In recent weeks, thieves have ransacked Capitol Hill homes undergoing construction and even brazenly ripped off computers as family members have slept upstairs. We have SPD reports on these incidents, below. But we have bad news for those of you who have sent us e-mail recently complaining about a spring 2011 increase in burglaries. This is pretty typical stuff for Capitol Hill.
In March and the first week of April, we count 21 reported burglaries within East Precinct beat areas that cover Capitol Hill. Here’s a map of the March 1st through April 7th reported incidents that we collected using http://web5.seattle.gov/mnm/policereports.aspx
Depending on where you draw the lines and making sure to note there are actually two reports near 15th and Aloha, the reported incidents are in-line with what we typically see on Capitol Hill where we averaged one residential burglary every two days and one commercial burglary every ten days during a period CHS studied in 2010. According to SPD, they tallied more than 30 reports in March 2010 and 26 in March 2009 across the same area. More on Hill burglary trends, below.
Still, crimes like these are serious, understandably frustrating and, sometimes, scary. This early Sunday, April 3rd incident is an example. Here’s the SPD report:
On 04/03/2011, I was working uniformed patrol in the city of Seattle as 1C12. At 0656 hours, I responded to a residential burglary at 9 16 Av E. I arrived at 0708 hours and contacted V/ . V/ woke up this morning at about 0645 and found that her house had been broken into. V/ husband came downstairs at 0100 hours and found everythi ay. The burglary occured between 0645 hours and 0100 hours. V/ suspected it occured around 0600 hours because she thought she heard something.
Entry was made through a window on the rear of the house. The latch had been broken when the suspect pried and they eggressed through the back door. V/ was unnerved because the whole family was in the house at the time of the burglary. Upon further inspection of the house I found three additional windows which had pry marks and two door also had pry marks at the dead bolt. No viable fingerprints were recovered from the scene.
Stolen from the residence were two Apple laptops, one Apple desktop and on Dell laptop. V/ did not have the serial numbers for any of the computers at the time so I provided her with a victim follow-up form. I gave V/ a business card with my name serial number and the incident number. I suggested to V/ in the future to try and keep laptops out of sight if possible.
Another reason spring residential burglaries might get a little more attention is some tend to be larger in scale as homes are either empty or busy with workers during a time of year when many people hire contractors to take care of repairs. This March 25th example is a big example of the “under repair” break-ins we see from time to time. In this case, hundreds of tools seem to have been stolen in the incident. Here’s the SPD report:
But the anecdotes don’t seem to be piling up faster than recent trendlines. East Precinct Beats C1 and C2 where many of Capitol Hill single family homes are located both show seasonal trends over the past three years with an early spring bump followed by a dip and then a steady climb into the winter. The denser multifamily and more commercial areas of E1 and E2 show less seasonality but still have their own fall bump. Also, we have no idea what happened in E2 in 2009 but it looks ugly. The lines mark reported burglaries recorded in SPD statistics by month for 2008, 2009 and 2010.
As for the annual trends, unfortunately, the line is climbing. In 2008, SPD stats show 377 reported burglaries in the four Capitol Hill beats. That number jumped 20% to 452 in 2009 and fell slightly to 437 in 2010.
Where on the Hill is burglary getting worse? As southern Capitol Hill and First Hill beats C2 and E2 burglaries dropped in 2010, you can see the fever lines climb in the north and the west in C1 and E1. We’ll know in a few months if what we think we’re seeing right now on the Hill really is just a continuation of recent trends. In the meantime, keep the reports coming and remember not to leave your laptops laying around in plain sight.