@ West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network: Protecting property

WSB crime feed -

What can you do to try to prevent/deter someone from stealing from you? An informal discussion with SPD was the spotlighted topic as the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met last night at the Southwest Precinct.

Neighborhoods represented – according to around-the-room self-introductions – included North Delridge, Fauntleroy, Highland Park, North Admiral, High Point, Gatewood, Top Hat, South Delridge, Arbor Heights, Sunrise Heights, and Alki. District 1 City Council candidate Phillip Tavel also was in attendance.*

PREVENTING/DETERRING PROPERTY CRIME: Officer Erin Nicholson (WSB photo at right), who joined the Community Police Team recently, gave topline advice that just can’t be offered too often. Make sure “your house is visible – (that) there aren’t really hiding spots in the yard,” she said, adding that lighting is important, including on alleys, “because that’s where a lot of the crime is really focused these days.” While deadbolt docks on doors and dowels for windows aren’t foolproof, they’re better than going without, she added. In case you do get victimized, keep a list of serial numbers for your valuables – better yet, have them engraved (remember, the precinct has equipment you can borrow for this). If you’re traveling, the precinct does keep a “watch list” when people report they’ll be gone for a while, so that if things get slow, they can go by – file a “request to watch,” she said. Even if you don’t have a formal alarm system, hardware stores sell devices that will “make a lot of noise” and draw attention, she noted. Windows on doors might “look nice” but are a “huge, huge invitation to criminals to break in” and turn the deadbolt. A substance to make glass shatterproof was mentioned by two attendees.

Jewelry is popular with burglars/thieves, said the officer, and its sentimental value to you far outstrips its nominal value to them – and it is seldom recovered, so if it matters to you, find a way, such as a safe or safety-deposit box, to keep it “very, very safe.” Most burglars make a beeline for the master bedroom, as that’s where they’ll typically find those types of valuables, she said.

For those wondering about motivation, she told the story of asking a juvenile burglary suspect once why he did it. She said he replied that he needed money and figured the homeowners had insurance “and would get everything back.” She subsequently explained to him about deductibles and the rest of the hassle that would ensue.

The discussion meandered to what it takes to get a search warrant, if you believe that stolen property is at a certain location, for example (it started with discussion of someone whose relative got a stolen iPhone back). Officer Nicholson described the issue of officers waiting around until they get a warrant, and said department policy is continuing to evolve regarding how to handle cases in which stolen electronics emit locator signals.

OTHER QUESTIONS/ISSUES: Participants warned each other about phone scams. Officer Nicholson mentioned the scams such as callers claiming to be relatives or friends who are in trouble overseas – noting that the scammers tend to find personal details about you online, and exploit that. Warnings were also shared about not letting strangers into your house.

PROTEST POSTMORTEM: In the first 15 minutes of the meeting, those in attendance talked about the disrupted-and-ended-early February 3rd meeting with SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole (WSB coverage here), which the Block Watch Captains’ Network co-presented. It was explained again that the protesters weren’t removed because what they did was as legal as what those participating in the meeting were doing. A counterprotest might be an effective tactic, it was suggested, if the chief returned and this happened again.

FUTURE TOPICS: Founders Deb Greer and Karen Berge asked for suggestions of future meeting topics beyond the ones they’ve presented several times each. Suggestions included the “buy extra police for your neighborhood” movement and a closer look at juvenile crime (one attendee recalled the spate of very young burglary suspects arrested a little over a year ago), as well as, if you have a particular kind of problem, how do you know who in SPD to take it to – the Community Police Team, or a special detective team, or … ? Officer Nicholson from the CPT explained that one way situations filter through is that if patrol is called repeatedly to a particular address, they might refer it to the CPT.

*As campaign season continues, we’ll be noting candidate sightings at community meetings we cover. If the candidate(s) in attendance are officially on the agenda (not the case tonight), we will cover what they tell the group.

The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets fourth Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, at the precinct, 2300 SW Webster, and is online at

West Seattle Crime Watch: Looking for hit-run driver

WSB crime feed -

Quick West Seattle Crime Watch reader report tonight – the search for a driver who hit a bicycle rider and took off:

Heading north on 35th SW, just north of SW Findlay at approx. 6:15 am. Driver took off in a black automobile of unknown model & make. Passenger side view mirror torn off during collision into bicycle and rider. If anyone witnessed this incident or has any information about the driver, please contact police.

Here’s the incident number to mention if you contact police with a tip – 15-62400. The person who e-mailed is the bicycle rider’s wife; no major injuries, she says, but he was hurt and had to be seen at urgent care.

