I received a horrible e-mail from a Capitol Hill friend this past Sunday:
We were home upstairs, with the lights on. The door bell at our upper door (split level entry) rang a few times in quick succession, followed by a brief wait, and another few rings. We stayed quiet; discussing whether or not to see what was up.
Shortly thereafter, they tried to kick in our lower door and break the frame. This shook the front of the house and was very forceful. At this point I came downstairs while T—- phoned 911. I looked out the window and noticed there were two young gang members (confirmed later by police) standing on the sidewalk keeping watch. They were looking down the side of our property at the third man who was grabbing one of our patio blocks. This third man then came around to our lower door and began smashing the block against the window. I banged on the upper window and flicked the lights on and off to let them know they were being watched and we were home. They did not immediately respond to this, and tried again to break the window/door.
Eventually the three men quickly headed north on 18th and were approached by the police who then gave chase and were able to catch one. The police recognized the other two as part of the 23rd and Union Street gang…
I’ve lived in the same home in Wallingford for 16 years now, and I’ve certainly never seen anything like that. We’ve had the house broken into once, but not while we were home, and from the size of the footprints left, I’m guessing it was a school age miscreant. Wallingford, it seems, it free of gangs.
Car prowl is a different story. We live on 4th Ave NE, just a few blocks from the highway underpass and the U District, and I’ve had more car windows broken and car radios than I care to count. (It should indicate how long this has been going that I call them “car radios”.)
Still, they seem to come in waves, and it seems there’s another wave on us. Sassmo mentioned in a recent comment that the area around Bagley, 40th and Gasworks has had a few car prowls recently and I’ve seen more broken car windows in our immediate area in East Wallingford in the past month and a half than I have in the year prior.
The economy, of course, is quickly cited. It’s seems tough to get real statistics, and even the Seattle Times is left to offering a vague “there is a sense that the crime is on the rise in Seattle” in the stead of actual data. The Gray Lady does better, quoting sociologist Richard Rosenfeld “every recession since the late ’50s has been associated with an increase in crime and, in particular, property crime and robbery, which would be most responsive to changes in economic conditions.”
I’m one more for keeping my ear to the streets. I’m curious to hear if others in the neighborhood have the same impression.