West Seattle Crime Watch: Two weekend break-ins, plus the burglary week in review

We start West Seattle Crime Watch with notes received today reporting two burglaries last night:

*A resident near 41st/Graham reports someone broke in while she and her husband were asleep: “Must have been a one-person job because they only took a 32-inch Vizeo TV and my husband’s $1500 Toshiba work laptop.”

*A resident near 49th/Brandon reports, “Our house was broken into last night. … They came in through the basement window. Police were here last night. They focused on money, prescription drugs, credit cards, and Seahawks jerseys!”

Checking trends, the Seattle Police crime map shows 16 burglaries reported in the past week – the 49th/Brandon break-in is one of them; the other one isn’t on the map yet:

Ahead, the list of dates/locations for the other 15 shown on the map – last Sunday was by far the busiest day of the week for burglars:

*4200 block Admiral Way, 11/10
*4500 block California SW, 11/10
*4100 block SW Edmunds, 11/10
*5200 block 37th SW, 11/10
*6300 block 21st SW, 11/10
*1200 block SW Holden, 11/11
*3200 block 46th SW, 11/12
*4000 block SW Orchard, 11/12
*6300 block 46th SW, 11/13
*7700 block Delridge Way, 11/13
*9000 block 9th SW, 11/13
*9400 block 7th SW, 11/14
*5400 block 30th SW, 11/15
*2600 block 42nd SW, 11/16
*3200 block 35th SW, 11/16

P.S. If you have neighborhood concerns, don’t miss the chance to bring them up with Southwest Precinct leadership during Q/A at this Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, which also includes guest Jim Curtin from SDOT, a West Seattleite who specializes in neighborhood traffic-safety issues and solutions. 7 pm Tuesday (November 19), Delridge/Webster.

32 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Two weekend break-ins, plus the burglary week in review"

  • CB November 17, 2013 (8:10 pm)

    16 burglaries in one week. When are we going to get serious about crime prevention? The cops are undermanned and taxpayers pay the price.

  • Fat Slow Triathlete November 17, 2013 (10:00 pm)

    We had a strange thing happen last night. Just as I was about to go up to bed, I noticed that there was a pair of headlights in the middle of our front lawn shining at our front door. When I opened the door, I saw a white car with grey lower panels and a dark colored sunroof and tinted windows back up off our lawn and drive away. The tire tracks were all that was left this morning to prove I hadn’t been dreaming. What in the world could that have been about? I don’t have any idea whose car it is, though I think I have seen it in the neighborhood (Riverview) before.

  • evergreen November 17, 2013 (11:14 pm)

    All of those burglaries happened in one neighborhood over only 1 week? Wow. Is WS really a safe, family-friendly neighborhood worth the enormous home prices, or are we deluding ourselves? Do we consider this “normal” for an urban neighborhood, and thus minimize it, in order to feel emotionally secure and less frightened?

  • Brian November 18, 2013 (7:46 am)

    Home prices may be inflated, but WS is the one area of the city in which people can still actually afford to buy a house (without having to make some ridiculous salary first).

  • blanchus November 18, 2013 (7:51 am)

    Yes, this is a wake up call for all of us….this should not be ‘normal’.

  • David November 18, 2013 (8:38 am)

    @CB – While I agree SPD is understaffed, how is bolstering the ranks going to *prevent* burglaries? I would ask each and every one of these victims if they had taken any proactive steps to making their homes less appealing to burglars. I’m not blaming the victim, but we all have to bear some responsibility when it comes to preventing crime.

    Some things we should all consider – Lighting, Exterior door/window security, Alarms, Dogs (real or electronic), Video, Neighborhood watches, Shrubbery that obscures visibility, Safes for your valuables, Etc.

    Anyhow, everyone please take this moment to think about your home’s security, learn the lessons from these folks who have learned the hard way.

    I have an easy one for you all to really think about – your front door – is it secure? Do you have a deadbolt? Now, the part most people miss – are the strike plates and hinges screwed into the framing of the house with long screws? At least 2-3″ screws are necessary. Very often, there are little, tiny 1/2″ screws that only go into the door jamb. These do nothing for keeping a burglar out. One little kick and that door is laying in your living room. Go buy some beefy screws and secure those doors – do it today, screws are cheap.

