Tag Archives: Crime Prevention

Package Theft Season is Upon Us

Package left by USPS carrier on top of mailboxes
Package left by USPS carrier on top of mailboxes

Package theft season is in high gear. What if I told you, “Hey, you’re responsible for making package theft a problem.” – Yeah, you wouldn’t believe me. But you (and that includes me) are contributing. Packages are stolen because they are left in the open on porches by package delivery companies or the packages are left on top of mailboxes.  Yes, I am aware it’s against the law to steal. If you don’t want something stolen, don’t leave it unlocked in the open. Blaming the victim isn’t a popular stance to take, but I can take the heat.

Package in plain view on porch
Package left unsecured on front porch by UPS

What is the risk of a package thief getting caught? In North Seattle, it’s pretty damn near zero. We beef and moan indignantly on NextDoor.com about the neighborhood going to hell, and this package and that package getting stolen. The overwhelming majority of those reports don’t get made to the police or the post office. Then there is the problem of the Seattle Police Department often won’t dispatch, giving a reason of “no officer available.” Add to that the SPD officer has to witness the package being removed from the porch, and you’re pretty much out of luck reporting the suspicious lady walking down the street weaving from house to house with shopping bags full of Amazon Prime festooned boxes. Even when a nearby jurisdiction North of here is busting druggies with rooms full of new stuff to fence, not a single person complaining about packages stolen from their porches will heed the call on NextDoor.com to come forward and work with the police to ID their stuff. Dang! I guess we really are enabling this behavior on the part of the criminals.

Here’s a radical idea: STOP getting stuff shipped to your home. That’s right, I said STOP. Hey it’s not that tough. Here are some ideas for doing just that:

  • Shop Local – those neighborhood businesses that invest in our community, hire our kids and us, are aching for our business. Jeff Bezos’ business will survive, but the local shop may not unless we support them with our dollars.
  • UPS, FedEx and others have the ability to hold packages for pickup. Sometimes there is a charge, sometimes you have to create an account.
  • Ship the packages to a local shipping business like Sip and Ship or The Mailbox Ballard, or ….  Again these guys are local businesses investing in our neighborhood ….
  • Have packages shipped to your work instead of your home if that is allowed.
  • Have packages shipped to a neighbor who is home.
  • If you must patronize Jeff Bezos’ business, make use of the package lockers they provide for FREE.
  • Alert your neighbors if you have not heeded any of the earlier suggestions and you must be away from home. Make sure to reward them handsomely with drinks and goodies for their efforts on your behalf.

These ideas don’t help with the priceless family heirloom that gets sent unexpectedly from Great Aunt Mergatroid in Beulah ND, but will go a long ways. If there is less valuable stuff unsecured on front porches, the thieves won’t be able to sustain their habits and they’ll go elsewhere.

Does it do any good to call the police? You get the most likelihood of a dispatched officer for a crime in progress reported to 911. The dispatcher will decide whether to send an officer or not. Property crimes aren’t that high on the list, so they will not get much attention. Calling 911 is the sure-fire way to get the crime entered into the SPD’s computers. Seeing suspicious activity and calling the non-emergency line has an extremely low likelihood of a response. Posting on NextDoor.com is great, but ONLY after you have made the call to the police – that lets us all know to be observant. If you get the text your package was delivered, and it’s gone by the time you’re home, then file an online police report of the theft. If you have keen observations about the patterns of thefts, maybe call the precinct, and see if you can speak to your community police team officer or a detective.

Does it do any good to install a surveillance camera? It might help the police to identify a previously known person. It might help neighbors be on the lookout for an easily identifiable person. I qualified that with “might” because most of the thieves are onto the cameras and are hiding their faces as they approach porches.

Finally, a bit of perspective, almost all cyber vendors factor in porch pilferage into the cost of doing business, and happily replace pilfered items. It’s just stuff and in the bigger scale of things, not all that important.

New Crime Prevention Specialist in the North Precinct, Night Out Seattle 2014

Welcome aboard Elizabeth Scott, the SPD North Precinct’s new Crime Prevention Specialist. We received this e-mail yesterday.

Dear Community Friends,

As you now know, I was recently hired as the Crime Prevention Coordinator for all of North Seattle. My predecessor, Terrie Johnston will now be covering both the East and West Precincts.  Many of you have reached out to me welcoming me to my new job; I certainly do feel welcomed so THANK YOU!!!

