SW. He tried to get away as police arrived but decided to give up when he realized he was literally running into a dead end. The argument had been about the man’s drinking; his wife would like to see him get treatment. Meanwhile, the husband (who has an extensive criminal history and is a convicted felon), was wanted on a $10,000 warrant for unlawful use of weapons. He was booked into King County Jail.

*On the 17th, a 58-year-old Alki-area man walked into his a neighbor’s backyard and began drilling into the ground using a cordless drill. The officer noted that the man could sit still for fewer than ten seconds at a time, provided multiple answers for each question, admitted he hadn’t slept in several days and couldn’t remember when he had last eaten. He was taken to Harborview for a mental evaluation. A second man made the same trip on the 19th after he threatened to harm himself while being evicted. When the King County Officer showed up to serve the papers, the man pulled a dagger from a sheath, which is when the officer called for backup from Seattle police.

*Early Sunday, two strangers in a truck got peeved at a young man who was in front of them, driving north on I 5. They followed him onto the West Seattle Bridge, then pulled in front, preventing him from passing. They eventually came to a stop in the middle of the bridge; the young man drove around them. Again they followed, all the way to 35th and Charleston, where they jumped out of their truck, tried to open the young man’s (locked) car door, and challenged him to fight. The young man simply drove away and, after following for a few blocks, the strangers gave up the chase.

*On the 21st, a 20-year-old driver from Kent blatantly ignored a bicycle officer’s order to pull over at Alki (for cruising and for excessive noise) and accelerated rapidly, trying to flee down side streets that were crowded with both people and cars. With pedestrians yelling at him to slow down, he was finally hemmed in by other drivers, arrested, and booked into King County Jail for investigation of reckless driving and failure to stop for an officer.

*An officer was suspicious about a man and woman he saw walking at Alki at 4:30 a.m. on the 22nd. Their odd clothing, facial sores, haggard appearance and thin build were hallmarks of meth or heroin users. A short time later he encountered them again and decided to ask some questions. The man disappeared before backing officers arrived, but the woman turned out to be a missing person from Bellingham. A pat-down for weapons revealed a syringe and multiple plastic bindles in her pocket. In other clothing and her backpack, officers found multiple used and unused syringes and close to 100 empty plastic bindles that had likely contained heroin. Because the officer knew she’d be turned away from King County Jail (for the infected sores covering her arms and upper torso), he took her to the SW Precinct for a long talk. He suggested she return to Bellingham and get some medical assistance for her addictions. He returned her belongings and released her from the precinct. Bellingham PD was notified to take her off the missing list.

*On the 22nd, a 17-year-old girl was arrested after shoplifting and threatening a security guard at a Westwood Village store with a knife. Inside her handbag? Two kitchen knives and an open bottle of Jack Daniels.

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EDITOR’S NOTES: Remember, the CRISIS CLINIC hotline is a resource for those in crisis, including thoughts or acts of self-harm, or trying to find help for someone in crisis: 206.461.3222 … Previous WSBeat roundups are archived here. We also publish crime reports when we get tips or otherwise hear about noteworthy incidents – they don’t all turn up on the scanner, so please don’t be shy about letting us know when you see/hear something happening = call or text 206-293-6302.

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What should you know about gangs? Here’s what the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network heard tonight http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/what-should-you-know-about-gangs-heres-what-the-west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network-heard-tonight/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/what-should-you-know-about-gangs-heres-what-the-west-seattle-block-watch-captains-network-heard-tonight/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 04:34:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277386 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

How widespread are gangs in Seattle and what do you need to know about them in order to stay safe?

The lieutenant who leads the Seattle Police Gang Unit, accompanied by one of his detectives, spoke tonight to the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network, and debunked myths as well as answering questions.

It was the first time a West Seattle group had heard from Gang/Robbery/Fugitives Lt. Dan Whelan since April of last year, when he spoke to the WS Crime Prevention Council (WSB coverage here).

