By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
At a time of year when neighbors should be getting together for something fun like a block party, a gathering tonight at one South Delridge house was sparked by a series of burglaries.
So they gathered with pizza – and police.
More than two dozen people crowded into a bungalow living room on 13th SW a short distance north of Roxbury to hear from, and get answers from, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis.
Within the span of just a few blocks, since Sunday morning, four burglaries have been reported to police, he confirmed, while neighbors wondered if there might have been at least one more. (Our previous report on them is here.) In at least two cases, the burglar’s description was the same – a 6’2″, 220-pound black man who turned up in the house in the middle of the night, “young” but at least 25, clean-shaven, a gap in his op teeth, a “soothing” voice.
No one’s been hurt physically, but the experience was terrifying.
Capt. Davis promised more police presence; he said the night shifts are on orders to do “emphasis patrols” in the area. That doesn’t mean you can expect to see police just parked there – but they’ll frequently be in the area.
Should neighbors go out and walk around on patrols of their own? he was asked.
Davis said he wouldn’t recommend that – “arbitrarily putting yourself in harm’s way is not good.” He did recommend that neighbors stay in close touch with each other, Block Watch-style; they already do, he was assured (a major reason for the crowd in the organizer’s living room), including via their own e-mail list.
One resident said she’s leaving her lights on all night. The captain suggested contacting Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a home assessment that would lead to suggestions of other ways to beef up security.
What if your landlord doesn’t want to make the changes? “We can strongly recommend that they do,” Davis replied.
The neighbors’ questions continued. Would the burglar come back to the same house? “We’re not sure what this individual wants,” Davis said. One victim said he seemed lonely – seemed to be “looking for love.”
Some wondered if he lives in the area – there’s a “halfway house” nearby, neighbors noted; one said she had contacted people there but no leads so far.
A burglary detective is on the case and will be talking with each victim, Davis reassured the neighbors.
With the city-county line so close by, are police talking to the King County Sheriff’s Office? Yes.
Will police talk with neighbors beyond those who have reported the crimes, just in case somebody saw something? Yes.
Has anything like this happened in any other West Seattle neighborhood? No.
In one case, the burglar bled from broken window glass, so that’s providing evidence that police can test, though Capt. Davis wasn’t certain how soon results would be available. Neighbors’ vigilance is the best way to help with the investigation, he said – “if you see something, say something … so we can get this individual off the street.”