Block Watch?

The recent spate of posts and comments on car prowls and the like fired us up to do something about it, so we reached out to Diane Horswill, Wallingford resident and Seattle Police Dept Crime Prevention Coordinator to ask for advice. She has been the one kindly collecting crime data for the Wallingford eNews, so she seemed like a good place to start.

Diane was able to provide some additional statistics on car prowls in our area:

I looked at the time period 2/15-3/25 and found a total of 20 in the area from I-5 to Stone and from Lake Union to 50th.  Five of those were in the vicinity of Gas Works including:

3600blk Meridian, 3600blk Stone, 3900blk Ashworth, 3600blk Carr Pl, 3800blk Woodlawn
When I added in the area between Stone and Aurora from Lake Union to 50th there were an additional 14 reports, so, it looks like that is the area that had been hit the hardest.

As for what to do about it, don’t get your hopes up, people.

The document we were sent, Preventing Car Prowl, is more depressing than helpful. Follow the link to read for yourself, or, for the lazy, we will summarize:

  • Thieves will break into your car and there’s nothing you can do about it
  • Your best bet is to remove every worldly possession you have from your vehicle
  • Even so, they’ll assume you’re hiding something under seat
  • It doesn’t matter how crappy your car is, they’ll still break in
  • They’re going to wreck your window and door

That completes our crime prevention lesson for the day.

On Diane’s advice, we also reached out to Lawrence Jackson ([email protected]), the Community Police Team officer for Wallingford. No response.

We tried Tim Durkan, the Seattle Dept of Neighborhoods rep, about the issue of the alcoholics coming over into Wallingford for their malt liquor. No response.

As you can tell, we’re feeling a little depressed about the whole civic thing.

However, if you’re feeling more hopeful than we are, Diane said she would help anyone interested set up a block watch for their area. You can contact her at [email protected]. She also reminded us to report car prowls via 911, because “part of the calculation used to determine how many officers to assign to an area is based on reported crime”.

We promise our next post will be cheery.

  1. Eimear said,

    What about reports on break in into premises?

    In a 12 month period we must have been broken at least 6 times – we are based on N Pacific St, lower Wallyhood..we wait for hours for any officer to come, only to find they can only help us if we basically hand them a high definition picture of the thief, a name & address of their abode. So what their role is I do not know – except to take a report of the incident. Don’t they problem solve or investigate at all? I’d love to hear from others about break ins…..

    Fri, April 3 at 7:57 am
  2. bmacke said,

    I’m in the 50th & Meridian area and there have been a lot more car prowls here in the past several months (most of which I don’t believe are reported to 911.) I have neighbors who have been victims, and judging by the amount of shattered glass around my block, I would say there are many more.

    Also, crime in general is up. A neighbor of mine has had items stolen from their front porch, as well as from their garage in recent weeks.

    I’ve seen pickup trucks full of “junk” circling and circling the neighborhoods slowly during the day. I believe they may be eying what they can steal next.

    Seattle Police (IMO) are quite useless when it comes to helping with any crime not involving murder. I’ve contacted SPD for assistance with noise ordinance violations, car vandalism, my parked car being totaled by a drunk driver, identity theft – just to name a few and each and every time I have been completely blown off by them. They say they are too busy to investigate any of these issues.

    So, I believe it would take a neighborhood watch program to make a difference.

    Fri, April 3 at 8:35 am
  3. Robb said,

    The police are basically useless. The only time I’ve ever seen a cop on our street was during 4th of July when they gave me shit for attempting to drive to my own house. Never have they responding for any of my car break-ins, screaming crackheads, or anything else for that matter. I suggest sitting watch on your front porch all night with a coffeemaker and a rifle.

    Snarkiness aside, how useful is a block watch at 3:30 in the morning?

    Fri, April 3 at 10:55 am
  4. Kerrizor said,

    Hey, did they ever catch the person who was trimming overhanging trees? The cops were all over THAT one 3 years ago..

    ..or the person who shot the dog with the hunting bow?

    ..or the insurance arson at the marina?

    Fri, April 3 at 11:39 am
  5. Kristi said,

    Thank you for looking into this. I was one of the recent prowl victims. I’m pretty sure I found my stolen GPS receiver on craigslist; it was obvious that the same person was selling several of them, and each one had a different story about why he was selling it. I e-mailed Officer Jackson and called him twice but he never returned my call.

    I did get a call from some other detective after I filled out a contact form online. When I asked if he could help me get it back, he recommended that I set up a meeting with the seller in a public place, tell him my unit was stolen and that I wanted to check the serial number, and then dial 911 — “90% of the time, they just run away.” Um, what about the other 10%? When I mentioned that this didn’t sound safe, he said: “Bring a guy with you.” Perfect! If I’m gonna get knifed by a crackhead thief, why not let a friend in on the action?

    The cops had a chance to question someone who may have been responsible for several break-ins/thefts, and they did nothing. Lame. And that document they sent? Yep, it’s depressing, all right. My GPS was hidden in a closed compartment, and nothing else was visible in the car. I park on the street, across from a streetlight and in front of my lighted porch.

    Nothing will “prevent” car prowls, except possibly the Seattle PD getting off their asses and actually trying to catch the losers who are doing it. Sounds like that won’t happen anytime soon.

    Sat, April 4 at 5:08 pm
  6. Wally Resident said,

    A speeding driver sideswiped my car and we got his license plate. An officer actually came out, took a report, and then said he couldn’t help.

    He had the license plate database IN HIS CAR that he could have pulled up. Wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t give it to me, or even call the owner of the other car.

    We pay these guys $70k-$100k salries and give them pensions.

    Tue, April 7 at 9:59 am
  7. Kristi said,

    Lawrence Jackson’s direct line is 684-4739. Just wanted to share that in case anyone else would like to try to get him on the phone.

    Fri, April 10 at 10:50 am
  8. Wallyhood said,

    Thanks Kristi. I called him and left a message. We’ll see.

    Tue, April 14 at 1:28 pm
  9. Smitch said,

    Wally Resident-

    In Venice, Los Angeles, I witnessed a drunk driver sideswipe (practically plow through) a parked car. I called LAPD non-emergency number, gave the license plate number, and they actually called me in to see if I could identify a driver based on mug shots– a month later, but still. And they said that the car owner’s insurance would have to pay for the damage either way, even if we couldn’t identify who was driving.

    So it doesn’t seem like there is a “judge” issue or an inability to look up drivers. Granted, LA is a much MUCH bigger city with much more money, but still.

    Thu, May 7 at 4:13 pm
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