Some unwanted traditions of the holidays are back as package and car prowl seasons are at their height. Below are a few examples of where the bad guys and girls have been working and a note from SPD about a few things you can do to improve your odds of a happy December.
- Truck prowl: A car prowler working the area around the 700 block of Harvard Ave E was caught on video making a two-part visit for thievery from a parked truck full of tools and equipment. Here’s a note we received on the December 3rd incident from neighbor Steve:
This criminal busted a lock on our box truck & came back later to grab some tools. Luckily, this time, all the good stuff was attached or locked away in cabinets inside the truck.
- 19th/Denny mail thievery: Charles texted us with information about a mail thief working near 19th and Denny last week. “I wanted to report the theft of several packages left at the doors of several homes and apartments in the vicinity of 19th ave east and Denny,” Charles writes. “I also found a ton of mail from Reno, Nevada in my carport. Tried to call the East precinct but they do not answer.” We advised Charles to go ahead and call 911 to make a report. You can also go online and submit a report here.
- Broadway Hill Park package thief spotted: The neighbors around Broadway Hill Park have surveillance video of a woman known for her package pilfering:
Hi everyone, forgive the use of this forum for non-park related communication but we got a prowler in the hood that’s been stealing packages and getting info cars and storage rooms and the like. She’s well known to the police and has been pretty active, as recently as yesterday morning in our neighborhood. Fortunately, we have her on video. XXXX has a copy of the CD of the video and I can burn additional CDs if anyone is interested. Just a heads up to keep an eye out and let SPD know if you see her doing dirty deeds. From what I can tell, she seems to favor mornings just before sunrise and evenings just after sunset.
- SPD’s community teams have sent out the following info to area block watches with tips to slow down holiday thieves:
Dear Block Watch Captains/Contacts: It’s the time of year when our calendars can become crazy with parties, shopping, travel, cultural events, and long to-do lists. Our normal routines are stretched and attention to our safety can suffer. We may be gone from home more in the upcoming weeks, so burglary prevention becomes important. Shipped packages and money/gift cards in the mail are popular targets for thieves. Crowds in shopping malls, downtown streets, the train station or airport provide 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. In addition, too much holiday “cheer” can lead to unwise decisions and–in some cases–DUI arrests. At the risk of sounding like Debby Downer, please take a moment to review some of the following crime prevention tips, and/or forward these attached flyers to your neighbors and distribution lists.
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’s 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.
- UPDATE: A charitable effort ended with a bunch of smashed cars near 26th Ave E and E Ward Monday around noon when a St. Vincent de Paul truck careened down the steep hill and smashed at least four vehicles parked in the area. Thanks to @stephen_dee for these pictures of the aftermath. We’re checking to find out if there were any serious injuries in the incident.