West Seattle Crime Watch: Car-prowl encore in Arbor Heights

Out of the WSB inbox, from KEM … of particular interest if you think “not on OUR street”:

For the second time in as many months, our unlocked cars (shame on us, I know) have been prowled. We woke two months ago to my car doors left open, and a few items had been pilfered – a Polar heart rate monitor, and a few other inconsequential items. I assume I left my car door unlocked the night before, though I’m not totally sure. This morning we woke to my husband’s car having been rifled-through. We think his car was unlocked, too, and, as I said, shame on us for doing it twice. This time they stole a pair of iPhone earbuds, but nothing else. Risking getting caught for some iPhone ear buds? Seems sort of silly, really. Not a big deal in terms of loss of property, but we live on a quiet, dead-end street around 36th and 110th and it’s a little unsettling to think that prowlers are lurking around in the middle of the night and rifling through our stuff. Neighbors, beware! And keep your doors locked. (Duh.)

From the resource list at the bottom of our Crime Watch page, here’s the official advice on deterring car prowlers.

16 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Car-prowl encore in Arbor Heights"

  • Sasquatch April 7, 2009 (11:52 am)

    We live near the water towers in High Point and our garage has a side door that doesn’t lock. Twice someone has looked in the garage at night and left the door open. We’ll probably have to put a padlock or something on the garage. Kind of a shame.

  • RobertSeattle April 7, 2009 (11:53 am)

    I’m mounting my high horse here, but I wish more people would use their garages instead of parking on the street. I bet on my block of about 20 homes, 10 or so have garages that are never used for parking cars.

  • WSB April 7, 2009 (12:05 pm)

    I said this after a similar comment before, but since it strikes home at WSB HQ … we have a basement garage, dug about 10 years after this house was built in the ’40s, and it’s not even big enough to hold our Honda Civic. Have no idea what they were thinking … cars were MUCH bigger back then! – TR

  • K E M April 7, 2009 (12:14 pm)

    Hey Horse-Rider –

    I hear ya, but, alas, we have no garage.

    – K E M

  • mike April 7, 2009 (12:22 pm)

    Same here, my garage can fit a golf car or my motorcycle…not much more.

  • p April 7, 2009 (12:52 pm)

    everyone should get smart cars and then they will fit in your garage:)

  • KBear April 7, 2009 (1:44 pm)

    I agree with Robert. I think people who won’t park in their garages ought to clean them out and let someone else park in there! I sure wish we had a garage. Our cars have been prowled a few times, too. At least we have a driveway to park on.

  • jsrekd April 7, 2009 (2:01 pm)

    TR – same issue here – our detached garage (circa 1940) wouldn’t hold our honda accord – certainly doesn’t hold the vehicle we drive now. and p – although a smart car would be nice, it doesn’t serve my family of 5, and yes…I take metro during the week. :-)

  • Huindekmi April 7, 2009 (3:36 pm)

    I can fit my car in our garage. As long as I don’t need to open the doors. Or mind scraping off the undercarriage everytime I go in or out. Nothing like those basement “garages” they built back in 1950.

  • oddreality April 7, 2009 (3:44 pm)

    Our garage was built for a model T so the street it is.

  • Mike April 7, 2009 (3:47 pm)

    We have an anti-car prowl strategy that has worked for us at least.

    We live a few houses east of Marine View Dr. in Arbor Heights, and when we moved here 18 years ago our cars were broken into a number of times. We don’t have a garage but our 2 cars can fit in the driveway fine. One of the cars was 10 years old and didn’t have an alarm that used to commute to a part time job downtown, and was parked closest to the street at night.

    I would lock it at night but in general, like other commenters, we try not to leave anything of value (i.e. pawnable) in our cars. Unfortunately I left several rolls of parking meter quarters in the glove box of the car one night about 15 years ago and sure enough someone smashed a window and found them.

    I had the window replaced ($200) and also decided to leave the doors unlocked so if the thief came back he wouldn’t have to break a window to see if there was anything inside. I assume that most pretty criminals want to make the least noise possible and are also generally lazy (and this was $30 in silver), and a week or so later he did come back. Not checking, and thinking that the car was locked, broke the same window and rifled the car again, adding stupid to his MO.

    It was summer at the time and so I tried one more thing – leaving the car unlocked with the window partially rolled down so that the crook could reach in and open the door. I thought about putting an ‘Unlocked’ sign on the window but didn’t want to take the chance that he couldn’t read. He did come back several times that summer and fall but eventually gave up.

    We still have the car and it’s been rifled a number of times since then, with no loses. Sure, it’s a little creepy but at least we’ve never had to pay for another window – I prefer to think if it as cheating the devil.

    Our other car is a newer theft proof model that pros avoid and has a small flashing red light on the dash to scare everyone else off.

  • RobertSeattle April 7, 2009 (3:48 pm)

    Would love to know the history of this “small garage” phenomena – I always thought in the first part of the 20th century cars were “huge” compared to today.

  • Todd April 7, 2009 (5:23 pm)

    Just adding to Robert’s comment, if the garage is unavailable, what’s wrong with the driveway? You know, the space between the garage and the street… It’s a free country and I know street parking is legal unless you live in a RPZ but I see so many cars on the street when a home owner has a drive way and a garage. Use one of the two maybe? Use them because they are there and you paid for them but also you may make your car a less likely target for theft if it is closer to your property, decrease the risk of someone driving by and taking your side mirror off, and free up space on the street..

  • austin April 7, 2009 (10:58 pm)

    My driveway is as small as my garage and not suitable for parking a car (unless the driver plans to exit from the sun roof). The real question is, why are car owners being so irresponsible as to not only leave items of value in their car, but to leave their car unlocked as well? If I leave something of value on the sidewalk and it’s either stolen or kicked around, it’s no one’s fault but mine. No surprises here. This is not a rural small town. Act responsibly.

  • KateMcA April 8, 2009 (9:14 am)

    A lot of us have garages that were dug out. Our front door actually enters the second level of our house, and the garage enters the lower level. From the street, we have JUST ENOUGH space to park my husband’s truck (a small Ranger-sized Mazda), but since there are huge retaining walls on either side of the driveway, you can’t actually open the car doors and retrieve anything you’ve put in your car. So we’d be back to the “leaving valuables in your car” thing. So he parks on the street. My CRV will fit in our garage, but if you don’t park it just right then you smack the car door into cinder blocks, just asking for your car door to rust later on because it’s been scuffed. We don’t take up two spaces on the street, but we’ve paid taxes for that street to be there just like everyone else so I wouldn’t feel bad for a minute if we did. :)

  • Kathleen April 8, 2009 (10:10 am)

    I used to live out in Wallingford, just north of 45th, and the car our teenager drove kept getting broken into. We got on her for leaving the car unlocked as there was no other obvious way of entry, but the 3rd time it got broken into the thieves not only got into it, but tried to steal it. They ended up tearing up the steering column and doing over $750 dollars worth of damage. When the repair shop took apart the column, they found the plastic key the thieves had left behind in the ignition. Turns out there are plastic door keys that car prowlers use to open the locked doors. (We think they tore up the column trying to get the key back out.) The point of my story is that you may HAVE locked the vehicle. Ours was a Honda Civic.

Sorry, comment time is over.