The 30th Annual Night Out Against Crime is approaching, taking place on TUESDAY, AUGUST 5th, 2014. The registration link for Night Out, 2014 is now active. Please go to: http://www.seattle.gov/police/nightout/default.htm

Night Out is a national Crime Prevention event. It is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

Seattle has had a long history of supporting Night Out. The program has been growing every year, with over 1,400 neighborhoods participating in 2013. It’s fun, free and offers a great opportunity to reconnect with your neighbors, share information with one another all while learning more about crime prevention. You do not need to be in an active Block Watch to hold a Night Out event.  However, if you would like to form a block watch, please indicate that on your registration (we have a check box for that). 

Within the Night Out registration form, blocks are given the opportunity to close down the street. Please remember, in order to legally close the street a permit must be completed.

We look forward to seeing you at Night Out, 2014.

Regards,

Elizabeth Scott

 

 Seattle Police Department
10049 College Way N.

Seattle, WA 98133
Phone: 206-684-7711
Elizabeth.scott@seattle.gov

Personal Safety Warning from Seattle Police Department

Received today from Terrie Johnston at Seattle Police Dept:

Dear Block Captains/Contacts:

We wanted to notify you that there have been three separate sexually-motivated attacks on women across the North Precinct. The descriptions of the suspect vary, as does neighborhood, time of day and day of the week. The common threads have been that the women were either walking or running by themselves, and were approached by an unknown male. Two of the incidents occurred next to wooded areas. SPD Patrol officers and Detectives are doing all they can to identify and apprehend the suspect(s). I will keep you informed of our progress. In the meantime, please review these personal safety tips:

  • Awareness and avoidance: Keep alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
  • Do you know your location? Do you know the street names, hundred block? East, South, West, North? Could you tell the 9-1-1 call taker to where they need to dispatch responders?
  • Trust your instincts! If you have an uncomfortable feeling-honor it! Leave, cross the street, double-back. Forget “being nice”. If you feel uncomfortable, move! Don’t hesitate to make a scene or scream if necessary.
  • Try to get good descriptions of anyone acting suspiciously or threatening. Start from the head and work down. Most likely you know your height, so use this to gauge theirs.
  • Try and stay on streets where you can be easily seen by others. Well-lighted streets are best.
  • If traveling alone, take a charged up cell phone with you if possible. Know what is available to you along your route. What time does that store open or close? Does that apt.bldg. have a security guard? Is there a payphone?
  • Ipod earphones, etc. may prevent you from hearing someone approaching. As does texting while you are walking, waiting for the bus, etc. You need to be aware when out if public spaces.
  • Traveling with another person, is tried and true in reducing street crime. Going with two others reduces the risk even more.
  • Carrying a minimum amount of possessions is advised when out and about. It isn’t necessary to carry all your credit cards, check book, cash, and so on, every time you go out. Take what you need for this trip. Keep valuables close to the body, in inside pockets. This frees up your hands and does not invite pickpocketing.
  • Body Language: Stand tall, walk confidently with your head up, eyes open and constantly scanning the surroundings.
  • Try not to show fear. Keep a neutral face that shows you are “in charge”.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the street. Shoes that are comfortable and allow you to run if necessary. Choose clothing that allows you to move, and does not block your vision.

And as always, please call 9-1-1 for anything suspicious or to report a crime in progress.

Do not hesitate to call me at the North Precinct if you need more. Also, please check our website for more info.http://www.seattle.gov/police
Thanks for sharing this information with others on your distribution list.

Terrie Johnston
Seattle Police Crime Prevention
206-684-7711

Break-ins in the Neighborhood

Monday and today we’ve had a few break-ins and thefts of houses in Crown Hill. The first burglaries were Monday, near 12th and 90th:

We had a break in yesterday. They climbed in the second story window and stole our tv as well as my jewelry. They also broke into our neighbors house and stole her jewelry.

This morning another residential burglary near 13th and 95th:

It looks like they were watching the house because they broke in right after we left this morning.  They shimmied open a window on the side of the house and got in that way, but then set off the alarm when they opened the patio door to get things out.  They stole our 42″ plasma TV and had some other things stuffed into bags, but left the bags behind (probably because they were not expecting the alarm to go off).  We’re going through the house now to see if anything else is missing.

 We did call the police and filed a report with them, and we’re adding more sensors to our windows so that the alarm will go off if a window is tampered with.  There shouldn’t have been any cars other than ours […] in our driveway this morning ….
Here are some tips to get everybody into security mode:
  1. Terrie Johnston is the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Coordinator for the North Precinct. I don’t know for sure how much longer she will be there. She sends out updates probably once a month. She can come to a block watch organization meeting, and she has done security checkups for both homes and businesses. terrie.johnston@seattle.gov or 206-684-7711.
  2. Probably good to have a quick meeting in someone’s back yard. Start exchanging phone nos, getting to know everyone.
  3. Report all suspicious activity when it is happening. Report it to 911. The 911 operators will triage the calls and dispatch an officer if one is available. Far better than voice mail at the non-emergency number. Per Terrie Johnston and Scott McGlashan presentations, if you are not sure if something is suspicious, it is suspicious.
  4. Secure windows and doors
  5. Lights on for porches.
  6. Motion sensing lights
  7. Keep ladders locked up
  8. If door knock is heard, always respond verbally (but don’t open door if you don’t know / expect). If person runs away, or otherwise odd, call 911
  9. Last I heard security cams were a mixed blessing in that they might be a target of theft, but see this thread on MyBallard forum for a different perspective. SPD caught the burglar based on the evidence provided by the video: http://www.myballard.com/forum/topic.php?id=14239