  • East Coast Cynic November 18, 2013 (8:43 am)

    Even with somewhat expensive home prices and family friendly exterior, we do have some poverty and desperation in our midst–some clusters in Highpoint, Delridge, and Highland Park. I’m certainly not excusing break ins and robberies, but you would have to factor in the increased poverty with the recession consequently causing more crime. I’m sure that our neighborhood is not unique to these crime problems.

  • JK November 18, 2013 (8:52 am)

    Wow, WS is affordable? My wife and I are DINK’s with good salaries and we just eeked in to the WS market this past summer. Ballard and WS were both very hot markets this spring/summer. Maybe you’re thinking of the Delridge area?

    As for the crime… the WS blog is so good at reporting – is this neighborhood really any worse than the others in Seattle or are we just hearing about it? I previously lived in Ballard and the blog there didn’t cover crime so much and I felt like it was not really an issue. Reading about it here so much is making me a bit paranoid!

  • enough November 18, 2013 (9:23 am)

    Criminals aren’t stupid .. they “shop” where people are and there are more and more people in WS.

  • JR November 18, 2013 (9:24 am)

    49th/Brandon – were you home during the burglary? 11 in one week is alarming!
    This has to be the same group of people, so scary.

    • WSB November 18, 2013 (9:39 am)

      What “Enough” says is one important point – more people. To JK, despite our unfortunate legacy name (we didn’t set out to do this when I started the site eight years ago), WSB is not a “blog” and aside from CapitolHillSeattle.com, the coverage can’t be compared (no dig to MyBallard, which was started by husband-wife then-journalists inspired by WSB, but definitely publishes a lower volume – last night I looked at them and their newest story was a Friday preview of weekend events, while we had by that point published at least 16 new news stories throughout the weekend, up through 9 pm last night).
      WSB has more coverage of EVERYTHING than most other neighborhood news sites, including sites in non-blog format – development, transportation, schools, environment, wildlife, traffic, events/festivals as they happen (not just previews), AND crime. And lost/found pets. And a far deeper event calendar. And so on. And we are thrilled to be able to make a living doing it. But I didn’t even want to do crime coverage when I quit my final TV job six years ago – but people kept telling us and asking us what’s going on in the neighborhood, and that’s how it evolved. But even at that, far more happens than we ever report. I have been trying to go a bit further for context – not just publish the two reader reports, but take the time to take a look at what’s happened during the entire week. I wish I had time/staff to compare it with some other neighborhood but I don’t, and am already behind today – if you check the SPD map, you can get an anecdotal view. You can use the controls on the left side of the map to eliminate icons for everything else until you get down to burglaries – or you can just look for them among everything else. – TR

  • Ari November 18, 2013 (9:38 am)

    Saturday night or early Sunday morning someone stole a 23 year old vehicle (van) out of the garage at Alaska House. People who live there are all elderly or disabled. The owner has only the liability insurance required by law and will not be able to replace her vehicle. She is disabled and needs it to get to the doctor and is also generous in driving other people. Right out of the garage!

    • WSB November 18, 2013 (9:42 am)

      Ari: Sorry to hear that. If you or someone can get us any more info on what to look out for – make/model/plate – we can publish a separate announcement, as we try to do with all stolen vehicles we hear about .. TR

  • Jennifer November 18, 2013 (11:24 am)

    Tracy I just want to say thank you and all the people who help you and the WSB be the wonderful source of information that it is. I don’t think any of us realize how much time and effort you put into this website. I really have no idea what we would do without you! I hope we never find out. Thanks for the hard work and keep it up! :)

  • sb2780 November 18, 2013 (11:31 am)

    I would be curious to know more details about the break in on the 14th in the 6300 block of 46th. I live on this street, and was home sick that day. The only thing i noticed was two older guys sticking jehovah’s witness flyers on people’s porches.

