Seattle's Magnolia Neighborhood News Blog

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40 car prowls in 26 days in Magnolia

March 27th, 2009 · 48 Comments

UPDATE:  We just got more information from Seattle Police on our car prowl situation.  There were 11 more reports in Magnolia yesterday which brings the March total of reported vehicles prowled to 40 as of today (3/27).

At our request, SPD reviewed the car prowls in Magnolia for the first 25 days of March compared to the same time frame last year.  In 2009 there were 29 car prowls and in 2008 there were 11 reported. 

Terrie Johnston from crime prevention explains:

Obviously the car crimes are up compared to last March, however, your numbers are still much lower than most other neighborhoods in the city.  Please be aware that in the car prowls from yesterday (Thursday), the thieves rifled through many of the vehicles and took nothing, or only took quarters  ($3.00 in one, and $5.00 in another).  If  teens are responsible, as some residents have suspected, they may be looking for I-pods and cash.  What a shame that over $200 damage is done to a car, to get 12 quarters. 

Please report anyone looking into parked cars, or trying door handles to 9-1-1.  Stay on the line and watch where the suspicious people go.  If you have any additional questions, please call me at 684-4741. 

Johnston also tells us today that SPD patrol officers, burglary and theft detectives, community police team officers and the commanders of the West Precinct are all aware of this spike in property crime in Magnolia and will assign staffing levels accordingly.  The majority of these crimes appear to be occurring between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. 

3/26 We have had a number of reports from Magnolia residents this week regarding a rash of car prowls.  We checked with Terrie Johnston who works in crime prevention for the city to get a handle on the numbers.

Johnston reports that between March 1 and March 25 there were 29 car prowls in Magnolia.  That means 29 cars were broken into over a 25 day period this month alone.  Johnston cautions that these numbers are unofficial because not all crimes are reported.  Car prowls are often under-reported because many people find the damage on the way to work and dont have time to call police.  Many victims who don’t want to report the vandalism to their insurance company don’t report to the police either.  The bottom line is that the number of car prowls in our area could actually be much higher.

Car prowls generally occur overnight and they take just seconds to commit.  SPD says that thieves are targeting vehicles of all makes/models looking for GPS devices, cellular phones, purses, cash, laptops, I-Pods, cameras, luggage and garage remotes. Most stolen property is traded or sold on the street very quickly, lowering the chance of recovery.  Thieves commonly break windows for entry, but many are also successful at defeating door and trunk locks.

Car prowls are expensive, inconvenient and aggravating for the victims.  Here is what Seattle Police want you to do to protect your car:

Be consistent!  Remove all valuables from your vehicle every time you park.  Disable internal trunk releases per your owner’s manual.  Audible alarms or other theft deterrent devices can be effective.  Be observant!  Report all crimes and suspicious activity to 911 immediately, even if you are not going to report the crime to your insurance company. 

Johnston and patrol officers attended a large Block Watch meeting in Magnolia this week and they stress that neighbors sharing information can be a good tool to fight car prowls. You can call Terrie Johnston at 684-4741 if you want to schedule a Block Watch meeting for your neighborhood. 

Tags: Uncategorized

  • Athenamous

    It sounds like a lot, but I wonder how the number compares to last month, or march of last year. Has it really increased?

  • gladys

    We are trying to get that information to provide context to the nembers and we will post as soon as we hear back from SPD – Gladys

  • Herbisara

    My friend who lives by Lawton school had her car stolen over the summer. Her roommate’s boyfriend had his car stolen right outside the same house about 6 months before. Criminals are getting more and more ballsy/desperate/stupid.

  • magnoliasbest

    That is correct. The number is low – you can increase that “29” to “30”, at least. My car was prowled and $200+ in valuables stolen in mid-March. I did not report it to police, but I will do that now. My car was parked on 35th Ave. W., between McGraw and W. Smith.

  • co

    It doesn’t help that the street lights are burning out around town, making it easier for break-ins to occur. Saw a news report that said replacing them could take up to a month!

  • Magpie

    Geez, it seems like we should be able to find these pests, likely kids, if we are all on the lookout. Now that we know what is up, we can be vigilant. Spread the word!

    Information is power people so keep your eyes open in your neighborhood this weekend.

    Sounds like the cops will be sending some extra patrols our way so call 911 if you see anything and lets catch these punks!

  • Athenamous

    Thanks for the follow up – I appreciate the information! I will certainly report anything suspicious we see, and keep a look out for my neighbors.

  • kim

    sounds like the thieves are getting greedy w/their loot.

  • Wendell

    hmm, just this morning (as I was leaving for work) I noticed a car at the end of the block and, thinking they wanted to get past the Times deliverer I met her and grabbed my paper and got into my car. Then I noticed as they backed out that it was a police car. So, I guess they ARE on the lookout.

  • chopper 74

    Only you can prevent auto theft and car prowls. Pay attention, and report unusual activities.
    Chopper out…and about.

  • Sheila

    When my car was broken into, it cost $800 to fix. What did they take? A coat. There was nothing else in my car. I don’t usually leave anything in my car, but it was mistakenly left behind that one time. The police thought it may have been a homeless person because of the items they left in my car.

  • Brad

    On 3/7, my fathers car was broken into between 6:30 and 8 am in front of the Starbucks on McGraw while he sipped coffee inside. These punks are brazen. (Would love to see someone give them an unexpected baseball bat greeting) Apparently, that same morning, the same punks hit and run someone and they also stole a pick-up truck on Queen Anne for some joy riding. Apparently it’s believed this team actually lives on Queen Anne near Kerry Park. Keep your eye out, lock your doors, a little survelliance and calls won’t hurt to help.

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