West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglar alert near Schmitz Park

Just out of the WSB inbox, from Nancy:

This morning between 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. a home in my neighborhood on 56th Avenue SW near Hanford Avenue was broken into. They entered via the bathroom window using a lawn chair to reach it. The owner thinks the window may have been unlocked. The burglar did rummage through nearly every drawer in the house, but only took cash from a purse. The police were able to get finger prints off of her bathroom window. We also had a burglary on Frater Avenue at 57th Avenue SW last week.

The burglar is still at large and seems to be canvassing our neighborhood. Please double check to make sure your windows are locked when you leave the house. Also, if possible, remove/move anything that can easily be used at a “ladder.”

Here’s a map of the area Nancy mentioned.

30 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglar alert near Schmitz Park"

  • Cami March 12, 2008 (5:00 pm)

    A friend of mine in the same area had a break in two weeks ago.

  • Nat March 12, 2008 (5:48 pm)

    my house was the house broken into a few weeks ago… my mom said this morning she saw suspicious looking african-american young adult running down the street. they also used a chair to get into my little brothers room. This person didnt take anyhting from my house except for a few dollars. but they rummaged through our whole house. that same boy that my mom saw today also went around our block knocking on doors to see if people were home

  • JenV March 12, 2008 (6:27 pm)

    I had my house broken into and ransacked about 4 years ago. Since then I have always left a radio on NPR when I leave the house so maybe they will think someone is here…talking politics. Sorry to hear about the break ins. It truly sucks to have that happen- even if they get away with nothing you still feel violated.

  • J March 12, 2008 (7:13 pm)

    A month and a half ago we had a break-in – it was an African American teen, he knocked and kicked at our front door and finally entered through our back door – I was at home at the time and traumatized severely by the incident. It was too much to handle so we have left W Seattle for a significantly safer neighborhood outside of Seattle – hopefully it will stop soon for you who still live there.

  • angelescrest March 12, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    At 9:03 this a.m.–as we were making our way up Hanford en route to school (after waving to the crossing guard), a car came very fast out from 57th?…I noticed it, as it didn’t stop at all (as I was coming up Hanford) as it made a quick left in front of me and then another right (is there a small street or alley there)? I could not see the driver/passengers, but it was a small, dented, maroon sedan.

  • angelescrest March 12, 2008 (7:36 pm)

    I should also add that I might have seen the same person in Nat’s description. He was looking about…whatever that means.

  • Jack Loblaw March 12, 2008 (7:39 pm)

    J — Just one question: Why did you not call 911 at the time ? Once upon a time we had a person in the middle of the night show up on our door step and start pounding and kicking the door screaming threatening things. My wife dialed 911 as I took a loaded weapon and aimed it at the door. She explained to 911 dispatch that we had someone attempting to break down our door , that we were afraid for our lives and would shoot to kill if need be to defend ourselves. It was amazing how fast we had 2 police cars at our house with weapons drawn taking the sleaze ball to jail. We had help in 90 seconds. The police officers were great. I heard one of them tell the sleaze “you don’t know how lucky you were that we showed up !”. Thank goodness that our deadbolt lock kept this drugged out freak from going through the door and being shot. We would never want to harm anyone but our home is our castle and we will defend it if necessary. West Seattle is no better or worse than most other areas of Seattle with a few exceptions.

  • Big D March 12, 2008 (7:53 pm)

    Several afican american teens have been walking up to houses and trying doors and looking about. When asked what they were doing and why they were there, they had no response and ran off. I am told they are supposedly selling subscriptions as a cover

    47th and alaska are

  • beachdrivegirl March 12, 2008 (8:12 pm)

    I posted this under the forums to, but have not got a response. When we bought our house it came with an ADT alarm system. We have yet to activate it b/c we seem to have a disagreement about it. My husband feels that if someone is going to break-in they will do it regardless to whether or not their is an alarm system. I on the other hand, spend at least one night a week, home alone and feel more secure that we could have an alarm system installed that could alert me if there was an intruder as well as hopefully scare the intruder away. What are others thoughts on this?

  • angelescrest March 12, 2008 (8:23 pm)

    And, right now @ 8:15, someone has just loudly knocked on our door–and, when I asked, “Yes?”–he said he was on a work program…and–being int he middle of kids and dog and, I just said we weren’t able to help. (Admiral and the 60s)

  • angelescrest March 12, 2008 (8:29 pm)

    Despite fancy alarms, I’ll never forget the “cat” burglar who climbed into my mom’s Harbor Ave.condo one summer while they slept. I have never had an alarm (and most of my neighbors don’t), and I have never had an alarming situation, but there does seem to be a frenzy of burglaries/robberies right here right now. Did any others have burglar alarms?