  • Attention November 18, 2013 (11:52 am)

    I commented last week about the burglary on Orchard but wanted to post again. I saw the burglars and wanted to describe them. The getaway car was large white American vehicle with blue plate starting with 21-. The driver was African American with shoulder length dreads. I did not see burglars well but they were wearing block tops/hoodies.. I called the police based on a quick glimpse of person weating black that I saw walking around my neighbor’s home. I really doubted myself for what I saw but decided to call. The police were very responsive. While I was on the phone with dispatch I saw the two guys emerge and get in the waiting car. I can’t emphasize how helpful and responsive the dispatcher and officer were. The police responded immediately and just missed the burglars. The officer even called me later to confirm that there was a break in. My advice is to call if you see anything out of place in your neighborhood. Anything.

  • BlairJ November 18, 2013 (11:57 am)

    David, you are right about front doors. I couldn’t believe it when I took my heavy front door down to paint it, and found the hinges were all held up with 1″ screws! I immediately drilled the holes out deeper and put in much more substantial screws.

  • G November 18, 2013 (11:59 am)

    There will be more crime in absolute numbers with an increasing population – of course – but a salient statistic is that the Seattle prop crime rate, per 100,000, has stayed about the same, using years 2011-2012 as a comparison (FBI sources). And it is among the highest in the nation. This is not normal.

    Why do I always detect a defensiveness here, as if one dare not criticize West Seattle, or any criticism must be offered gently as if not to offend someone who has lived here for nth generations?

    Solutions? Sure, we can put deadbolts on our doors, and bars over windows and it’ll look like driving through Northwest Los Angeles – great. Sure, we can attend community meetings to offer input, but isn’t law enforcement what we’re paying the SPD to do?

    Wake up, people.

  • AG November 18, 2013 (12:16 pm)

    Sometimes you lose your stuff even if you’ve done everything right. Our home was burglarized on Sept 1, during the super-spike in burglaries. We have an alarm (which went off) and had everything locked up tightly. They bypassed the window sensor by removing the half of the window that didn’t have the sensor — took it right out of the frame! The window was 11″ by 14″ — not very big, and high off the ground. The cops were shocked they fit through it. The skinny person let the other one in through the front door, and they grabbed our stuff and ran back out the front door within 2-3 minutes, max. The alarm was sounding the whole time. We had every serial number, ever receipt, and Find my iPad/iPhone enabled. None of it made any difference and our stuff is still gone.

    My point is, it’s not always about having the security system and the right kind of locks, etc. Sometimes things just happen and it sucks and you move on.

  • Tom November 18, 2013 (12:34 pm)

    As with many social ills, burglary is a byproduct of many factors and you can attempt to address causes or symptoms. It’s always nice to have the luxury to do both but realistically, where’s the resources for that? So, as with most other significant societal conundrums, we opt for the what looks like the easiest fix.

    Short term or symptom addressing is – as the police tell us on their websites – best done by having all of us look out for each other. Neighborhood watches, reducing attractiveness to burglars, etc.

    This tends to push the rates down in one area where people implement these actions – and moves it to another area of opportunity for the perpetrators.

    But let’s not kid ourselves, symptom addressing is a “whack-a-mole” solution. Easiest to actually get our heads around and address? Sure. Does it solve the underlying issue? Nope. But then again, there’s a reason Advil is so popular… :-)

    All of which is to say, if you’re in an area being targeted, organize and help each other make your place less attractive. Doing so will then push the onus onto those adjoining neighborhoods to do the same…as they are the next most likely targets.

  • Tom November 18, 2013 (12:40 pm)

    And then again, like AG says above, it’s gonna’ happen.

    As Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks…”It’s where the money is.”.

    Sorry AG, I’ve been in your situation too. It really does force you to choose how much energy you want to put into trying to get justice versus moving on.

  • sophista-tiki November 18, 2013 (12:54 pm)

    DINK; there are other parts to WS besides Admirle District and the Junction. Yes: Delridge, Westwood, Highland Park are all part of WS too. They have these things called maps for reference just incase you dont believe me.

