Queen Anne burglaries and a reminder from SPD on crime prevention

Back in late October, a North Queen Anne reader’s home was not only burglarized, but she also came face-to-face with the burglar through her glass door. She was home alone at 7:15pm when her dog became agitated – turns out it was a burglar trying to open the door, which was locked. He walked away calmly, and she called 911.

This scary incident was magnified by three other burglaries at neighboring homes in the same time period. The reader who saw the burglar got a good look at him, thanks to a security light he triggered: a black male, possibly older,  with knit hat and scarf pulled up to his nose.

SPD responded to the burglary on North Queen Anne, and a K-9 unit tracked the burglar to the bus stop at Rodgers Park, where he likely left the neighborhood. The map below shows all burglaries on Queen Anne since mid-October (numbers indicate multiple burglaries in close proximity):

Burglaries Mid-Oct to Nov

While burglaries can’t always be prevented, these incidents are a sobering reminder of the upcoming holiday season, which is prime time for many criminals. Our Seattle Police Department Crime Prevention Coordinator has sent the following tips to help people and property safe during the holidays:

SPD Burglary Prevention:

Shipped packages and money/gift cards in the mail are popular targets for thieves. Being amongst crowds in shopping malls, downtown streets, the train station or airport provide would-be pickpockets a target-rich environment. Door-to-door solicitors may pick this time of year to collect for charities and yet we wonder if they are legitimate.

Travel light:  take only what you need when you are out.  Leave the heavy purse behind and clean out your wallet of unneeded credit cards, medical cards, etc.

Dress the part:  It feels darker now without our sunny Seattle skies, so make sure you can be seen by motorists. Are your shoes comfortable enough to allow you to move, kick, run if you had to. Long billowing scarves, umbrellas, certain kinds of hats can reduce the ability to see around you, or might give a mugger something by which to grab you. Leave the bling behind or under layers of clothing if you’ll be out walking around much.

Cell phones: “apple picking” is what some are calling the grabbing of iPhones and other electronic devices.  You may be asked by a stranger for the time, or if they can borrow your phone. Then boom, in a blink of an eye, they’re off and away with your device. While cell phones are a helpful safety device, street robbers love them so don’t flash them around. Be mindful when using them in public places.

What’s your location?” means being able to relay your location such as house number, business or street names, hundred block; intersections, landmarks, or mile markers. Make it a habit to know your location!  This is key when making calls to 9-1-1. Seconds matter in emergencies, help us get to you or the incident quicker. Stay on the line with the call taker until instructed to hang up.

If you will be out of town: please let your trusted neighbors know. Encourage them to keep an extra watch out for your home and let them know you want them to call 9-1-1 if something is suspicious. Enlist their help with picking up newspapers, checking for oversized mail, packages and those pesky flyers left on doorknobs. On our block, we pick up each others’ parcels that have been left on a porch for safekeeping. You want to make your home look occupied (lights and radio on timers; have someone park in your driveway, bring in your garbage can/recycling bins, etc.). Getting a house sitter can be helpful.  Watchful neighbors truly are your best alarm!

Car prowls:  Thieves target all makes and models of vehicles looking for GPS devices; cellular phones; cameras; purses; garbage remotes; jackets. I know some parents who keep their kids’ holiday gifts in the trunk. Not good! Also, I’ve read a few police reports where people pack up their car the night before heading out on a trip, only to find the car was prowled over night. Leave your car empty; disable internal trunk releases and be consistent with any theft-deterrent device like the “club” or audible alarm.

Warming up the car: Vehicles left running and unattended while the heater and defroster kick in may be just the opportunity the auto thief needed.

Stay safe during the holidays, as well as the rest of the year. Follow the above tips, and call 911 to report suspicious activity or crimes in progress.



Assault at Little Howe Park on Saturday night

Little Howe mapA reader wrote us this morning to let us know about an assault that occurred at 9:45pm last night (Saturday, March 14th) at Little Howe Park, aka East Queen Anne Playfield. A 19 year-old woman was assaulted in the northeast part of the park, near the basketball court.

The reader heard her screams, called 911, and assisted the victim. The SPD report has no narrative, only the basic facts (time, location, type of crime). We’ve contacted our West Precinct coordinator, and will update the post if we get any additional information.

