West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 incidents reported tonight

FIRST REPORT, 10:28 PM: Just got a note about a hit-run driver damaging cars near Charlestown Cafe. Stacy reports, “Many in the street trying to figure out what happened. Glass all over the road on California.” Listening to the scanner, police are now checking on a report elsewhere in West Seattle of a driver getting out of a car and discussing having been in a crash. More info as/if we get it. (added later – here’s an account from Ranette, one of the hit-run victims):

I was driving the first car hit by this driver. Driving south on California, I had been at the PCC with my friend. I heard the tires screeching behind us and then felt the hard impact (back of my car). I tried to keep from hitting the cars parked on California Avenue. I think I glimpsed a dark car. I pulled over and we got out. There were a lot of people outside who had heard the accident. A few had seen it and described a dark or black hatchback hitting my car then trying to regain control to take a quick left off of California onto Bradford??? (street north of Andover). Apparently, the driver did not have much control and knocked down a stop sign which hit two parked and unoccupied cars (but I did not see this only informed by witnesses and police officer). The driver kept going. The police officer said they had just heard of a car with the same description driving on three wheels. What a horrible feeling to be in an accident like this. It felt like the car came out of nowhere and hit us so hard. It is especially disturbing that the other driver left the accident location. My friend and I were wearing our seatbelts, as usual, and we are so glad we were. The rear of my car is pretty damaged but not so bad that I could not drive home.

SECOND REPORT, ADDED 11:34 PM: Received a note from a Harbor Ave resident troubled by what she saw tonight and wondering if there are any Block Watch groups in her area. We referred her to Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow but also are sharing her story as it relates to some of what was discussed at the Alki Community Council meeting last Thursday – read on (1:52 am note, we’re also adding info just received from police on BOTH these incidents):

We live on Harbor Avenue, and as all residents of this area know, when the weather
gets nice, it tends to be “the place to be and be seen.”

Most of us who follow the blog know the element that seems to be taking over our neighborhoods is becoming more frequent and more serious in nature. 2 weeks ago we witnessed the takedown (at gunpoint) of a car full of young adults in front of our house by Seattle PD. It was disturbing to see, considering the time of night (6 pm), and the amount of people out enjoying the nice weather.

Tonight at about 9:40 pm was even worse. A white SUV was pulled over in front of our house again. This time there were 4 youths in the car and 7 police cars that were involved in the arrest process. The driver and all passengers were cuffed and put in police cars. Apparently, according to the officer I spoke with after things settled down, it was a stolen vehicle. I’m sure you will check it out tomorrow, and get many more details than I have right now.

I am just beginning to wonder if this is what we as residents of Alki can expect for the rest of the summer. Somehow, it’s beginning to feel alot less like home than the playground it’s becoming for thieves and gang members.

Are there any neighborhood watch groups active on Harbor Ave? There aren’t too many houses down this way, but it would be nice to know that on some level we are looking out for each other…..

As mentioned, we pointed the resident here. Meantime, we will indeed check to see what we can find out, about both of these incidents.

1:57 AM UPDATE: We’ve obtained information from Lt. Ron Smith regarding both these incidents: First, in the hit-run, he says the “suspect driver (a West Seattle resident)” was located and “did confess” – he was “issued a criminal citation for hit and run and also a notice of infraction (standard traffic ticket).” Lt. Smith says damage included not only the vehicle mentioned above, but also a stop sign and two parked vehicles. Meantime, as for the Harbor Ave incident, he confirms “units assigned to (the) Alki area” discovered the car was reported stolen, in Seattle, so officers “made a basic felony stop in which four subjects were taken into custody.” One man was booked into jail for investigation of auto theft; another was also taken to jail because of a warrant; two passengers were “interviewed and released.”

17 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: 2 incidents reported tonight"

  • ScubaO2 May 25, 2009 (10:54 pm)

    First off, Happy Memorial Day. I moved to West Seattle recently, what a wonderful, close community. I live down on Alki Ave, and am wondering if this hit/run, the killing on California Ave a few months ago, the shooting which left the young man paralyzed a little over a month ago, the police helicopter search, and squad cars flying by my condo (1 a day?) is normal for this area? Is this just an abberation, or is the crime rate here rather high in relation to the rest of Seattle? I’ve enjoyed my stay thus far and LOVE the community, however the ‘bad apples’ are making me think twice. Waking up at 3am with a Police helicopter doing a search pattern over your home is kind of unsettling.

