While they may not have had the experience of coming face to face with the brazen thief who prowled their car, there are plenty of people around Capitol Hill who would probably like to imagine the moment. As Seattle Police looks at its own policies and procedures around property crimes and car prowls, the East Precinct has been rough on automobiles so far in 2014. By CHS’s count using SPD’s crime report datasets, Central Seattle above I-5 has seen a whopping 32% jump in car prowls and auto thefts this year.
Interestingly, it looks like the auto crime trends in the East Precinct dipped just as SPD instituted increased patrols and street presence in Pike/Pine in an attempt to curb a rise of assaults and street robberies in the area.
Here are heat maps to show where most of the crimes are being reported. You’ll note that 2014’s hot spots are basically in the same area as 2013 but there are some new areas targeted by thieves around 15th Ave and down E Madison at Washington Park Playfield and the Japanese Garden.
The attention on car-related rip-offs follows a report earlier this year of a leaked memo revealing that “most” burglaries in the North Precinct were not being investigated because of a lack of detectives to work the cases.
SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole says the department is looking at the Seattle property crime issue:
Since her appointment, Chief O’Toole has heard community concerns regarding how the Seattle Police Department responds to property crime, including the amount of time 911 callers wait for a police response, as well as what crimes are eligible for on-line reporting.
The Chief has directed Chief Operating Officer Mike Wagers to conduct an immediate review and report back to her in two weeks.
UPDATE: Here is SPD Chief Operating Officer Mike Wager’s response to our post:
— Mike Wagers (@MikeWagers) November 4, 2014