Here’s the information from the Good Samaritan neighbor:

“At 9:45pm a 19 year old woman was assaulted by a fleeing black male screaming obscenities in Little Howe Park. Another white, young male showed up after the assault who was intending to be part of the meeting. After hearing screams, we called 911, QA Fire responded within about 5 minutes, SPD was there within 10 minutes. An ambulance responded as well. The woman was treated for her injuries. The park was completely unlit with overgrown hedges.

The police officer who came was from Pike and Pine, and reported that they are short-staffed tonight.  This appeared to be a drug deal gone wrong.”

While scary, this incident is also a reminder that our safe neighborhood can still be dangerous at night. Last year, another woman was mugged near the park while walking her dog at 10:30pm. Always be aware of your surroundings and don’t walk alone at night – especially through city Parks, which close at dusk for safety reasons.

Nearly 30 Queen Anne burglaries plus trespassing make up February’s crime stats

QA Crime WatchIn the past few weeks, we’ve had several readers write in with their own personal experiences with crime – and not just car prowls. We get a lot of car prowl reports, so they often don’t make the blog. Those crimes are a nightly occurrence.

However, these two separate incidents are a bit more alarming – an attempted daylight break-in and a suspicious person (with warrants) sleeping in a resident’s car.

The descriptions from the readers are below – if you see someone matching the description of the suspicious person, call 911. And, be sure to lock your car doors…  and check the back seat of your vehicles.

First up – attempted break-in on 10th Ave West on 19 February, reported by two different readers:

10th Ave W burglary: We had a daylight prowler this morning. One of our neighbors questioned the man, but he continued on and tried to break into our back neighbor’s house while she was home. This is how our neighbor described the man:

White male, baggy black pants, white shirt,  black hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. Purple baseball cap with a flat brim and silver/white lettering or graphics. Reddish-blonde hair with facial hair. Country accent.

Next up – suspicious person in back seat of resident’s car near Trader Joe’s on 22 February:

Resident noticed movement in his car, parked in an alley behind the home and unlocked, and realized there was a person inside of our car. Called SPD and responding found man was sleeping, in a sleeping bag, in the back of the hatchback. He was arrested for trespassing and had a prior warrant.

February 2015 QA BurglariesAnd finally, here’s a brief round-up from SPD reports on residential burglary crimes in February. There were a total of 28 burglaries on Queen Anne in February, including a few commercial burglaries.

Not all 28 burglaries are listed, only ones with additional information in SPD reports (not all crimes have narrative reports).

Text has been edited for ease of reading – and key to note are the items taken. Jewelry and change (including piggy banks) are top targets. It’s worth noting that several reports called out that laptops and electronics were not taken.

11 February 2015: 24XX Queen Anne Ave N. First floor window was broken. Missing items include a laptop computer, cameras and camera lenses, and several pieces of jewelry. The next-door neighbor, arrived at the scene and said she had found her back door open when she returned home the afternoon of 10 February. The door had been closed and locked, and the presence of her two large dogs in the home may have deterred a burglary from occurring.

14 February 2015: 15 1st Ave W. Victim returned home to find the front door had been forced open and items had been scattered around all over the house. The only items taken were several pieces of jewelry. The house shares a backyard with another home that appeared to have been broken into (see below).

14 February 2015: 15 1st Ave W (related to above) When victim arrived home he found the kitchen window open, lights on, and the burner on the stove was on and a cabinet was open. Three laptop computers were taken, two gold rings, a men’s gold wristwatch, loose change, a duffle bag, a black backpack, a Timbuktu messenger bag, and a few bottles of liquor.

17 February 2015: 1X Dravus St. Victim had been out of town for 4 days, when she returned home she discovered that a road bike, several pieces of jewelry, and an iPod Nano were missing. There was no sign of forced entry so believes that the back sliding-door may have been unlocked at the time.

20 February 2015: X W Mercer Pl. Victims left to get coffee at 9:30am and returned at 10:30am and found damage to their front door consistent with someone using their shoulder to try and force entry. Victims suspect someone observed them leave then tried to break into their house, but when their two dogs barked, the suspects left. SPD report cites the victims’ frustration with repeat crime and plans to move to the Eastside.

20-21 February 2015: 1X Hayes St. Victims discovered the rear kitchen window was removed and home ransacked. Computer tablets, equipment, and other valuable electronic items remained. Jewelry was missing and currency stolen. Five unloaded firearms were stolen.

21 February 2015: 1000 block of W Galer St: Victims left their residence at approximately 5:30pm and returned at midnight. Noticed doors to his closet and dresser were open and called 911. Rings, braclets, and four underarm deodorants were taken.

