West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 incidents reported today targeting Sealth, Denny students; what police are doing

FIRST REPORT, 2:34 PM: Police are investigating three incidents reported in this letter going home to families of students at Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School:

We want to share with you information right away regarding three independent incidents that were reported to have happened to our scholars today as they were coming to school.

First Reported Incident: A Denny scholar reported that while walking to school a Caucasian male, who appeared to be in his late 40s or early 50s, attempted to grab the student at the corner of Thistle and 25th Ave. SW. The scholar responded appropriately, moved to the middle of the road and notified both family and school immediately. Both family and Denny Staff notified the Seattle Police Department, who are actively investigating.

Second Report: A Sealth scholar reported that while walking to school that a Caucasian male, who appeared to be approximately 30 years old, attempted to assault and rob her. The scholar reported to school staff and Sealth staff immediately notified the Seattle Police Department and the family. An investigation is ongoing.

Third Report: A Sealth scholar reported that, as she was catching a Metro bus by her home, a Caucasian man (appearing to be in his 20s or 30s) caught the bus with her and attempted to talk to her in a manner that raised concerns. When the scholar arrived at school, she reported the incident to school staff right away. Sealth staff immediately notified the Seattle Police Department, who took the man into custody for suspicious circumstances and then released him because he had not done anything illegal.

The suspects of all three incidents are different men. The safety of our scholars is our top priority. The district has contacted the SW Precinct Captain to discuss the incidents and their increased policing efforts. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area.

You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:
• Walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times
• If wearing ear buds, keep music down or one bud out
• Keep phones or any expensive items out of sight
• Immediately report anything suspicious to a trusted adult (school staff or family member)

More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website: seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm.

We will be following up with police to get more details.

4:07 PM: The location of the robbery attempt wasn’t mentioned in the schools’ note, but SPD tells us it was in the 2600 block of SW Trenton. So what are police doing? one community member asked us in e-mail. Southwest Precinct commander Captain Steve Wilske is sharing this message with community groups – note that police do NOT believe these incidents are related to the previous ones:

We have had 3 incidents involving middle school to high school age victims today; from the descriptions these are not related to the earlier robberies, the last of which occurred a week ago today. We are going to continue the early-morning emphasis patrol where we are bringing additional officers that are assigned to this problem, and CPT officers will be the lead on working on the stairwell at 26th and Trenton SW, where one of today’s incidents occurred.

I have already contacted the followup unit that will work on today’s incidents, and offered any assistance they may need from the precinct to identify the suspect(s) from 2 of the three incidents today; one has already been identified by patrol officers who contacted him near the scene.

I will update you as things progress, this is a different series with a different suspect or suspect(s). In this series young female students are the victims, so whenever possible please have them walk together with friends so that they are less vulnerable, and if they have a cell phone have them call 9-1-1 immediately if they feel they are being followed or see someone they are worried about.

43 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: 3 incidents reported today targeting Sealth, Denny students; what police are doing"

  • CEA February 11, 2015 (3:05 pm)

    The previous reported incidents against students were alarming enough. I’m concerned a pattern has developed, that these people are targeting vulnerable kids, and that we may have an issue on our hands that demands more attention. Is this going on in other parts of the city as well? I agree that our kids need to be more aware, but as adults we also have to look out for their safety.

  • michael February 11, 2015 (3:05 pm)

    This is getting to frequent at Denny and Sealth.

  • WSMom February 11, 2015 (3:22 pm)

    michael, I have read about incidents like that at Madison and WS also. It’s not only Denny and Sealth.

  • WSMom February 11, 2015 (3:26 pm)

    It appears my first post didn’t post so I will post again. Michael, it has happened at Madison and West Seattle also. The only difference is when it happens there everybody is like ‘Oh no! How can that happen here?’ but when it happens at Denny/Sealth people like Michael starts to neighborhood bash.

    • WSB February 11, 2015 (3:36 pm)

      If memories have already faded of the five robberies/attempted robberies that happened earlier this month, only one happened in the Westwood area. One was at 36th/Myrtle, two near California/Lander (Hiawatha/Admiral Safeway/Lafayette), one was in Morgan Junction. Not all involved students.

  • Kathleen February 11, 2015 (3:42 pm)

    How awful that harassing a young and vulnerable student who is just trying to get to school (and public transport is probably her only option) is not actually illegal.

