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Car prowl reports are down (actually) in Seattle — but not on Capitol Hill

2022 totals projected based on reports through May

One of multiple cars busted into in a prowl spree last week around E Pike (Image: CHS)

Want a Seattle crime problem to solve, city leaders? Crack down on car prowls on Capitol Hill. Seattle Police statistics show that reports of car break-ins have actually dropped about 20% in the city over the past five years — but there has been not letup across the East Precinct covering the Hill and the Central District.

Around Capitol Hill, they are coming in bunches in 2022. Of the around 120 reported every month in the East Precinct, many now involve rounds of mutli-car smash and grabs. A recent spree involved 11 cars parked overnight last week on a block around Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

“They were probably looking for cash; at least in our case there was nothing visible on the car seats,” the CHS reader who alerted us to the spree writes. “The thieves rummaged through the dashboard and all they seem to have taken is some stray coins.”

A previous spree area was hit twice near Miller Community Center with a night of smash and grabs in late June in the same area of another night of busted car glass a few months earlier.

Where are Capitol Hill’s car prowl hot spots? In 2022, again, the area below Broadway to I-5 has tallied the highest number of reports per SPD

There may, indeed, be reporting fatigue and not every break-in is recorded but there are plenty of reasons owners report the prowls to police. Like most of these incidents, the CHS reader who was victimized joined the other car owners in filling in police reports as they went through the process of insurance claims.

Police advocates, meanwhile, say staffing limitations are hampering SPD’s ability to respond to crimes like car prowls.

But SPD’s statistics show that “larceny — theft from automobile” reports have continually dropped across the city, down around 20% since 2017. The rate has remained steady around Capitol Hill and the Central District — the East Precinct’s proportion of car prowl reports has now reached about 16% of the city’s total thanks in part to fewer workers and visitors parking in downtown.

What can City Hall and SPD do? Increased police presence including officers spending more time in their vehicles in areas of high prowl rates could help — especially during overnight hours. Experts say addressing factors like lighting and visibility can also be effective. But information might be the most useful resource. Providing faster, more straightforward information on where and when the break-in sprees are occurring could help Capitol Hill drivers help themselves.

 

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Come on right now
Come on right now
6 months ago

LOL @ “There may, indeed, be reporting fatigue”.

No “may” involved. People have absolutely stopped reporting this stuff. Same for cat converter thefts, etc.

Cap hill mom
Cap hill mom
6 months ago

This article just reminded me that I didn’t even bother to report my car being broken into last week. And I know I should do it so the stats are more accurate, but it was the third time this year (!) my car has been damaged in front of my house (including a hit and run.) Just so tedious and discouraging!

Capital Hill Resident
Capital Hill Resident
6 months ago

I don’t bother locking my truck. I just be sure not to leave anything valuable in the vehicle. Maybe if it is unlocked they won’t break the glass to get in.

NotArt
NotArt
6 months ago

Sadly this hasn’t been our experience. Had a car window broken to steal a can of tennis balls in the backseat, car was unlocked.

Marissa
Marissa
6 months ago

My car has been broken into five times in the past two weeks. There are two kids who are walking around Capitol Hill- one slightly older teen with mid length brown hair, and another smaller teen with a closer buzz who had a bag of stolen package items- new steve maddens wrapped in plastic, and other amazon packages in a cloth shopping bag and they were sitting on my stoop. As soon as they saw me the small one became squirrelly and left. I’m investing in car cameras, even if they steal them I’ll have a shot of them and I will make them famous all over

Capitol Hill Evie
Capitol Hill Evie
6 months ago

From the article:
“ Seattle Police statistics show that reports of car break-ins have actually dropped about 20% in the city over the past five years”
JSeattle at CHS wanted to make some sort of point by selecting random statistics to fit their cool idea.
If you look at the Seattle chart you will see that the beak-ins in Seattle have increased (actually) in the past three years from 2020 following the CHAZ fiasco and not going down.
Capitol Hill has been on downward path for the past five years but Seattle has also joined the same trend since the infamous 2020.

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