23 February 2015: 3400 block of 12th Ave. W – two burglaries of neighboring homes, sometime between February 9th and February 23:

  • Home #1: suspect(s) entered the house by prying the patio door open with some sort of pry tool. They went though several of the rooms taking jewelry and cash from kids’ piggy bank and money jars. Total loss of the jewelry and cash is over $2,000.00.
  • Home #2: suspect(s) had pried open a small rear kitchen window located on the deck next to the large sliding glass doors. The suspect gained access inside and ransacked his office and bedroom. The suspect had stolen a large Smirnoff bottle that contained about $300.00 in change. Jewelry was sorted – some taken, some not.

28 February 2015: burglary at 1900 block of 10th Ave W. Victim left at 12:40pm with doors secured; he returned an hour later and discovered someone had entered and stolen an estimated amount of $20,000 in jewelry, a sterling silver silverware set, and his wife’s purse containing credit cards. The door into the building had to be opened with a key and had a protective latch plate running the length of the door’s opening crack. According to SPD, Suspect(s) may have followed someone in.

Inaugural QACC Public Safety meeting this Monday focuses on crime prevention

QA Crime WatchThe Queen Anne Community Council has a new committee focused on public safety, including crime prevention and traffic safety. It’s kicking off its first monthly meeting this Monday, February 23rd, at Queen Anne Manor (100 Crockett St). The meeting runs from 7pm to 8:30pm and all residents are welcome to attend.

The kickoff meeting will focus on SPD’s Block Watch Program. Going forward, the Public Safety Committee will meet the fourth Thursday of each month. If you’re interested in preventing crime or keeping our streets safe, attend Monday’s meeting to find out more.

Here’s the agenda for Monday:

7:00pm – Sign in and introductions

7:05pm – 2014 Queen Anne crime and traffic safety review by SPD Officer Dave Larrabee

7:30pm – Block Watch Program overview by Terrie Johnston, SPD Crime Prevention Coordinator

8:00pm – Block Watch Captains’ Roundtable – lessons learned and best practices

8:30pm – Adjourn

If you’re interested in learning more about this new QACC committee, the SPD Block Watch Program, or crime prevention tips, mark your calendar for this Monday night.

Woman fights off attacker Friday night near Queen Anne Ave N & Aloha

QA Crime WatchWe received a reader tip about a woman who was attacked at 6pm this past Friday, December 5th. The SPD report hit the map with the time (6pm) and location (Aloha & Queen Anne Ave N) of the incident.

For those not aware, many SPD reports are often brief and cover only the basics on the crime. The reports with narratives are more insightful as they provide details on what happened and any witness accounts.

In lieu of a narrative from SPD, here’s the account from the victim’s neighbor:

“My neighbor was heading from our shared parking lot to our shared downstairs laundry area (accessible from the backside of our complex), and a man came up from the bushes behind her (accessible from Aloha and between Queen Anne Ave N & 1st Ave W), put his arms around her head and waist. She fought her way free, and he held his finger up to his mouth in a “shh” gesture.

She started yelling at him, and chased him across Queen Anne Ave N and Aloha, where he ran into a wooden-fenced garbage disposal area. The victim called police, and they found the man hiding in the garbage collection area.

He was arrested after being positively identified by the witness, and assault charges are pending.”

A few things of note: the assault occurred at 6pm (it may be dark at 6pm, but it’s not late at night, the victim was able to fight her attacker off and reported it right away, and the attacker was caught and arrested by SPD. Stay aware of your surroundings and call 911 if your see suspicious activity or a crime in progress.

Washington is now #1 in property crime

QA Crime WatchWe probably could have guessed this statistic, but now we have data from the FBI that proves it. Washington leads the nation in property crime.

According to a Seattle Times article:

“Property crime elsewhere in the country dropped, but new FBI crime statistics show that Washington leapt from third in 2012 to first in 2013 thanks in part to a 6 percent jump in car thefts. The trend demands changes on the ground and in state sentencing policy.”

You can read the full article here. If you experience property crime of any time, be sure to report it to SPD. For many crimes such as car prowls and thefts of items valued below $500, you can report them online.

As a victim of property crime overnight last night, I can attest that the online reporting tool isn’t the most user-friendly – but persevere so our Queen Anne stats can hit the database… even if there’s not much being done about them (yet?).

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