  • WSB May 25, 2009 (11:52 pm)

    According to the Southwest Precinct (and there is online crime data you can check too, though it takes some crunching), this is one of the safer areas of Seattle. However, they acknowledge there are some types of crime that happen in spurts. Violent crime is actually down — assaults last month lower than the month before, according to a report at last week’s Crime Prevention Council meeting.
    We have had two homicides so far this year – the unsolved one you mention, and a woman killed in a Fauntleroy Way apartment building, with her grandson in jail, accused of the crime. Last year, we had one, out of 28 homicides citywide (a woman killed by her husband, who then killed himself); the previous year, two (both acquaintance killings; a third 2007 homicide case went to trial and the verdict was not guilty, self-defense).
    Property crimes have been the main problem for much of the year – car prowls, burglaries, auto thefts. Police have made some high-profile arrests, but they can’t control what happens to the suspect after the arrest – how soon they bail out and are back at it again.
    Overall, I can tell you this is by no means the most crime-ridden area of the city. There may be one or two places where it’s lower, but many more where it’s higher. Fishing around this map (though its data isn’t caught up) may be of interest:

  • SeattleJoe May 26, 2009 (12:05 am)

    The wife and I were enjoying Alki this afternoon, but about 6 it suddenly changed from family friendly day at the beach to a parade of thugs. The cops were on edge, loud music took over the street and young women dressed like prostitutes got cat calls from the gangster types collecting on the sidewalks. We bailed out as it wasn’t feeling safe. There were cops everywhere, but the bike cops and the mounted cops left.

    What’s happening to Alki? Why all the thugs there this year?

  • Michael May 26, 2009 (1:03 am)

    Actually, readers of this blog know little – there is no blog from 5 or 10 years ago to compare the number of anecdotal stories with.
    What we do have are statistics, which are down over years past.
    Back in the late 80s Alki had a reputation with the kids: don’t go there after dark, it’s where the gangbangers do robberies and assaults as their initiations. A couple was shot while supposedly minding their own business – that was held up as proof. Etc. Etc.
    But it was all whispered half-truths based on the perceptions of individuals, much like SeattleJoe’s imagination took off from one or two things he saw today.
    So yes, Scuba, it IS an aberration. Things will happen from time to time – this is a city; it’s ridiculous to think otherwise. But keep this in mind: people will NOT talk about the times when nothing happens.

  • WSB May 26, 2009 (1:09 am)

    There were some scary incidents in the ’90s. The one that still sticks with me – and keep in mind, I was working in citywide news way back then, not WS-focused – was the Beach Drive bench murder. 1993.
    (It was a bench on the waterfront across from Me-Kwa-Mooks, NOT Alki as the story says, BTW.) I can’t recall anything quite that rattling in all the ensuing years. An anomaly for its time as well, I’m sure. And maybe I remember it more because we lived on Beach Drive 1991-1993 (till a few months before that shooting).

  • alki_2008 May 26, 2009 (1:30 am)

    The cars driving along Alki Ave with their lamborghini-type doors up/open seems pretty typical on nice, sunny days. Noticed it this weekend, and also several times last summer. I can’t speak to years prior.

    I’ve also noticed the cat-calls to scantily clad females (I’m not just talking beachwear) this weekend and at least one other weekend this year…as well as several times last year. Alki Ave is definitely a place that attracts crowds, and like most places there is usually an element of ‘troublemakers’ within those crowds.
    Whether or not those ‘troublemakers’ pose a significant threat to the general public, rather than just an annoyance, is another matter. For the most part, these ‘troublemakers’ are just dangerous to other ‘troublemakers’ – but there’s always the potential for things to flare up (like the shooting earlier this month)…and then there’s the potential for innocent bystanders to get caught in the middle.
    Would I call Alki “dangerous”? No.
    Would I say Alki attracts “dangerous” people? Maybe.