According to Lt. Whelan, the gang unit has four goals:

-Prevent violence; “we don’t want people out there shooting at each other.” He mentioned “proactive patrols” all day on the last day of school in Seattle last Thursday (as well as the two days preceding). “Frequently, as school is closing down, these kids decide ‘I’m not going to see this guy again … I’m going to even things up right now’.”

He said that “in our experience especially in the last couple of days (of school), these kids are going to migrate to Alki” so that’s why the Gang Unit focuses there, and to a lesser degree at Golden Gardens Park.

4th of July coverage will start at 2 pm for the Gang Unit. He mentioned there’s a particular gang that has an annual picnic on the 4th of July “and we’d like to make sure they’re aware that we’re aware they’re having a picnic.” He says they get lots of information via the social-media bragging of gang members. They’ll be patrolling parks in multiple precincts and wind up back at Alki “on preventive patrol” around fireworks time. Again, “the whole idea is to keep people from shooting each other.”

Overall, he said, “July’s a very heavy month for us.”

According to the lieutenant, they know everybody out there “who claims to be a gangbanger – and if we don’t know who they are, it’s our job to find somebody who does.” That “takes away all the anonymity that these kids think they have.” They might see an officer and think s/he doesn’t know they’re a gang member – but when the “G-Unit” shows up, everyone on it knows who they are, so “you can see an immediate change … All of a sudden, the tone and temperature of the crowd changes, and a lot of the bad guys leave because the Gang Unit is there.”

Also, he said, when there’s a shooting death involving a gang member, the first question he’ll ask his team, “When and where’s the funeral? We want to be there.” The Gang Unit will patrol the area because otherwise that kind of gathering might be ripe for other violence. “We’ve been very successful to date.” He says it’s not considered intrusive by the family of the person who was killed, because “they want to bury their loved one in peace.”

He also said many types of crimes wind up being investigated by the Gang Unit “because there’s a strong suspicion that gang members were involved.” But it’s difficult to get people to tell what they’ve seen – “maybe a dozen, two dozen witnesses saw the whole thing, but because of gangland policy ‘don’t snitch,’ nobody will talk to us. … We could solve most of the shootings in Seattle in about 24 hours if people will just tell us what they saw. … But we’re out there trying to prevent these crimes from occurring.”

They also have electronic communication with other law-enforcement agencies/officers in an e-mail system called GETEM. It’s been out there for a while – we found this 2008 reference from outside Seattle. And it’s no secret, Lt. Whelan reassured an attendee who asked at that point if anything confidential would be compromised by our coverage of tonight’s meeting.

He mentioned the years when Seattle had its highest murder rate and how it was more or less warfare between particular gangs. That’s not the way it goes now, he said. Now, it’s more an affiliation with a particular neighborhood – even if they don’t live there – than with a particular gang. Some Seattle neighborhoods have gang members claiming affiliation even if they live, for example, in South King County. On the converse: “There are some individuals who claim South End … but these kids move all over. … It’s not just Seattle. These kids aren’t just sitting around on one streetcorner.”

Their criminal enterprises have expanded into prostitution and different types of drugs, he said – “any way to make a buck.” But, “other than that, these guys are not tough guys, necessarily .. they’re not necessariliy the worst guys in the world that I’d encountered … unless they’re in a group, or you get them cornered …”

One thing Seattle doesn’t have right now, Lt. Whelan said, in response to a question: No serious motorcycle-gang problem right now.

Returning to his unit’s summer plans, he mentioned several big events where they will have a presence, including the Bite of Seattle and the Seafair Torchlight Parade next month.

Another attendee asked: The gang members that caused concerns regarding the last day of school – are they actually students? Yes, he said, they are. And when school starts, the Gang Unit will show up and work on prevention/deterrence all over again.

Det. Rob Thomas, who’s been with the unit five years, was introduced. He gave some more-general information about gangs, and what binds them together – their code, their common symbols, etc. The biggest umbrella groups were founded decades ago and have tens of thousands of people involved around the country.

