West Seattle Crime Watch: Moral of the story – make the call!

Just out of the WSB inbox, from David:

I fell asleep on the couch last night and was awoken at 3:30 AM. It was a dead silent night and I heard strange noises coming from the portables at the southeast corner of the old Denny Middle School building (29th and Cloverdale). I looked out from my deck and saw a guy with a flash light peering around. I called 911 and reported the suspicious activity.

Two squad cars were there almost immediately and caught the guy as he was trying to leave on his bicycle. I was impressed at how fast they responded!

This morning at 8:00 AM there was a knock at my door. A uniformed police officer was there thanking me for calling 911. She explained the guy they caught last night is well known to the police department and I should call in any time I see him at night. As she explained he is always up to no good.

Anybody missing a small air compressor? The officer explained that he was caught with this item on his possession.

So the moral of the story is: Go with your gut and call 911 of any and all suspicious activity. A false alarm is better than a crime going unreported.

14 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Moral of the story - make the call!"

  • Genessee neighbor September 3, 2010 (4:21 pm)

    Agreed! Call 911! Someone was trying to pry open our window at 3 a.m. but we didn’t see anyone. Thought it we were maybe hearing things. Turned on several lights – didn’t see anything. The next day found the lock off our window but the lights must have scared them away. We immediately called 911 to report.

  • Silly Goose September 3, 2010 (4:56 pm)

    WOW great job David I love a proactive citizen!! The laws have become stiffer on theft and burglaries so let’s hope that this was the guys 3rd strike and he is gone for a while.

  • mo September 3, 2010 (4:57 pm)

    Thanks, David. You are a valued citizen!

  • DP September 3, 2010 (5:12 pm)

    I live in the same vicinity as David. I’ve called the police maybe three times in the 15 years I’ve lived here, and they’ve been out within minutes each time, even in the days before SW precinct was relocated to Delridge.
    From 911 dispatchers to the precinct staff to the cops on the scene, these folks do a great job for all of us.

  • christopherboffoli September 3, 2010 (5:29 pm)

    Lt. Norm James had a crime-related question at the Southwest District Council meeting the other night reiterated that citizens should absolutely not be afraid to use 911 as it is the fastest way for police to respond.

  • Alvis September 3, 2010 (5:54 pm)

    I think some people avoid calling 911 because Seattle takes a policy of letting broadcast news media play the original 911 recording over the air. Fear of revenge is a legitimate reason why some people won’t call 911 — especially about a violent or potentially violent crime. I once asked an SPD chief why 911 tapes are not privileged information, and he said that providing such “public information” in answer to media requests was a higher priority than withholding or disguising the sound of the 911 caller’s voice.

    • WSB September 3, 2010 (8:28 pm)

      Alvis, interesting perspective on the 911 calls. From the journalism side, there can be a legitimate reason for needing those recordings to be public – there have been some excellent investigations over the years revealing that the truth about an incident as revealed by those recordings was not necessarily what was told either by the caller or the callee (or other people directly involved).
      There also have been some amazing stories, such as “dispatcher talks 6-year-old through helping mom deliver baby when it’s too late to get to the hospital” and they have showcased the amazing work done by some 911 dispatchers.
      However, as a former TV newsperson, I apologize for all the times over the years that I was party to what the recordings were more often used for in my former occupation – a sensational, cringeworthy followup to some heinous crime. As a manager, I always enforced some guidelines about not using recordings that were little more than people shrieking in fear as they tried to get help – but those guidelines, in retrospect, still weren’t enough – I don’t watch enough TV news these days to know if “get the 911 tape” is still a standard followup tactic, I hope not….TR

  • Semele September 3, 2010 (6:11 pm)

    maybe it’s where you live. We have called numerous times in our area (N Delridge) for what is large groups of people fighting at the park, apparent drug deals and never any police response. It gets pretty frustrating. And yes, we have called 911 and been told that we shouldn’t be calling the emergency number. I am not sure how the area is supposed to clean up when what we see going on is not addressed.

  • EPL September 3, 2010 (6:55 pm)

    Sad that you (anyone) fears standing up to crime, correctly, than it is to make a simple 911 phone call. Nothing pisses me off more than the inference that I would EVER have to be afraid in my own home. I would rather go down fighting, than to look the other way in hopes that “someone else” will do something.


  • Alvis September 3, 2010 (7:52 pm)

    EPL, way to display the courage of suggesting you alone would have called the operator during the famous 1964 NYC murder of Kitty Genovese. Will you also be fighting in the French Resistance during WWII?

  • islewrite September 3, 2010 (8:27 pm)

    If you are worried about retribution, one of the things you should do when you call 911 is to immediately tell them that this is a “No contact, No disclosure” call. This will 1. Prevent officers from pulling up to your home and asking for info (thereby tipping off any snoopers as to who called), and 2. ensure that your info is blacked out in any of the police reports. Alvis—I HATE that 911 calls are released….(and in some circles I’d actually be considered part of the media!) That’s an interesting response you got from a higher up in SPD.

  • Kate K September 3, 2010 (9:43 pm)

    When in doubt, make the 911 call!

    Came upon a one person bike accident on Beach Dr. a few months ago. The guy was lying on the ground and saying he just wanted a ride back to his car. He didn’t want us to call for help, but he wasn’t getting up after a few minutes. I called 911 and paramedics and Fire Dept. were there in a few minutes. The man was in shock and had a broken leg. I wish I would have called immediately instead of waiting a few minutes.

  • Taramula September 4, 2010 (4:31 pm)

    The SPD are mostly useless in my experience.

    The police never show up when I call about open violence in our neighborhood.

    I am coming to think that the Seattle police have two modes when dealing with criminals: shoot them or avoid them.

  • Phil Dirt September 6, 2010 (5:08 am)

    Why do the cops come knocking on a person’s door at 8:00 A.M.? At that time in the A.M. I don’t answer the door. Yet, the #*#$$* SOBs just knock louder. Not long ago two cops pounded on my door at about 10:00 P.M. only to ask me a question about a neighbor’s drivers license found on the street. I usually don’t answer the door at 10 P.M. either. They finally made such a racket that after arming myself, first, I did answer the door. In today’s world, I’m surprised they didn’t shoot me!

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