In terms of recovering from the theft:

  1. If house or car keys or garage door remotes are missing, the burglar(s) may be back. Beware and take appropriate action if any of these are missing.

Latest Neighborhood Crime Prevention Information

This just received from Terrie Johnston, Neighborhood Crime Prevention Coordinator, SPD North Precinct:

Dear Block Captains and Contacts:  SPD and SFD want to remind you that fireworks are illegal in the City of Seattle.  The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited.  Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.  Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them.  Every year the Seattle Fire Department responds to fireworks-related fires and injuries.  The holiday related fires and injuries are preventable.

Our 9-1-1 center becomes overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls on the 4th of July.  For this day only, DO NOT call 9-1-1 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics.  If you know me or my work, you know that it is my constant endeavor to encourage the public to use 9-1-1 to report suspicious circumstances, in addition to reporting crime.  HOWEVER,  my message applies to all days of the year except July 4th.  This is the busiest day of the year for our Call Center. Reports of fireworks; barking dogs; drunken parties; gunshots fired; boating mishaps;  burns, noise complaints, etc. are commonplace during this holiday.  Delays in dispatch are a reality. If possible use the 625-5011 line to report any fireworks violations.

Our car prowl reports continue, and may even increase in numbers during the summer.  I’ve attached a tip sheet for preventing car prowls, which I hope you will find helpful.  I’ve seen reports of car prowls around Carkeek Park and Greenlake, and pretty much throughout the other North Precinct neighborhoods.  Here are some of the items reported stolen in a car prowl this month:  Cameras; clothing; wallets; ID; social security cards; cash; car keys; cell. phones; MP3 player, coins, laptops, suitcases, gym bags, power tools, loaded guns, GPS, catalytic converter, golf clubs  and a  passport.  Try to leave your car empty if possible, and park it in a garage or up in your driveway if you can.

National Night Out will be Tuesday, Aug. 7th this year.  Registration is up and running on our website, www.seattle.gov/police.  Hope you can participate this year.  I am here to help answer any questions you may have about Night Out, Block Watch, crime, etc. 

In an effort to keep you informed and in our constant endeavor to reduce future victimization, we want to let you know that two Level 3 Registered sex offenders have moved onto a block near your North Seattle neighborhood.

Douglas Carter, 46-year-old, black male, 6’3” 220 lbs.  has moved onto the 12000 block of Aurora Ave. N.

Kelly Swanson, 37-year-old, white male, 5’8” 190 lbs. has moved onto the 11000 block of Meridian Ave. N.

Det. Gordon is the detective responsible for verifying their addresses.  Neither of these offenders is under Department of Corrections supervision.  To learn more about these offenders, and for additional safety tips, please visit www.waspc.org and search by their names.  If you have any questions about these offenders, please contact Michelle McRae or Det. Gordon at 684-5581 of our Sex Offender Detail Unit. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Daniel Sims, 206-684-7790daniel.sims@seattle.gov
Michael May, 206-684-8056mailto:michael.may@seattle.gov,

Paint Out Graffiti in Your Neighborhood
Summer Paint Out Runs July – August

SEATTLE – Summer is here and Seattleites are gearing up to take part in the anti-graffiti program – Summer Paint Out.

Summer Paint Out, in its second year, runs from July through August.

Whether you are a group or an individual, you can tackle graffiti in your neighborhood. The City of Seattle supports volunteers with FREE paint (white-brown-gray), rollers, brushes, scrapers, and gloves.

Get signed up today. Go to www.seattle.gov/util/SummerPaintOut. You can also e-mail mailto:daniel.sims@seattle.gov or call 206-684-7790.

Supplies can be picked up on the following Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration is required first.

July 7
July 21
August 4
August 18

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities at: www.seattle.gov/util.

Follow SPU on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SeattleSPU.

In addition to providing a reliable water supply to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area, SPU provides essential sewer, drainage, solid waste and engineering services that safeguard public health, maintain the City’s infrastructure and protect, conserve and enhance the region’s environmental resources.

-SPU-