West Seattle Crime Watch: 1 break-in, 1 set of people “casing”

Two reports to share tonight – one about a break-in whose victims are “baffled,” another about people casing cars in a local alley – read on:

This came in about an hour ago from R&R, who say it happened at 39th/Hanford (map):

Hubby came home to a cut-out window screen in the kitchen (at least 8′ off the ground; mess in the house; open front door; missing plasma tv, lcd tv, laptop, digital camera, jewelry, loose change, etc. How someone could break into our house on SW Hanford in broad daylight without anyone seeing them has us baffled.

Reported to the cops two hours ago – still waiting for them to show up.

It’s just stuff. However, some of the jewelry belonged to my deceased mother. That hurts.

Meantime, Barbara spotted people in an Alki alley who appeared to be casing cars for potential break-ins:


Late Sunday night in the alley between 60th and 61st Avenues SW, between Alki Avenue
and SW Stevens Street, I observed four males walking in the direction of Admiral. Three were conversing loudly, while the fourth looked in the windows and tried to open the driver’s and passenger’s side door of every car parked in the alley. I watched him go from the cars parked outside Phoenicia Restaurant to beyond the parking lot of 2728 61st Avenue SW, when the group walked out of sight. As far as I could see, they did not find any unlocked doors.

That incident too has been reported to police (remember that even if you don’t discover something till hours later, even if they can’t respond immediately, the more accurate their records of crime happening around the area, the better they can patrol and plan staffing). Meantime, signups are closed now, but tomorrow is Night Out – block parties to build neighborhood ties, with crime prevention as one of the key goals – thanks to everyone who’s answered our request for info on locations that wouldn’t mind us dropping by for photos – hope to see most if not all of you tomorrow night!

15 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: 1 break-in, 1 set of people "casing""

  • JenV August 3, 2009 (8:30 pm)

    R&R, sorry to hear that happened. when the little rat bastards broke into my place, they took all my deceased grandmother’s jewelry too. I feel your pain, and I hope you find your stuff at a pawn shop.

  • Just Wondering August 3, 2009 (9:05 pm)

    JenV-Do you mean to buy back from the pawn shop or is there a way to get stolen property back from a pawn shop if you can prove ownership (ie pic’s or engravings)?

  • thanks August 3, 2009 (9:40 pm)

    Sorry to hear about these both – so glad to be reminded about the kitchen window. Ours is also 8 feet off the ground and sometimes before leaving I think ‘oh its fine’ but I always say ‘no its not’ and close it and every other window. Never easy to shut everything down everytime I leave with a 2 year-old waiting but these updates are good reminders. Sadly it appears to be just like the 1970s in Seattle again – lock everything you own up good.

  • JenV August 4, 2009 (8:37 am)

    Just Wondering – it depends. When you file the police report, make sure everything is documented – if it turns up at the pawn shop, call the detective assigned to your case and they can help – but most pawn shops – amoral bastards – will take stolen items without batting an eye- but when you try to get your own property back, they require you to pay for it. We just had this happen with a tool theft at my work. Even the detective assigned to our case had a hard time getting the pawn shop to release it!

  • andy August 4, 2009 (9:26 am)

    Another neighbor reported a simliar break in at 39th and Stevens yesterday as well between 3-4 PM. Same scenario: open screened window with jewelry, electronics stolen.

    A reminder to close up the windows when you go.
    So sorry R&R.

    your neighbors.

  • Us too! August 4, 2009 (9:49 am)

    Same thing happened to us yesterday. Through the kitchen window, similiar stuff taken from the house. Around 1pm – middle of the day!

  • cakeitseasy August 4, 2009 (10:27 am)

    No doubt we’re more aware of crime reports due to blogs and such, but it seems like there is a noticeable upswing in activity in West Seattle. I didn’t think this was anything different from regional trends until I read an article in The Stranger a couple of weeks ago which cites burglaries having risen 50% in the past year in West Seattle (50%!). The information comes from the article “Burglary Boom” in the July 14th issue of The Stranger, and it cites statistics from the SPD. According to the other SPD and King County statistics presented in the article, this increase seems to be much greater than burglaries in any other King County areas mentioned in the article (although, it doesn’t really show data for the northend of the city, which it claims is also being hit hard). Assuming this information is somewhat accurate, what gives? Why WS? Why now? Is it gangs? Drugs? Population increase? The recession? All of the above? And why would it occur more in WS than some other areas in the region? Personally, I’ve been the victim of more illegal activity in the last few years in my quiet, “family friendly” neighborhood in WS than anywhere else I’ve lived around Seattle (or anywhere, ever for that matter)…and I’m not even counting the off-leash dog owners ; – ).

