West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen van – and newest stats

STOLEN VAN: Stephanie hopes you can help track down the van her husband needs for his blacksmith/metal-arts work: “Our 1986 Toyota van (silver with black steel racks with red tops on four corners) was stolen last night, 11/16. It’s a work van, really important. We live on 12th Avenue near Elmgrove [map]. Anyone who sees this van, please call it in. Thanks.”

NEWEST STATS: Just as Stephanie‘s note came in, a short meeting for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council was wrapping up. The key information presented – the newest West Seattle crime stats:

Car thefts: “Up a little bit” – 2 recent arrests, too

Car prowls: Up a LOT – 30 more in West Seattle in the past month, than a month earlier

Residential burglaries: DOWN a LOT – 47 in West Seattle in the past month, down from 62 in the previous month

Some interesting context to those trends – and some reasons for hope they might all be on the downside soon – read on for more details:

Lt. Steve Paulsen said he’d been at a “command meeting” at downtown SPD headquarters hours earlier, where it was obvious that car prowls “have greatly impacted the entire city of Seattle.” He says the thieves are taking all the usual items police have warned about over and over again – GPS, laptops, purses, golf clubs, whatever people are careless enough to leave in their cars. However, he said, Southwest Precinct officers have arrested three adults and one juvenile recently. They’ve also made two auto-theft arrests, and four arrests for residential burglary – three adults, one juvenile.

He recapped the convenience-store serial-robbery suspect arrests reported here yesterday – four teenagers taken into custody after a stickup in the Rainier Valley last Thursday night: “Pretty brazen robberies, good to get those guys off the street.” Lt. Paulsen said he thought he’d heard the four were charged today (the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been checking for us so if that’s so, we hope to confirm it tomorrow).

Another ongoing issue that’s apparently solved – underage customers buying items like cigarettes at the 35th/Morgan market. Lt. Paulsen said that Community Police Team Officer Kevin McDaniel had continued to work closely with store ownership, which claimed to know nothing about the problem, and caught a clerk selling single cigarettes, among other things; that person has been fired and neighbors have told police the store/area “is quiet now.”

Also quiet, the local high schools – no trouble there in the past month; Lt. Paulsen gave major credit to West Seattle High School principal Bruce Bivins and Chief Sealth High School principal John Boyd (who was on hand for part of the Crime Prevention Council meeting) for proactivity.

We asked if there was anything new with the case of the homophobic graffiti recurring around Morgan Junction and northern Lincoln Park. Police said they hadn’t had any new reports for a while (nor have we), but SWP Detective Nick Bauer still has the case and “would still like to talk to” the man who was arrested earlier in the year but ultimately not prosecuted (charges against him were dropped because he was found incompetent to stand trial). A meeting attendee asked for a description of him; acting CPT Sgt. Adonis Topacio said “white male, late 20s, early 30s, always looks stressed out” – somebody else thought he’d been known to wear hoodies.

OTHER NOTES: The council passed new bylaws saying they won’t have meetings in July, August and December each year – too many conflicts. … They asked attendees to sign condolence cards for police in memory of Officer Tim Brenton, the former West Seattleite murdered while on duty in Leschi on Halloween night. (Toward the start of the meeting, Lt. Paulsen thanked everyone “for your support during a tough time.”) … The only West Seattleite to comment to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee today about the chronic nuisance properties bill noted it won committee approval and would move on to the full council next week (see our story from earlier today). She suggested those interested in the bill send their thought to city councilmembers (contact info here).

Next meeting of the WSCPC will be January 19; the agenda will include officer elections.

4 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Stolen van - and newest stats"

  • bridge to somewhere November 18, 2009 (8:21 am)

    thanks for the crime stats! as a math geek it would be interesting to know if the differences in crime rates suggested by these stats are statistically significant — i.e., do they represent any real trend whatsoever. irrespective of the inconsistency with which people report crime, we can expect variation in the data just because, well, it’s data. :-) a couple of more [reported] car thefts this month over last month could be due to chance (or better reporting by victims), not any sort of trend. if the number of samples (car thefts) is very large and as the crime stats each month varies substantially, then we might determine there’s a significant difference month-to-month; otherwise, with a small number of reported cases and a small variation each month we can’t be sure of whether that variation is telling us anything.

  • Westie November 18, 2009 (8:32 am)

    I was thinking sorta the same thing. MoM vs YoY might yield a more understandable story. Because it gets dark at the same time year, for example, do car prowls increase or decrease predictably therefore YoY is more valid than MoM? I’m sure there are other examples of crime trends being seasonal due to more rain, or light, or economic demands (e.g. holiays).Is the overall trend of West Seattle different to Seattle YoY or are we making it safer thanks to more (blog induced) communication? Good to hear the data, but I too am always wanting to hear more about it’s qualifications and high level comparative narrative.

  • bridge to somewhere November 18, 2009 (9:27 am)

    great points westie! yes, those correlations (time of year, rain, recessions, etc.) probably should be controlled for when looking at the data. and year-over-year data probably would provide a bit of that control too. but i agree: good to hear the data in any event!

  • the fresh prince November 18, 2009 (1:58 pm)

    Wow! That is such great news! Residential Burglaries are down…down from 62 in a month. (that is 2 a day!)…now we have 47 in a month…that is almost 2 a day! This is an improvement!?
    All while Car Prowls and Car Thefts are up.
    Hmmm. Christmas came early this year.

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