“Seattle gangs are different compared to what you might see in LA,” he said. As Lt. Whelan had mentioned, the alliances tend to be neighborhood vs. neighborhood – Central District vs. South End, for example. The city has about 160 active, distinct gangs, he said, with thousands of members.

A common question came up again – how do you know when graffiti/tagging is gang-related? Most of that type of vandalism is NOT gang related, Det. Johnson said – “most of what you see around the city is from what we call ‘tagger crews’.” Especially the “bubbly letter” type of tagging. He also mentioned SPD’s fulltime graffiti detective. (But regardless of whether you think it’s gang-related or not, do report it – it’s a crime. Take a photo before painting it out. Here’s how to report it – including an online tool that will require a photo.)

Another question: “What’s a gang activity? How do we know what’s a danger to us, and what (is just targeted at other gang members)? Why are they in a gang?”

Det. Johnson said that the latter is complex – “notoriety” is one reason, looking for fame and attention. “That’s definitely a huge draw among all gang members.” Some also are longing for a family – “they have bad home situations (or) come from broken homes.” Or, “there are just some people who like being criminals … those are the more hard-core gang members.” Gang members could start as early as age 12, he said. Asked about the ethnic makeup of gangs, Det. Johnson said they don’t shake out along ethnic lines in Seattle as much as in other areas.

How can you tell whether someone is a gang member? “We see a lot of people who are claiming this stuff, and I can’t prove it – they’re not ‘card-carrying’ members.” said Lt. Whelan. They can’t flat out declare that someone is a gang member but they can certainly say someone said they were.

Are tennis shoes over wires a sign of gang activity or drug activity? Det. Johnson was asked. No, he said, “that’s an urban legend.”

“How can we help you?” Cooperation, and calling attention to suspicious situations, are big, said the detective. But SW Precinct Community Police Team Officer Jon Kiehn also warned against just calling 911 and saying there are people “who look like they are in a gang.” You need to call 911 and describe the activity you think is criminal. A discussion about 911 dispatchers and calltakers ensued, after one attendee said that her neighborhood is trying to help by reporting activity, but “getting the third degree” when they call in.

The questions asked by a dispatcher, it was explained, are intended to elicit information on why you think a crime is taking place. “But if we’re working specifically with you guys regarding specific cases … to get that third degree, you are shutting down members on that Block Watch” who want to give information.

Det. Johnson said he used to be a dispatcher and explains the amount of stresses they go through with a relative handful for the entire city. “Doesn’t excuse rudeness but … they’re really trying to elicit practical information so they can (send police out there).” They have to have grounds for police to speak to possible suspects, not just “something doesn’t seem right.” (One year ago, WSBWCN featured guest speakers on how the 911 call center works and how to maximize a 911 call – read our story here.)

Gang members’ motto tends to be “get rich or die trying,” Lt. Whelan said toward the end. “As they get older and become more violent, it’s only a matter of time before they shoot someone and we catch them – or they’re going to make a lot of people angry at them and get themselves shot, killed, wounded – if they get into prison as adults, first time, 5 to 10 years .. I guarantee you prison never did anybody any good, you’re (leaving) more angry, more violent, trained in the arts of criminal behavior.” But they’re too old to be gangbangers when they come out, “so they just go into an adult career of crime. That’s basically the gang lifestyle, it’s dead end, it’s not going anywhere, we can’t stop it, it’s bigger than us, the main thing we can do in the Seattle Police Department is keep this from being a ‘free-fire zone’.” But they do that work ethically and lawfully, he said. “We can’t stop (gang activity), we can only interdict it.”

And his reminder: Don’t look at the color of skin or the clothes – look at the behavior – in protecting yourself and assessing risk. Don’t be a victim. Don’t look like a victim. Choose when you’re going to go out. “A lot of these kids are stealing phones and jewelry. Don’t walk around with your white earbuds and your phone, which tells everyone that you have an Apple product. These kids will knock you on your butt, hurt you, for a phone that you paid $500-$600 for and they’re going to sell it for $100, and by the time you wake up in the hospital or whatever, that phone’s going to be (overseas).”