  • Paul February 11, 2015 (4:06 pm)

    @wsmom – I think you mistook @michael’s comment. There are two I recent memory in the delridge area, and hence I agree that it is getting _too_ frequent.

    That being said, I live in riverview (delridge) and also get upset with comments that add up to “well you live on the wrong side of 35th”

  • Payton February 11, 2015 (4:12 pm)

    Words have actual meaning…whether we like it or not. While a language is an ever evolving thing I do think it is important to try and use words in a way that is consistent with their actual meaning, especially for an educational institution. These victims are students, not scholars.

    It is a damn shame though. I know they are already encouraged to walk in groups, but that should be emphasized a bit more. They would not be perceived as such easy targets if they were not alone.

  • WSMom February 11, 2015 (4:17 pm)

    Good point Paul. I apologize to Michael for taking his comment in the wrong way.

  • Chris February 11, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    I also found the “scholars” thing odd. Does that serve some purpose that “students” doesn’t? Like when I was called a “guest” at Target today.

    • WSB February 11, 2015 (4:32 pm)

      Chris, that is Denny principal Jeff Clark’s choice of terms for his school’s students. Also Roxhill. Not sure about other schools.

  • JR66 February 11, 2015 (4:21 pm)

    At last I finally see in the “personal safety tips” regarding ear buds! Every time I see an incident about someone being approached I always wonder if they were wearing ear buds. 7 years ago when I was volunteering at Madison the school principal talked to the kids about walking to/from school and never mentioned once that wearing ear buds wasn’t safe. I have always told my kids to not wear them when they are alone. I personally never wear them when I go for a walk alone which I do often. Talk about setting your self up.

  • flimflam February 11, 2015 (4:21 pm)

    wow. dirtbags each one of them. must be very scary for the students just trying t get to school and their parents.

  • HappyOnAlki February 11, 2015 (4:32 pm)

    Payton and Chris, words do have actual meaning. From just one dictionary:

    scholar (plural scholars)

    A student; one who studies at school or college.
    A specialist in a particular branch of knowledge.
    A learned person; a bookman.

    So no problem.

  • colleen February 11, 2015 (4:45 pm)

    Kathleen: If the student in question was a minor and the guy was being sexually aggressive towards her then the adult male did indeed do something illegal. I have no idea why the police would say that. And I am pretty certain that anyone being sexually aggressive to anyone else on a bus would be grounds to complain to the driver and have that person removed from public transportation.I HATE it that children are the targets of these guys.

  • G February 11, 2015 (4:48 pm)

    I’m tempted to quibble about word usage, but this crime wave is far too serious and frankly, obscene. Citizen patrols? Maybe the time has come.

  • AK February 11, 2015 (4:58 pm)

    Citizen patrols might be in order but would have to be done very carefully in order to keep the good guys from being as creepy and dangerous as the bad guys.

  • forgotmyname February 11, 2015 (5:01 pm)

    @JR66. Thank you. This can’t be repeated enough: Pay attention when you are walking alone, at any age. It’s one of the first precepts you’ll learn in any self-defense class: Headphones, cell phones – anything that makes you less aware of your surroundings should be avoided.

  • sc February 11, 2015 (5:10 pm)

    “The old man was peering intently at the shelves. ‘I’ll have to admit that he’s a very competent scholar.’
    Isn’t he just a librarian?’ Garion asked, ‘somebody who looks after books?’
    That’s where all the rest of scholarship starts, Garion. All the books in the world won’t help you if they’re just piled up in a heap.”

    ― David Eddings, King of the Murgos

  • Eric1 February 11, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    I think it seems a bit weird that all this weeks criminals are older white males with bad intentions and the other week it was black teens robbing people. Do these guys get together and say this week is your week, we’ll take next week so we can confuse the police?
    I think the incidents this week are creepier but if this gets any worse there will be a lot of paranoid people walking around.

  • AJP February 11, 2015 (6:20 pm)

    This is so terrible!! What can we do? Do kids need rides to school? Non-creepy adults purposefully walking their dogs during school commute times?