  • J March 12, 2008 (9:01 pm)

    Jack Loblaw – I DID CALL 9-1-1!!! Of COURSE I DID! I called them while the guy was kicking and banging at my front door and while on the phone with 911 the guy came in through the back door! I also don’t believe in GUNS I’m a Canadian so I will never have one in the house sorry but that’s just stupid.

  • J March 12, 2008 (9:02 pm)

    plus there are better areas than W Seattle outside of it – and yes we are in one of the few exceptions.

  • J March 12, 2008 (9:03 pm)

    we did have an alarm as well that did not stop them.

  • Jack Loblaw March 12, 2008 (9:12 pm)

    We installed ADT after the previously posted incident. We have had it in service for at least 15 years. I used to work nights and it gave my wife peace of mind knowing that the house had a perimeter secured as she slept. It is cheap insurance to be warned that a break in is occurring. Regarding beachdrivegirls post I personally think that her husband is a fool. Is it that he does not want to spend a dollar a day to help make his family secure or does he just not care ? There are stories on the news weekly about abductions, rapes and murders. Had Elizabeth Smarts family had an alarm system on thier house she may have never been kidnapped. It is only money . . . can you place a value on your families security ?

  • Gina March 12, 2008 (9:13 pm)

    I agree with Jack Loblaw. West Seattle is no less safe than any other area of Seattle or outlying areas. Magnolia is also having a “rash” of burglaries right now and it is one of the wealthiest and presumably safest areas of Seattle.
    As far as alarms are concerned, my husband and I have had alarms since we first became homeowners. We’ve never had a break-in but I don’t know if we’ve just been lucky or if the alarm was a deterrent.
    My husband travels on business and I am home alone quite often, so the alarm is primarily to prevent someone from breaking in unbeknownst to me when I’m home. I was told by a police officer that it’s unlikely the police would be able to respond in a timely manner if my alarm were to go off, but in two instances when I accidentally set the alarm off the police were here in just a few minutes.
    Because I’m home alone so often I recently purchased a firearm. I took a firearm safety class before ever handling the gun and have practiced shooting at a gun range. My gun has a lock that disables it and it is always locked if I’m not in my home. My biggest fear is the scenario that has been described by others on this blog. Some crazed a#*hole banging on my door and trying to kick it in. I never want to have to shoot someone, but I refuse to be the victim you hear about on the nightly news.

  • RickB March 12, 2008 (9:21 pm)

    What I’d really like to see is some numbers that quantify what we’re talking about. I mean, I think it’s reasonable to be concerned about this, but I’m trying to figure out how concerned I need to be.

    I mean, maybe it seems like there are a ton of these burglaries occurring, but in the context of an area of thousands and thousands of households, maybe it’s not really all that likely to happen to any individual?

    Perhaps this is an opportunity for WSB to take this kind of reporting to the next level and put something together on rates of crimes and trends over time…

    Again, let me say that I’m not trying to minimize people’s concern about this–I’m quite concerned about it myself. Just trying to figure out how much time, money, and mental energy to devote to trying to prevent being a victim too.


  • angelescrest March 12, 2008 (9:36 pm)

    There are crazed a-holes; there are also young people having trouble seeing a future, using really shabby judgement and sometimes being put up to schemes. It is really hard to get a job right now w/all the right credentials; the problem is not which neighborhood, but something deeper and broader.
    The young guy I saw on the street this morning was a young guy who should have been at work, at school…

  • WSB March 12, 2008 (9:43 pm)

    Rick, I would love to take this to another level but I have to say that this site is already at an 18-hour-workday/7-day-workweek level so I may not get there immediately. HOWEVER – good news – you can look up your neighborhood stats for ’07 right here, right now!!!


    and general trends


  • Gina March 12, 2008 (9:53 pm)

    I understand what you’re saying, to some extent I agree with you. But as a woman alone in my house I have neither the time nor the safety zone to conduct an interview and find out if the burglar/intruder needs a a job, a fix or a compassionate person to listen to him/her/them.
    I’ve been poor and out of work but I never traumatized other people by breaking into their homes and scaring the crap out of them.
    The economy is bad and it’s going to get worse.
    Does that make us all fair game?

