Making West Seattle safer: New Block Watch = Stairs Watch

Chris McCall is rounding up some help for a neighborhood problem – and that broken glass is one of the symptoms:

We are starting a block watch because of vandalism and theft that has resulted from teens hanging out on the Hanford St. Stairs one block north of Madison Middle School.

Teens meet there to buy or sell pot, smoke pot, and drink liquor (that is probably stolen from parents, such as the smashed bottle of dragon fruit-infused SKY vodka currently there).

Some neighbors are scared to use the stairs at any time, and little children have to be careful of broken glass.

If you would like to help make these stairs safer and cleaner, please join us for a block watch meeting.

When: Tuesday, March 11th at 7 pm

Where: At the top of the stairs – 4516 SW Hanford St. (map)

Who: Mark Solomon from the Seattle Police Department will meet with us to discuss issues and how to solve them.

After Chris sent the announcement, we asked about a photo – and received the top photo showing broken glass, with the explanation, “Over the weekend, a mother and her young kids cleaned much of the litter as an act of kindness. I also put a broom on the stairs for people to use to clear broken glass.”

Later this afternoon – before we published this – Chris had a new photo to share, and an epilogue:

Walking home from school just now, I see that somebody broke the broom that I put out.

29 Replies to "Making West Seattle safer: New Block Watch = Stairs Watch"

  • NW March 4, 2014 (7:42 pm)

    Weekday at 7pm and you expect attendance? I am all for your effort but maybe by doing it in the future over a weekend at an hour where neighbors and possibly their children too are able to attend may spur more interest. I myself would attend but at that hour most likely not. Good luck

  • There ain't no party like a west coast party cause the west coast party don't stop March 4, 2014 (8:46 pm)

    Seems pretty funny to me that whoever is doing this is acting like a tough guy by breaking glass, but the glass being broken is Sky Vodka Dragon Fruit Flavor. HA! Must be a real macho man breaking his Dragon Fruit Vodka in front of his other bad ass friends! LOL

  • Paul March 4, 2014 (9:27 pm)

    Have u seen a stairway in the Southend or CD!? How about just south of this location like Delridge!? They’re 10x worst!!! Give me a break… Kids have and always will do this.. Jus try and make sure it’s not your kids lol

    • WSB March 4, 2014 (9:30 pm)

      And so that means they shouldn’t even try, because it’s always worse somewhere else?

  • Brenda March 4, 2014 (9:34 pm)

    That’s funny, fruity vodka.

    I’ll be there bc that’s ridiculous and if those stairs were by my house, I’d be livid.

    Plus, anything to show support when SPD is involved.

  • dsa March 4, 2014 (9:36 pm)

    Are you saying look the other way Paul? That’s the worst thing to do.

  • West Seattle Wanderer March 4, 2014 (9:39 pm)

    I applaud the effort by Chris and am sure there’d be complainers, too, if it was on a weekend.

    And just because the problem might be worse elsewhere doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to clean up around our own blocks.

  • neighbor March 4, 2014 (10:12 pm)

    I like the day and time! Gives me plenty of time to get home from work. I live very close to these steps and avoid them for all these reason, never know who is hanging around them, broken glass and they are dark with too much growth around them. Thanks for taking our neighborhood back from those that don’t want to respect it. Paul, I don’t want our area looking like other areas that look 10x worse. Why should we ignore it ‘give me a break’ leave it and let the trash pile up?

  • K March 4, 2014 (10:15 pm)

    I encourage everyone to heavily use the stairs, they’ll go away. (Or not, we’ve built a house in every abandoned lot–where else do we expect teens to get into trouble?)

    We have a Blockwatch program on our block. I think it’s great getting to know your neighbors. The email threads about “suspicious” vehicles and people driving or walking down the street (the audacity!) are a bit taxing, and downright silly at times.

    Sure, these kids are thoughtless twits, but they’ll probably move along if the area is more heavily used. Beyond proper discipline, which they seem to be lacking, that’s all you can do.

    Huge shout out to the neighbors who are cleaning up the trash–you are what makes the neighborhood great!

  • Matt March 4, 2014 (10:18 pm)

    Who breaks a broom? If I had one with a solid steel handle and indestructible bristles, I’d donate it to this cause along with some kind of jerk-sensing camera.

  • Mookie March 4, 2014 (11:03 pm)

    Listening to the scanner, I’ve heard numerous calls on this location with minors smoking drugs/drinking, and also people selling drugs. Does the city own the property? Because the last time I saw them, those stairs looked like a cave it was so dark and near completely overgrown — with no visibility no wonder it’s a popular trouble spot.

  • Kg March 4, 2014 (11:59 pm)

    I wonder if there was a bench near the top of the stairs for adults to sit on, if it would diminish the unsavory types from hanging out there.

  • Paul March 5, 2014 (5:42 am)

    @WSB I’m not saying look the other way, I’m saying it’s not that bad, is there a homeless encampment, hypodermic needles? Kids being kids.. All I’m saying. West Seattle by far has the cleanest stairways, especially from the alaska st junction and north of it… Need to worry about pervs more then some pot smoking teens.

