Auto-theft spike, what happens to stolen cars, and more @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network

The only monthly meeting with coffee and home-baked treats (pumpkin crumble this time) is now on hiatus until the new year. Here’s what happened when the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met Tuesday night at the Southwest Precinct:

CRIME UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis said auto theft remains a big issue. We noticed that earlier in the day, looking at the slides from the most recent downtown SeaStat intradepartmental briefing (MVT = motor-vehicle theft):

(We had asked Operations Lt. Steve Strand pre-meeting if SPD had identified any particular reasons the SW Precinct area – West Seattle and South Park – is particularly hard-hit. Short answer, no.)

Davis also gave kudos to watchful community members doing what they can to “keep the criminal element at bay.” He stressed that reporting crimes is vital. Getting reports from community members allows them to track what’s happening “and see where our issues are.” Without that, they might be devoting resources somewhere they’re needed less than what’s really going on. Also: Lock your stuff up. “West Seattle is unfortunately a target-rich environment” for those seeking to prey on people who don’t. They are continuing to work with prosecutors and city attorneys to do their best to ensure that repeat offenders get the time they’re entitled to. Overall crime is up 3 percent from last year – a year that was 9 percent below the year before – but they’re hopeful of bringing it down even further before year’s end.

COMMUNITY Q&A: Small turnout but still some questions. First one: What do thieves do with stolen cars? If it’s a specialty-type car, they’ll “part it out,” said Davis. If not, they’ll use it to get from point A to point B. One prolific thief could steal 10 to 20 cars a week! So when police can “take a certain person off the grid,” numbers can drop dramatically. “Are there chop shops in King County?” followed up the attendee. “A few,” said Davis, but the use of stolen cars to get around for burglaries, car prowls, etc., is far more common.

Another person brought up the new West Seattle Junction Business Block Watch (noted here last week). “Great stuff,” said Capt. Davis.

He also reminded everyone that Saturday is Drug Take-Back Day (10 am-2 pm, bring your unneeded medication to the precinct at 2300 SW Webster).

PACKAGE THEFT: WSBWCN co-founder/leader Deb Greer told the story of a prowler who had been accessing neighbors’ property via alley, masquerading as a utility worker, stealing items – a major point is that thieves don’t limit themselves to your front porch. She also advocated using the online tools available to track deliveries closely so you can even stop packages from being delivered when you’re not there to pick them up – ask the delivery company to deliver it later, to deliver it to a neighbor, give a neighbor a heads-up to watch for your package and go get it, etc. Co-founder/leader Karen Berge, who noted that their Block Watch has about 75 households, observed that the reality of package theft often doesn’t hit home until it happens to you, so she exhorted people to remind their friends, family, neighbors, and Block Watch members, even if it seems repetitive.

DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Laura Jenkins spoke about the department and its programs – including the grants for which people can apply, including the Your Voice Your Choice participatory-budgeting program. She also ran through a long list of online resources offered by DoN, including who to contact if you are looking for information about/help with something (Get Informed), how to offer input and learn about city boards and commissions (Get Engaged)

PUBLIC SAFETY SURVEY: Take it if you haven’t already – go here.

NEXT MEETING: Not until January – fourth Tuesdays thereafter, 6:30 pm at the precinct. Watch the WSBWCN website for updates in the meantime.

13 Replies to "Auto-theft spike, what happens to stolen cars, and more @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network"

  • Native October 26, 2018 (11:19 am)

    We were victims of home invasion twice and a stolen vehicle.
    The stolen vehicle was recovered in white center hours after being stolen and was used as a meth lab resulting in a total loss. The criminal was caught and arrested and had a previous record of 11’arrests and convictions. He was released the next day and arrested again for burglary and auto theft the following week .. 2 more home invasions and a car theft .. again released. The last home invasion 2 weeks ago was in progress and a 911 call was not responded to formover 25 min.
    The criminals came and went.
    I sense that our police, handcufffed to do what is needed, have little interest in crimes against property due to a poor judicial that releases repeat offenders.