  • RickB March 12, 2008 (10:06 pm)

    Please don’t take my comment the wrong way-I think you’re doing an awesome job right now! I think with this site you’re filling a major gap, between the “pros” who are too commercial, too scandal-driven, and don’t drill deep enough in our neighborhoods, and the “amateur” bloggers who don’t ever bother to leave their armchairs. I’ve learned so much about WS through this site…
    Back on-topic (sort of), I know humans have built-in difficulties in judging and responding to risk, so any tools we can bring to bear to help us out are good. Thanks for pointing out the Seattle My Neighborhood mapping pages; if I had thought about it before I posted, maybe I could have found the link and shared it instead of asking to be spoon-fed…


  • angelescrest March 12, 2008 (10:15 pm)

    A couple of police cars cruising the area as a deterrent?

  • miws March 13, 2008 (5:25 am)

    “…but I have to say that this site is already at an 18-hour-workday/7-day-workweek level…”

    Uh….last I checked, there were 24 hours in a day. ;) :P





  • WSB March 13, 2008 (6:37 am)

    I really tried to give up sleep entirely or at least boost that to 21-hour workdays. Didn’t work too well. However, we do have backups in place so that we are alerted if news breaks out when we’re away from the keyboard, don’t worry.

  • Jack Loblaw March 13, 2008 (6:49 am)

    J- I understand your issue with guns. I felt the same way once upon a time. I worked in a profession where I ended up at crime scenes day after day and saw the victims and results of senseless violence. After one too many of these work events my wife and I bought weapons and trained weekly at a range. We have more range time between us than most cops. We did this for several years. There comes a point where you say enough is enough and decide to be proactive and be able to defend yourself. We never want to use this kind of force but push come to shove we will. It is also interesting to note that when you call 911 and they hear that you are armed and will take action they respond immediately as they really don’t want gun shots in a neighborhood. The police are really trying to help all of us but they are so under staffed that it is impossible for them to be everywhere all the time.

    One thing I would suggest since you are not a gun owner is that you go True Value and buy a couple of cans of pepper spray and keep them next to your bed. It will stop most problems in their tracks with out the worry that someone will die. We have done this as a 3rd line of defense ( deadbolts-ADT alarm- being 1 and 2 ).

  • beachdrivegirl March 13, 2008 (7:42 am)

    I am signing up for ADT today. It was the cost thing b/c we dont have a home line and just bought our house and just got married…but hey maybe we will just eat in more often than out to pay for it…seems well worth it. thanks for the feedback.

  • swimcat March 13, 2008 (9:08 am)

    I’d get a can of bear spray instead of the pepper spray- you can buy them at REI. It’s a bigger can and it will shoot much farther so you won’t have to get as close. I believe it is a stronger concentration as well. Whoever gets hit with it should be impaired long enough so a victim can make a call to 911 or get close enough to hit the intruder with a baseball bat or something else. I bought mine for camping but keep it next to my bed instead of with my camping gear :)

  • Gina March 13, 2008 (1:43 pm)

    A warm welcome to the other Gina.

    I don’t feel comfortable talking about what my main home defenses are, except for burglars with cat allergies.

    Gina, Admiral.

  • Danno March 13, 2008 (5:19 pm)


    Not believing in guns will not make them go away. The USA is not Canada, and I do not believe owning one makes me or anyone else “stupid.” That word is for the dumbass breaking into a house and not knowing if the owner is home and armed.

    Just my $0.02 USD.

  • Gina March 13, 2008 (8:36 pm)

    you are absolutely right. I am not a gun nut by any means-in fact until a few months ago I refused to have any kind of gun anywhere near me. But breaking into houses should be considered a high risk occupation for those engaging in the activity. A burglar has no way of being completely certain that a house is empty. If they choose to come in and meet with harm, so be it. Having said that, I am also aware that there can be serious legal repercussions for a homeowner who shoots an intruder, not to mention the emotional trauma. I would never harm someone over any material item, all of my stuff is replaceable.
    But if you break into my house when I’m home, I don’t know what your intent is, so I’ll err on the side of caution and defend myself. I guess it’s obvious that I feel very strongly about this topic. The notion of being victimized pisses me off in a major way.
    The police do the best they can, but they are understaffed and can’t be everywhere at once. Also, they don’t actually have a legal obligation to protect individuals, so if they can’t get to you in a timely manner for whatever reason, you have no recourse.
    I am hyper-vigilant and have taken every possible precaution-short of steel bars over all windows and doors, to ensure my safety.
    I don’t live in a neighborhood that has a strong block watch-we had a major crime last year and there was a block watch meeting, but once the perpetrator was caught, it was business as usual. People are apathetic and I don’t know what to do about that. I watch out for my neighbors and hope they watch out for me, but the bottom line for me is self-defense. Stay the f@$k out of my house and you won’t have to worry about what I may or may not be packing.

Sorry, comment time is over.