  • erico November 18, 2013 (12:57 pm)

    The burglary rate for Seattle in 2012 was 1042 per 100,000 residents. The national average for cities 500,000 – 999,999 residents was 1041. So Seattle is 0.1% above the national average. Based on http://www.fbi.gov.

  • Searun November 18, 2013 (4:39 pm)

    Umm..this a lot of overthinking of 16 burglaries.

  • JSUN November 18, 2013 (5:36 pm)

    Let’s make it 17. Just came home to find somebody had ripped a section of my side yard fence out and then broke the office window. Looks like they barely got in before our 3 dogs chased them out. I haven’t found anything missing yet. That’s the second one in the 5400 block of 30th Ave SW in 3 days.

  • wsn00b November 18, 2013 (7:04 pm)

    sophista-tiki: Since we are talking maps, the City Clerk’s reference map(which is authoritative if we are being pedantic) makes a distinction between West Seattle and Delridge as different neighborhoods/districts: http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/nmaps/fullcity.htm

    However, most of us do know that West Seattle is a little more fuzzy and includes whatever residents consider their neighborhood. Heck, bits of King County south of Roxbury philosophically qualify as West Seattle but are not on the map.

    Go easy on the new neighbors like DINK. Peace.

    • WSB November 18, 2013 (7:32 pm)

      FYI, the city maps are only for “districts” that the city set up for its purposes. They do NOT mean Delridge is not part of West Seattle. WS is from the Duwamish to Elliott Bay to Puget Sound to the city limits on the south.

  • wsn00b November 18, 2013 (8:03 pm)

    @WSB. That is exactly what I meant. Official reference maps are only the partial story. But since we were told earlier “They have these things called maps for reference…”, I thought I’d be equally pedantic ;)

    Anyways, back to the original topic.
    Yeah, break-in data for West Seattle seems a little off-the charts. The city data site is painfully slow. At some point, the Year-on-Year comparison data by Month should tell a better story.

    1) Don’t be the low-hanging fruit for these sleazeballs.
    2) Fix poverty and education (easy!)
    3) ???
    4) Happy fun times.

  • Melly Mel November 18, 2013 (9:02 pm)

    My attempted burglary this year already was reported 8 weeks ago – picture of a blue busted in door posted with it.
    The alarm went off and that appeared to be enough to have them leave without taking anything.
    I am a bit chagrined that none of my neighbors even inquired if there was a problem, though no doubt they had to listed to that ear-piercing alarm for +15 minutes. We aren’t best friends, but I am on conversational terms with most.
    That makes the 3rd break in 8 years for me. The first two were successful. I’ve lived in Leschi, Cap hill and Renton and never had a break in, though Cap hill was an apt.
    So, yeah, I do think that WS has more than its share of break-ins. I notice many people on the blog like to declare they are moving out of WS due to some problem. But I have been weighing what is the line in the sand where I say, I’m out!
    Not sure where I would try to make my next neighborhood. According to some, my desire to live in a single family home with the same as my neighbors mean I should hie to the ‘burbs.

  • Sue November 19, 2013 (5:10 pm)

    Reply to David’s earlier post. I had 2 dogs and that didn’t deter the burgler who invaded my house in July. I think the burglers are bold and they know that stealing is so prevalent that they have gotten more prolific and bolder. I’ve lived in WS since 1999 and never had a break in and I’m pretty sure that the number have risen. Now 3 incidents have happened on my street.

  • Wayne Kinslow November 19, 2013 (10:37 pm)

    On Friday the 15th we had an attempted break-in at Salon Ta Lenaje close to the Admiral Way Safeway. They broke the front door lock but were unable to enter for some reason. We have video of the criminals and just found some good facial pictures today while re-scanning our video. It was a horrible feeling to see them trying to break into the salon.

  • Diana November 21, 2013 (4:42 pm)

    I was broken into 2 years in a row (last year and the year before) in N. Beacon Hill during a rash of burglaries in that neighborhood. I lived in Seattle for 15 years w/o an issue before then. I think this is a metro (including many burbs) problem. Now that I’m in West Seattle, I have invested in some serious security cameras. I think security cameras are the way to go.

Sorry, comment time is over.