Burglar Flees On Bike, Leads Police Right to Suspected South Park Chop Shop

SPD WS Precinct -

A burglar who tried to make his getaway on a bicycle in the South Park neighborhood Saturday afternoon led officers right to a half-dozen stripped down stolen cars and a suspected chop shop.

Police received a report around 3:15 PM that two men had smashed their way into a garage in the 1000 block of S. Donovan Street and fled. Officers arrived at the home and learned one suspect had fled on foot, while the other had pedaled away on an orange bike.

Officers caught the first man on foot and followed the bicycling burglar as he ran into the yard of a home in the 1200 block of S. Cloverdale. When police caught up with the second suspect, he no longer had the bike with him.

When police went looking for the bike in the secluded backyard of the home, they came across the disassembled shells of a half-dozen cars, primarily 1990s Hondas. Police discovered discovered the cars were missing their license plates and engines, and found the vehicles had all been stolen from Queen Anne, Ballard, Federal Way and Tacoma.

Major Crimes Task Force detectives joined the investigation at the home, where officers also seized two tow trucks. SPD evidence specialists also recovered a number of fingerprints from the stolen cars, and have identified a possible suspect connected with the chop shop.

Detectives interviewed the two burglary suspects and continue to investigate the suspected chop shop.

Join us this evening as we focus on ways to deter property crime!

WS Blockwatch -

Our monthly meeting is today, Tuesday, February 24th.


What can you do to help prevent property crimes?  Why do thieves take even inexpensive items from your yard, vehicle or garage? Community Police Team officer, Erin Nicholson will discuss prevention and answer your questions about these types of ‘quality of life’ crimes.

SW Precinct Commander, Captain Steve Wilske will provide updates on crime and issues happening in the SW Precinct.

Please join us to suggest, review and/or learn tips and techniques that will make your property and your vehicles less-desirable targets for criminals.

Meeting schedule (come early, stay late!)

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015, 6:30-8 PM

SW Police Precinct, 2300 SW Webster Street (at Delridge Ave SW, next to Home Depot)

6:00-6:30        Arrive early for light snacks; socialize and network while we set up!

6:30-7:00        Introductions, announcements. Updates from Captain Steve Wilske.

7:00-8:00        Deterring property crime – with SPD Officer, Erin Nicholson.

8:00-8:30        Feel free to stay after the meeting to continue your discussions.

Everyone is welcome, even if you aren’t a Block Watch Captain!  RSVP is appreciated, but not necessary to attend.  You can email us at or phone us at 206-424-0040.

Hope to see you there!

Deborah Greer and Karen Berge
West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network (WSBWCN)


West Seattle Crime Watch: Case of the non-starter; stolen car found

WSB crime feed -

Two car crimes start West Seattle Crime Watch today:

NON-STARTER: The photo is from “astounded & fuming“:

I live in the 5600 block of California ave SW and sometime between 6 pm and 8 pm Sunday evening someone broke into my Honda Civic, popped the hood and unbolted my distributor assembly, and stole it out of my car, which was parked in alley parking behind my building. It explains why my car wouldn’t start this morning!

STOLEN CAMARO FOUND: Just as we were about to publish a reader report about a stolen Camaro, we heard scanner traffic suggesting police were getting alerts to its whereabouts via the LoJack system. Shortly thereafter, police found it parked/ditched in High Point, not far from where it had been stolen overnight.

FROM THE ‘IN CASE YOU WONDERED’ FILE: Big but brief police response drew some attention this afternoon at Fauntleroy/35th/Avalon, even a few passes from a TV helicopter. Over before we arrived, so we asked SPD media relations: Officers thought they had spotted the suspect in a robbery outside West Seattle last week. But it wasn’t the person they were looking for.

BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS TOMORROW NIGHT: Next chance to hear from and talk with local police comes as part of tomorrow night’s monthly meeting of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network. This agenda preview just arrived:

What can you do to help prevent property crimes? Why are thieves taking even inexpensive items from your yard or garage? CPT officer Erin Nicholson will be there to talk about prevention and answer your questions about these types of crimes that you can pass on to your Block Watch Groups.

SW Precinct commander Captain Steve Wilske will provide an update on recent events in West Seattle and South Park.

Please join us to review and/or learn tips and techniques that will make your home and property less-desirable targets for criminals.
The meeting’s at 6:30 pm Tuesday at the precinct (Webster/Delridge), all welcome.