  • WSborn&bred February 11, 2015 (6:56 pm)

    These problems are not new but it seems to me that there is increased education and reporting of incidents like this. Having grown up on “the wrong side of 35th” in the 90’s. I recall stuff like this happening frequently but we as teens didn’t report it unless someone actually assaulted or robbed (and even then there were fears associated with reporting an incident). We looked at it as a part of life. There was no precinct in West Seattle either. I was verbally/sexually harassed frequently as a teenager and always thought it was just the burden my gender had to bear. I really appreciate the culture shift. It’s great that kids today are actively reporting incidents, that parents are getting involved and police are increasing their presence in an effort to protect students. If this had been the culture in the 90s perhaps less kids would have felt pressured to join gangs as a means of personal protection. As someone who often rants about negative change in West Seattle, I actually see this as a positive culture shift.

  • m February 11, 2015 (7:38 pm)

    @wsBorn – Thanks for the fresh perspective.

  • Payton February 11, 2015 (8:18 pm)


    All scholars are students…not all students are scholars. They are not exact synonyms.

    @G yes you are correct…I just cannot help myself.

  • wb February 11, 2015 (8:48 pm)

    @wsborn– which is the wrong side of 35th? Genuinely want to know – because I live on it.

  • Phil C February 11, 2015 (9:45 pm)

    Disturbing trends. Stay alert–stay alive. Hoping all neighbors will keep an eye out for these scumbags.

  • Elle Nell February 11, 2015 (10:36 pm)

    Get some parent patrols going. These are OUR kids and as being ThEIR parents, it is appropriate. Put a couple parents on each couple blocks from the school.. Sign up sheets, help your kids 1-2 mornings a month.. How many kids go to these schools?? Should be more than enough parents willing to help their kids… Right???

  • j February 11, 2015 (11:43 pm)

    @wb – I have been told repeatedly that a ‘true’ West Seattle-ite lives north of Thistle and west of 35th. My family and I have been hearing this since we moved out here ten years ago.

  • sophista-tiki February 12, 2015 (4:01 am)

    Really? with the ” wrong side of the tracks” bit. Theres a gigantic glaring attitude problem right there. Take a look at a map and you can clearly see that Westwood is ALSO in West Seattle. . Gee maybe that whole urban village thing should be reconsidered if were just a bunch of low lifes over here.
    My first thought was also about similar incidents happening in other parts of the city, but I didn’t jump to the wrong side of the tracks conclusion. .

  • B February 12, 2015 (7:00 am)

    I’ve lived in WS since ’90 and had spent a lot of time here since ’84. I’ve heard that comment over and over and over again. It’s gotten to be a broken record. (I’ve heard west of 35th, west of 35th north of Thistle and also west of 35th north of Morgan and most recently heard west of 35th north of Alaska!)

    I have also heard people comment after the school lines were drawn that they wouldn’t send their kids to Denny because of the lines being east of 35th.

    Really? I find it to be a very bad message to be sending our children because I know people who live on BOTH sides of 35th and are perfectly nice people. This elitist attitude has got to stop.

    I have no idea where this thinking originated.

  • B February 12, 2015 (7:17 am)

    I’ve lived in WS since ’90 and had spent a lot of time here since ’84. I’ve heard that comment over and over and over again. It’s gotten to be a broken record. (I’ve heard west of 35th, west of 35th north of Thistle and also west of 35th north of Morgan and most recently heard west of 35th north of Alaska!)

    I have also heard people comment after the school lines were drawn that they wouldn’t send their kids to Denny because of the lines being east of 35th.

    Really? I find it to be a very bad message to be sending our children because I know people who live on BOTH sides of 35th and are perfectly nice people. This elitist attitude has got to stop.

    I have no idea where this thinking originated. I also wanted to add that we were even told that by Real Estate Agents when we bought homes.

  • Sunshine February 12, 2015 (9:21 am)

    Any adults that are free before and afterschool should be driving around that school to help keep these kids safe!

  • datamuse February 12, 2015 (9:37 am)

    @wsborn, good observations. I grew up in the DC suburbs–different city, but definitely similar issues. The harassment was endemic, a near-daily occurrence. I’m glad kids are encouraged to report incidents like this and that they’re taken seriously.

  • G February 12, 2015 (1:15 pm)

    Is everyone missing the fact that these are ADULTS targeting kids?? This is just not kids harrassing kids.