  • Mike March 5, 2014 (6:45 am)

    “Kids being kids”…no. I didn’t do that crap as a kid, my parents would have destroyed me. Time for people to not think like Paul and start becoming adults. You see underage youth smoking and drinking, call the cops. Put the parents in the roll they need to be, responsible for all actions their kids take. I’ve scared the living bejesus out of many teens around here trying to do dumb crap. You put my kids at risk, I make you cry.

  • Brian March 5, 2014 (8:06 am)

    @Mike: I’m with you. I never pulled anything like this when I was a kid. My parents knew where I was and with whom I was hanging out pretty much all the time. Loitering out in public wasn’t really a sanctioned activity for me.
    And to head off any presumptions, I’m not some old, crotchety, fuddy duddy. I’m only 30 years old. I simply happen to be transitioning very quickly into my old & crotchety phase of life.

  • Chris March 5, 2014 (8:51 am)

    A few weeks ago two kids tried to break off the side view mirrors on two different cars at 11:30 at night right at the top of the stairs. They partially succeeded before running home.
    Also, somebody opened valentines in our mailbox – looking for cash I assume.

  • wscommuter March 5, 2014 (12:31 pm)

    Paul, you badly miss the point. No area starts out fully criminalized and unsafe – it is a slippery slope to get there that begins with inattention and apathy. So intervening now – neighbors paying attention and pressuring the City to keep the vegetation in check, etc. – is the way to nip the problem before it gets worse. It is moronic to ignore a problem because there are worse problems elsewhere.

  • Luckie March 5, 2014 (1:58 pm)

    I’m planning to be there! Thanks for putting this together, Chris.

  • M March 5, 2014 (2:28 pm)

    Is it possible to severely cut back the vegetation? I think that would go along way to solve it. And maybe a street light right above it

  • Tom March 5, 2014 (3:03 pm)

    I’ve called the cops on the kids that always smoke pot, break bottles, leave trash and graffiti the tops of the stairs between Delridge/Holden/20th Ave SW. The always block the top of the stairs and never get out of the way to let you by. Never seen the cops stop by after calling and I live near by. Think they should works on cutting back the vegetation and installing more lighting in the areas.

  • boy March 5, 2014 (3:18 pm)

    Mike an brian you guys sound like a couple of alter boys. Teenagers do these things.An It’s not because they have bad parents. Kids have been doing these type of things for as long as anybody can remember an they will do this long after were gone. They soon grow up and become productive people have kids and there kids will start the cycle all over again. sure this type of behavior is wrong an should be stoped but it won’t ever go away . Kids will always be exploring.

  • Chris McCall March 5, 2014 (4:18 pm)

    You make a good point. It is totally normal for teens to explore and experiment. However, we have had property damage and theft as a result of teens on those stairs.
    They need to go elsewhere.
    They will get caught on the stairs and there will be consequences.

  • Elizabeth March 5, 2014 (8:37 pm)

    Thanks for organizing this, I will be there. Obviously some kids will find other locations for bad behavior, but having a safe neighborhood environment matters. It isn’t okay to tolerate harmful behavior by young people by saying that kids will be kids. Ultimately it does nothing to support the kids who harm themselves by using substances or damaging property. Some do go on to have serious substance abuse problems, rack up DUIs, etc. Prevention and early intervention do work to prevent some of these kids from having more serious problems later.

  • NW March 6, 2014 (8:46 am)

    The overgrown stairwell here and many other public areas are great opportunities for a local business or landscaper to ,with the permit to do so, do some volunteer work and meet and greet with neighbors to boost business for them. I see many such areas in need of some care of this type which businesses could benefit from. Signage “Another volunteer project to beautify the community by ABC landscaping”

  • 2 Much Whine March 6, 2014 (9:56 am)

    Less than 2 weeks ago as I drove past, in broad daylight, I witnessed an adult male in a business suit park his Mercedes at the bottom of these stairs, walk half way up the stairs and start to pee. I was amazed. Also, on 3/5 at about 10:30 AM there was a young (approximately 15) Hispanic boy in a hoodie witnessed in a couple of neighborhood yards within a block or two of this location (the stairs) where he clearly should not have been. He was scared off from those yards by a diligent neighbor and a barking dog but a window was broken and items stolen from a house a couple of doors down while the owner was gone for less than an hour. Presumably the same kid. A police report has been filed.

  • DRW March 6, 2014 (10:21 am)

    The stairs that are just west of Delridge on Henderson street are just dangerous sometimes. Groups of teens openly partying, as well as stashing their garbage from all their shoplifted items from Westwood Village. I sometimes walk around.

  • Moab March 11, 2014 (9:42 pm)


    Thanks for bringing neighbors together from multiple blocks this evening. The attendance was significant and we look forward to working together to make our neighborhood safe.

  • NW March 12, 2014 (8:10 pm)

    I am glad you guys had a good turn out ,it sounds from the pervious comment. I plan on walking this stairwell soon and in the months to come see what kind of progress you folks are making. If you need plants to hold back invasive weeds or grass I am happy to donate a few. Best of luck

  • SK March 23, 2014 (10:53 pm)

    Our car has now been both keyed and broken into within the past month in the alley directly beneath those stairs and groups of kids have been hanging out in the alley. We weren’t able to attend your meeting but could you publish contact info for your block watch? Thank you for taking the initiative to pursue this. Please ignore the ignorant comments of people minimizing this situation.

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