FROM THE CAPTAIN: Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske mentioned two officers are now on bikes and focused on areas including Roxhill Park (we saw them at the Morgan Junction Community Festival last Saturday) and 10 more are getting equipped with two wheels – in addition to their regular patrol vehicles – shortly. Two officers are now stationed on Alki for Fridays and Saturdays – “with the nice weather, we’re seeing a lot of people on Alki, and we want to keep a handle on that.” Property crimes “trended up a few weeks ago (and) are back down this week,” Capt. Wilske said, so he’s planning some special data collection focused on repeat offenders. Attendees brought up concerns about 35th/Morgan and Roxhill Park.

REMINDERS: WSBWCN co-leader Deb Greer reminded everyone at the start of the meeting that August 5th is Night Out, and if you haven’t already signed up your block, do it now – that’s what you need to do to get permission to close it for a block party that night (provided you’re not on an arterial).

*Co-leader Karen Berge invited attendees to come say hi while WSBWCN is on site at West Seattle Summer Fest July 11-13 (exact times they’ll be there are TBA) and at Delridge Day on August 9th.

*Deb noted that SPD is not having individual Precinct Picnics this year; last year’s “picnic” was combined with Delridge Day, where the Seattle Police Foundation is likely to sponsor ice cream handed out by SPD personnel this year, according to Capt. Wilske.

WSBWCN meets on the fourth Tuesday, 6:30 pm at the Southwest Precinct – but like many community organizations won’t meet again until September.

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Seattle officially has a new Police Chief: Kathleen O’Toole http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/seattle-officially-has-a-new-police-chief-kathleen-otoole/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/seattle-officially-has-a-new-police-chief-kathleen-otoole/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 23:17:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277318

Kathleen O’Toole is being sworn in right now as Seattle Police Chief (update – live video feed is over, archived video added below), right after the City Council voted 8-1 to confirm her appointment (the “no” vote was Councilmember Kshama Sawant).

The official announcement notes that she “began work with the Boston Police Department in 1979 and has over three decades of experience as a police officer, Commissioner, Chief Inspector, and attorney.” She has listed her four top priorities as “1) restoring public trust, 2) restoring SPD pride and professionalism, 3) addressing crime and quality of life issues, and 4) promoting best business practices” and promises “during the first 90 days to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the police department, which would culminate in a plan of action with measurable goals and objectives.” The City Council, meantime, told her their major expectations – “focused and proactive crime reduction using evidence-based methods to reduce the most serious neighborhood crime problems; positively change the culture at SPD and attitudes related to the practice of collecting and reporting the required data for the six new policies developed as part of the Settlement Agreement; build community relationships in all neighborhoods with a consistent visible presence; and, prioritize buildout of the Business Intelligence System.” Chief O’Toole will be accountable for a $290 million budget and 2,000 SPD employees.

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Update: Two police responses tonight, Junction & Highland Park http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/two-police-responses-tonight-junction-highland-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/two-police-responses-tonight-junction-highland-park/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 06:21:20 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=277075 Lots of questions about two sizable police responses tonight. Here’s what we have found out:

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
The response this past half-hour at California and Oregon in The Junction came in as a possible shooting, but that turned out NOT to be the case, according to Southwest Precinct Lt. Paul Leung, who says one person suffered minor injuries. WSB’s Christopher Boffoli reports from the scene that it’s a possible case of assault.

Earlier this evening, 9th/Highland Park Way was closed for a while; that was because of a major police response related to an armed robbery at an area business, Lt. Leung says. The suspect was seen going into another business; police converged, guns drawn, and arrested him.

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE ON HIGHLAND PARK HOLDUP: SPD has just released more information on the Highland Park robbery – saying the robber held up the 16th/Holden 7-11 and then went to another mini-mart to buy lottery tickets with the proceeds.