    Jesus, people, wake up or switch to caffeinated.

  • pjmanley February 12, 2015 (1:57 pm)

    First: Je Suis West Seattleites. The whole Peninsula & the Ridge too. I don’t think criminal predators say “this neighborhood is too nice for me” very often. But I would guess the better access in and out of the Westwood area combined with some odd street layouts might provide more available escape routes than an area like Madison, where everything filters onto Admiral Way. There really is only one quick way in and out of the North West part of the Peninsula, so that, along with more bus routes and the traffic around the shopping center might provide more cover and means of escape around Sealth than other spots around WS. That said, I love West Seattle BECAUSE it’s on the other side of the tracks, and we drive past a steel mill everyday on the way home. If that doesn’t scream “working class” what does? And that’s what I love about this place, and what I believe builds character in our kids, like the character and fortitude shown by each one of these street-wise WS kids in these instances. The situational awareness, presence of mind and skill shown by each one of these students in very threatening & stressful situations is something we should be all be proud of. We cannot run & hide from these modern problems, and seeing how these kids reacted tells me the parents, schools, and community are doing a good job of countering these threats by teaching our kids some good survival skills. I hate that we have to do this, but it’s better to fight back and turn the tables on these scumbags rather than run away or hole up on our homes and pray the problem goes away.

  • B February 12, 2015 (2:20 pm)

    I’m missing your point G. Because I think everybody knew that it was adults. I’ll have to read back through all the comments because I knew it was adults all along.

  • datamuse February 12, 2015 (2:29 pm)

    G, when I was growing up the harassment I refer to was almost entirely by adults. Not sure what your point is?

  • k February 12, 2015 (5:14 pm)


    There’s nothing in the report to indicate that the man was harassing student or saying sexually inappropriate things. That’s an assumption.

    The only thing that 3rd incident says is an “alarming” manner. Which means different things to different people, and we don’t know the details.

    WS B&B

    Interesting comment, and good point. There are plenty of studies/stats out there to point out that we’re living in a safer world–I’d be interested to hear if there are some to refute that.

  • dennymom February 13, 2015 (8:19 am)

    First of all, how in the world did this issue become a debate for what term we use for our students/scholars??? What I’d really like to know is where is this so called ‘police presence”?? I drive my daughter to Denny every day, and have started picking up one of her friends in light of all this. I take a pretty big circuit around the school zone and have yet to see a SINGLE police car. Oh there was a news van in front of the school this morning….woot woot!! That should keep our kids safe.

    • WSB February 13, 2015 (8:30 am)

      They are not in cars so much as on bikes, plainclothes, etc. since most of this has happened in places where cars won’t do you much good. Re: TV, since this was on SPD Blotter yesterday (same SPD info we had reported at the end of our Wednesday report) and nothing much else is happening outside the city, that’s the big story this morning for a few. – TR
      (Edit – 8:41 am, scanner discussion indicates police are converging on a particular area near Westwood Village to check out some possible suspicious people – maybe a burglary attempt – and it’s clear from the locations mentioned that at least a half-dozen were in the vicinity already.)

  • Anonymous February 13, 2015 (4:34 pm)

    Yeah we’ve seen the police on bicycles every morning this week around 7ish on 25th ave between the school and westwood.

  • Sealth Scholar February 14, 2015 (11:36 am)

    As a student at Chief Sealth I would just like to say how disheartening it is to read the comments on here by adults who are quibbling about the decision by our school to call us scholars.
    This article is about how we have been increasingly targeted and are in danger, and some adults are arguing about whether to call us students or scholars? 13 year olds have to walk to school every morning clutching their phone in their pocket and worrying they’ll be assaulted or molested and you’re ARGUING ABOUT A NOUN?

    I just want you to know that doesn’t bring much reassurance to us students who are worried about our safety at a time like this.

  • i'mcoveredinbees February 15, 2015 (9:33 pm)

    Well said, Sealth Scholar!

    I was thinking the same thing.

    If the Sealth scholars need escorts to walk to school, I would be happy to volunteer. Or maybe the school could help organize clusters of students, by area. Other ideas? This is ridiculous and I am so sorry for all the students who have to deal with this. Totally unfair and unnecessary. We need to protect our kids!

Sorry, comment time is over.