    • Findlay October 26, 2018 (1:29 pm)

      Sorry to read about this sad tale of law enforcement #fail

      I wish we could vote out the politicians that set the tone for our policing. But alas, if you aren’t lockstep with the progressive party views, you are demonized and I can tell by this year’s ballot that people are even trying to compete. Hope the Seattle voters “Rise-Up” someday.

      • Native October 26, 2018 (7:15 pm)

        You are right on. Our politicians … specifically our city council has enabled the criminal element to the extent they have no fear. They have handcuffed our police. The key council members who continue to undermine our city are our Herbold … O’Brien and Sawant.
        The rest are near as bad and the continued impact of socialism on our council is bringing our city to its knees .
        Now and up to term end in February we need to step up and stop the anarchy.

    • bolo October 26, 2018 (6:24 pm)

      Wow! Vehicle recovered within hours was already turned into a meth lab? Seems fast.
      Anyway, sorry for your situation, knowing that meth labs are often termed “toxic sites” requiring extensive expensive remediation.

  • Alex S. October 26, 2018 (2:08 pm)

    Auto theft remains a big issue, because repeat offenders are routinely returned to the street by clueless judges and useless prosecutors. No consequences means more crime. Take the case of perpetual car thief Craig R. Crisler who was featured in WSB last April.

    This hopeless addict got out of jail via drug court two weeks ago, and has already been re-booked into jail. For stealing ANOTHER car. That is eight arrests in the past 12 months.

    Our taxes keep going up to pay for less protection from criminals. And our insurance premiums keep rising to subsidize the depraved lifestyles of useless tweakers and junkies we are somehow supposed to feel sorry for.

    Enabling drug addicts does not help them. It helps kill them. And it makes society pay a heavy price along the way to their inevitable demise.

  • Super Dummy October 26, 2018 (2:15 pm)

    I have a theft proof car. It’s a yellow Pontiac Aztek

    • Swede. October 26, 2018 (5:12 pm)

      Those don’t top many lists, of anything. Don’t go breaking bad now!

  • HS October 26, 2018 (3:10 pm)

    Wow! West Seattle is up by 29% – more than twice the other areas.

  • Honda Owner October 26, 2018 (3:14 pm)

    Taylor Scott Reese stole our Honda last November (dropping off another Honda in its place). Our car was damaged in a chase after Kent Police encountered him driving around a parking lot. Out of pocket costs to us: $800 for tow yard fees and repair. (Even though car was reported stolen, it was towed in the middle of the night which is a scam as tow yard fees are $$$$) .

    Needles and other drug related items were found scattered throughout the car. Items such as car seats were removed and taken.

    No point but just wanted to share the story and the name. He is likely still out there. And honestly for us it would’ve been better if he ditched the car somewhere on a street and we could’ve recovered it without it being towed or damaged in the police chase.

  • Rr October 26, 2018 (5:18 pm)

    I can believe the west seattle spike. Lived here for 15 years, experienced multiple prowls over the years but never had a car stolen , until this year. I got quite an education after the fact about these matters, the people committing these crimes need to do time, the odds that they’re doing these thefts as a one off before being set straight is laughable. There are career criminals amongst us, preying on our neighborhoods every single night.

  • John October 27, 2018 (2:01 pm)

    Those of you who are still Lisa Herbold supporters (hard to believe there are any at this point), just remember she is one of the council members refusing to sign the labor contract with the police when your car gets broken into or stolen. The increase in crime, homelessness, and illegal drugs in Seattle is a direct result of the policies of the city council.

    • WSB October 27, 2018 (2:32 pm)

      She has not taken a position – I checked this with her office when another commenter cited a “rumor” recently. No one on the council has, so far as I can find; the most recent citywide coverage cites their intent to review the contract before a vote in November.

  • East Coast Cynic October 27, 2018 (4:48 pm)

    I’m thinking off the bat — Hire more cops to patrol the most crime ridden neighborhoods because the SPD is shorthanded and overstretched. And hopefully, the city and the SPD finally consider a BAIT CAR program because the car theft problem in this city is getting ridiculous; As @Native said, a lot of hardship to go through to get your car back after it’s been stolen and found as well as for people who are sole proprietors and carpenters. Tougher sentencing — a Three cars and you’re out law. Life sentence after 3 car thefts.

Sorry, comment time is over.