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Mostly quiet night, with a brief helicopter interlude http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/mostly-quiet-night-with-a-brief-helicopter-interlude/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/mostly-quiet-night-with-a-brief-helicopter-interlude/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 05:44:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276947

(Mostly cloudy by sunset – some drizzle, too. Photo by JayDee, from Upper Alki)
With the SPD promise of presence on Alki for potential last-day-of-school gatherings, we’ve been monitoring the situation since afternoon. Nothing major. We did see officers at the beach during our afternoon and evening drive-throughs. We ourselves had a bit of a close call just after sunset at Me-Kwa-Mooks, dodging a group of teens running back and forth in the street on Beach Drive. Not long afterward, the Guardian One law-enforcement helicopter was over that same area for a bit and subsequently tweeted that they “assisted @SeattlePD near 56/SW Oregon with a large group of teenagers partying that took off into the woods. Patrol contacted them.” (Right after that, the helicopter headed north to Ballard, tweeting that they helped SPD handle “a large fight disturbance” at Golden Gardens.)

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West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglaries; mail theft; stolen car, found http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-crime-watch-burglaries-mail-theft-stolen-car-found/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/06/west-seattle-crime-watch-burglaries-mail-theft-stolen-car-found/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 19:33:36 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=276822

From the SPD Police Reports map, the icons show burglaries reported over the past week. As you can see, Highland Park had a cluster, Isaac wrote to mention, and we have heard from one of the victims, Chris:

I want to let folks know that our house near 15th and Trenton was broken into (Tuesday) sometime between 10 and 2 p.m. No one was home. Whoever it was gained access through a backyard window that we mistakenly left ajar. We have a dog that usually barks at strangers but it didn’t seem to matter. The thief or thieves took
two 5th generation Nano iPods (one blue and one green) but curiously left other relatively easy-to-steal items behind. They did ransack our bedroom, which included emptying our dressers and closet. It was apparent that they went through our entire house. The police officer felt that from his experience these were kids who were looking for something specific (cash and drugs). Please remind people to make sure all windows and doors are locked.

In addition to the break-in at Chris’s house, here are the reported burglaries to which the icons on the map screengrab refer, north to south:
*Tuesday night, 1600 block of 46th SW
*Sunday afternoon, 4100 block of 52nd SW
*Reported Sunday but happened June 3rd, 3400 block SW Genesee (old substation building)
*2 break-ins early Sunday and early Tuesday, 2600 block SW Andover (WS Athletic Club)
*Tuesday afternoon, 5300 block Beach Drive SW
*Early Tuesday, 7700 block 10th SW
*Sunday evening, 8600 block Delridge Way SW
*Early Tuesday, 8600 block 12th SW
*Reported last Thursday but happened June 9th, 9200 block 2nd SW (unit at Public Storage)
*Saturday afternoon, 10200 block 47th SW

Ahead – stolen mail and stolen car, found:

Next, we received two reports of mail theft on Wednesday in the Westwood and Arbor Heights area, in both cases noticed by passersby finding discarded mail. One returned the identifiable mail to the addresses it bore; another one was taking the recovered mail to the Westwood post office.

And we have a stolen-car update from Jason:

Just wanted to let you know my car was recovered (Monday the 16th). It was 6 miles away from the location it was stolen from [WSB 6/12 Crime Watch]. Turns out it had been sitting there for a week. A concerned homeowner called the police to report the car, and that’s when I was notified. The battery was dead and the gas tank was empty. No physical damage to the car. Various items stolen from the car, but nothing that isn’t replaceable. The thief also left garbage all over the inside of the car. McDonald’s bags and wrappers, etc.

That’s often how stolen cars are found – someone notices an unfamiliar car that’s been on their street for a few days and calls it in. You can also check the SPD Twitter feed of stolen-car descriptions/plates at twitter.com/getyourcarback, but don’t assume it’s not stolen if you don’t see it there – sometimes vehicles are abandoned even before their owner realizes they’re gone!

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