  • Lou May 26, 2009 (6:24 am)

    Last night around 10:15pm, a dark green sedan came blazing down 36th, turning on Webster up to 35th…The car had at least 3 people in it…so why I am bringing this up…it only had 3 tires. The right rear tire was gone and they were riding around on the rim shooting up a stream of sparks as they drove along. Very noisy. Anyway, I assume they were running from something or the car was stolen or both.

  • bridge to somewhere May 26, 2009 (7:44 am)

    Hi Lou. Check this out: https://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=17197

  • danielleS May 26, 2009 (8:29 am)

    A couple things: I think that gang activity on Alki is worse than ever. A close relative worked with a lot of local gang members in a preventative setting for 10 years, up until he chose a new path last year. We were enjoying the weather at another relative’s house last night on alki, and he pointed out 3 different gangs that he was 100% sure of. That’s dangerous.

    Also, last thursday night, my son and I had gone to alki briefly to pick something up at my mom’s, and on our way home, the car in front of us (on alki ave headed south) and the car 4 cars ahead of them both, seemingly simultaenously, threw their cars into park, and hopped out with thier guns drawn. The occupants in the car in front of us were wearing all red. I told my son to duck, did a 3 point turn, headed the other way, and called the police.

    The need to close alki to anything but foot and bike traffic. It may take some resources, but I feel like it’s worth it for the families and residents of alki. It’s become out of control.

  • WSratsinacage May 26, 2009 (8:39 am)

    Whether things are better now than they were in the 90’s or before doesn’t really matter, things are still pretty bad around here. We all should be concerned about living the way we do and putting up with what we put up with. The WSB and crime stats show only what was reported, much more goes on that we don’t know about.. This is no way to live in a civilized world unless the US is an emerging nation/3rd world country. I find my self thinking ghetto to myself every day and questioning whether I want to raise my family here.

  • pk May 26, 2009 (9:12 am)

    For WSratsinacage, unless you have ever lived in a third world country (I have), you have no idea how very lucky we are to live in beautiful, calm, peaceful, and safe – West Seattle. You have apparently never experienced a true ghetto and I hope you never do.

  • John May 26, 2009 (9:20 am)

    So pk, if I understand your sentiment, we should just accept the violence, harassment and general decline of a beautiful part of our city because it’s worse elsewhere?

  • Dale Swanson May 26, 2009 (9:33 am)

    Concerning the all too numerous hit-n-run accidents. I wish there was a law which would make the perpetrators pay 3 times property damages for these instances. Yes, I realize the $ may never be paid but too many people claim to flee because they are scarred. What’s scarrier? Paying treble damages or not?

    The courts allow this for cutting down neighboring trees (an intentional act) why don’t they also treble the damages on a fleeing car? Also an intentional act.

    Just thinking out loud.


  • strange goings on May 26, 2009 (10:11 am)

    I noticed on Sunday evening several things as we visited Alki Beach – “older nice convertibles cars” parked in the bus zone a block off alki ave – people hanging around them not really caring they were illegally parked blocking the bus zone and no enforcement to do anything about it. Lots of people milling about there cars parked on the ave not really doing anything but blocking the bike path and yes scantily clad youg women. Also on the way home @ 35th and Morgan we witnessed 5-6 nicer older cars with metal
    “placards” which said “Family Ties” – mounted in there car windows. Not sure what that stands for but was a strange site as they drove by with there stereo’s blaring and cars thumping up n down. Summertime brings alot of strange goings on – be aware.

  • Michael May 26, 2009 (11:56 am)

    No, “things” are not “pretty bad.” “Things” happen. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Right now people THINK it’s more, while numbers gathered by people who see more than all of us combined say it’s less.
    I feel sad for your perspective though, it must be tough to go through life thinking everything’s somehow gone to hell.

  • homesweethome May 26, 2009 (1:46 pm)

    Michael – that couple that was shot was in the early 90s and it was on Beach Drive, and yes they were minding their own business. Yes it was a gang initiation. I lived next door, it was a sad and scary time. It scared my mother so much she called me as soon as she saw the news the next morning as she knew I frequented the seawall at night, minding my own business.

  • Ken May 27, 2009 (10:51 am)

    There is a new Crime Watch group that is being formed in the Alki area. Here is the link to get involved… http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=110574405539

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