  • WSB August 4, 2009 (10:37 am)

    Cake, that article cited statistics that were old news, and out of context (from a central database that didn’t sort for clearance or later reclassification) to boot. What they quoted was cited here on June 1st:
    Since that did seem alarmingly high, we subsequently spoke with local police. The precinct keeps specific local statistics and we received the then-latest accurate local numbers directly from them here:
    Reminds me that we need to request the June (and soon July) stats, though – TR

  • 37Ray August 4, 2009 (11:40 am)

    “in my quiet, “family friendly” neighborhood in WS ”

    There is your reason. I have lived all over Seattle area, north south east and now west, and in this time have noticed a couple of simple truths, when the cops crack down on petty crooks in one ‘hood, for the most part they simply migrate to another where there is less “heat”, and, when a crook is ‘hood shopping, “quiet, “family friendly” neighborhood” = easy pickins.

    All we can really do is be prepared as individuals (take wise responsible steps to implement property security measures, look out for self and neighbors, be aware of surroundings at all times, not to leave ‘open invites’ to theft ‘laying around’ etc) and beyond that, make noise and hope SPD will eventually come crack down here as well, and drive the crooks back down into georgetown (where they have been trying to run them out for some time)…

  • Cakeitseasy August 4, 2009 (12:43 pm)


    Okay, so what do you find? (I’m not very good at digesting stats). Based on what you’ve requested from SPD, can you perceive a significant increase in the past year?(not including June/July) and is WS getting hit harder than other areas in the city?

    Look, frankly, I don’t care who covered it first or when, I’m not the one handing out ribbons ;). What’s news to me is that it’s happening in my neighborhood, still happening, and there’s clearly an increase. My comment was “why?” and more specifically “what” and “how” it is happening and what is it about West Seattle, if anything, that attracts burglars more than other places, if indeed it does. I don’t think anyone can definitively answer why it’s happening, but some discourse on the subject might be interesting. As you point out, including South Park *would* skew the WS percentage for sure and possibly the assumption that WS is getting hit harder. I don’t want to think WS is experiencing something unusual that it’s not…and having that negative news blasted all over town if it’s not true. The Stranger is pretty good at exposing and illuminating important trends, and that article caught my eye because it spoke to a question I have. The statistics became secondary at that point, to the nature of the problem. (but I’m in no way excusing erroneous, misleading reporting, if that is indeed the case!)In any case, I don’t want to get bogged down in “you heard it hear first folks”, which I find irrelevant for this topic. I’m interested in discourse about whether or not WS is getting hit harder than other neighborhoods and if so why. Cover it once, cover it twice, first or last, this month, that month, whatever, it’s still fresh news as far as this theft victim is concerned.



  • Cakeitseasy August 4, 2009 (1:01 pm)

    37Ray, interesting perspective. I think you’re right about ‘easy pickins’…strike where they least expect it…or at least where people have their guard down. Makes sense, except that people are usually home more during the day in the, for lack of a better or more accurate term “family friendly” neighborhoods. Our house was robbed with all of our neighbors at home and in close proximity. No one noticed. I probably wouldn’t notice if my neighbors were being robbed either. Although we all do try to be vigilant. SPD sure has their work cut out for them, I guess. It’s like whack a mole.

  • 37Ray August 4, 2009 (1:03 pm)

    Just anecdotal grain of salt side comment from a random passerby here but don’t put too terribly much faith in the statistics in any event, I don’t know any more than anyone else but I would venture to guess the stats are not accurate anyway if for no other reason than how (incredibly) many incidents go completely unreported. I don’t know about WS but I can say in other neighborhoods I’ve lived in around town (depending on the level of recurring petty crimes) these events have become so routine to some residents they simply do not even bother to call the police anymore. I suppose the statistical data is still worth reviewing, but I (just me) hesitate to put a great deal of faith on it in any event. I do agree though it could be interesting to examine the various “whys”… I have my opinions (a few above) on that as well, but most of them are ‘seat of the pants’ practical observations as opposed to scientific analysis. Could make for interesting reading anyway…

  • cakeitseasy August 4, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    “I have my opinions (a few above) on that as well, but most of them are ’seat of the pants’ practical observations as opposed to scientific analysis. Could make for interesting reading anyway…”

    Would be interested in hearing more stuff like this as well as “the facts”.

  • Cakeitseasy August 4, 2009 (1:15 pm)

    SPD sure has their work cut out for them, I guess. It’s like whack a mole.

  • MM August 5, 2009 (10:56 am)

    8/04 Called Police to the area of 20th & Cambridge. 2 White Males (1) Dark Hair, the other sandy blonde hair, 18-2O. Both wearing tan pants, navy blue shirts, subcription or sales material, both on walkie talkie style phones. Looked like guys were casing the area and relaying information back on the phones. Police were called (due to seperate incident) but told them these two could be with the others. The Police officer we spoke to said it was the first time he had heard of subcription/advertising casing/break-ins. I have seen this style of casing now for 3 weeks! Last incident I was in the Admiral area at my dentist and neighbors were calling the police due to two agreesive black males with magazine sales coming thru back gates. I think we have a ring of them all over the area! BTW – The Police did not stop them but glad to see they saw immediate attention to 4 patrol cars in the area.

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