Thieves hit Whittier Heights neighbor – twice

Andrew, who lives in the Whittier Heights neighborhood, sent us this email:

Our house has had a new lawn mower and hot dog machine stolen from behind the house (Long story regarding the hot dog machine – good for BBQ get togethers). This bold move required either driving down a small alleyway and throwing the stuff into a car or just carrying the items away. Either way, this shows an unfortunate amount of confidence on the side of the thieves – they know that there is no police presence in these family neighborhoods in Ballard. They can cruise around in the middle of the night and take big items without fear of being caught.

We have been worried that they would come back for more and they did last weekend. I came out of my house Saturday morning to see my driver’s side door and trunk open. The thieves had stolen my car stereo and a bunch of clothes from my car. They also did the customary trashing of the papers in my glove box. There wasn’t really much to steal in my car but we worry that these brazen thieves won’t stop at stealing stuff on the outside of the house.

Andrew asks for an informal survey of readers to see what crime is like where you live. “It’s sad that we have to wake up to find our possessions missing when everything else about this part of the city is so great,” he writes.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

54 thoughts to “Thieves hit Whittier Heights neighbor – twice”

  1. we live in WH and our house has been broken into twice in the last 3 years and our car was stolen (in front of our house) last fall. we were told point blank by the cops that they are not actively policing our neighborhood and lighting is poor which makes it a prime area for prowlers.

    we need to step up our community crime watch efforts because the cops do not have the capacity.

  2. We live right off of Leary (between the VW dealership and Swedish) and I think there's a huge benefit to living in an apartment complex, for this very reason. I have seen cars parked on the street with windows broken out, although it isn't common- I do wonder if having the hospital right there makes a difference. The only time I'ved noticde much late night activity is on the weekends after bar close, and even then it's mostly just yelling.

  3. We also had a car stolen from in front of our house. It was likely kids that took it for a joyride, because it turned up 5 weeks later and everything was inside. Regardless, it's very unsettling to think we are so vulnerable in this neighborhood, that otherwise feels so perfectly safe. We've resorted to locking everything up that we don't want to lose.

    I'd be very interested in participating in some kind of block watch – never having done this before, I'd want to be part of an organized effort.

  4. Drug addicts who steal to support their habits are everywhere and we cannot expect the police to be everywhere at once; it pains me when people blame a lack of police presence. The thieves would simply wait until the coast was clear and then continue on. Our area near Adams Elementary has had regular car prowls all 13 years we've lived here. Home break-ins occur in spurts. A part of life I'm afraid. Our motion activated lights might be the reason our van has never been bothered though.

  5. yep, better than letting the neighborhood go to hell.

    The cure for this is very simple. Stop the hug a thug crap.

    Problem solved.

  6. I know they cost money and you have to hire someone or know how to install them, but motion sensor outdoor lights are a deterent. Home Depot has them for about 30 bucks and if you have any lights wired outside at all that you can switch out, it's a good investment.

  7. I tend to think the two incidents are unrelated.

    Is it possible the thieves (takers) of the first items thought you were getting rid of the stuff since it was near the alley (by the trash cans)? I know it sounds like a stretch but I always worry about temporarily leaving things near the curb, that someone will come and snatch them.

    I think the motion lights are a good idea. Certainly better than keeping your back lights on ALL night (like my lovely neighbors do–shines right in my window and probably giving me breast cancer)

    A police officer at our block watch meeting also told us not to leave back yard lights on all night. He said you were basically advertising to criminals what you've got to take.

  8. But a neighborhood full of pit bulls behind chain link fences is hell, right? If that's what you want, you can have it for a lot cheaper — just move south!

  9. A few weeks ago our car – which was parked in a lit driveway right next to our house was broken into. They threw everything around but there wasn't anything for them to steal so they just left a mess. It was disturbing though that they would break into a car in a well lit driveway, literally right next to the house. We filed a police report but that was all we could do. I think where we live in considered Loyal Heights but it's also very close to Whittier Heights.

  10. Pitbulls are horrible watchdogs and don't need anymore irresponsible owners adopting them for the wrong reasons and giving them a bad name.

    Same thing with guns.

  11. The problem is that Seattle is woefully underpoliced. It's not that our police can't be everywhere, they have a hard time being ANYwhere.
    Policing isn't just about standing guard over your stuff but catching the people who commit the crimes so they can't do it again. When you don't have enough police to follow up on crimes and catch the criminals you will have a lot more crime. Simple really.

  12. I second the motion sensor lights. Also, if your yard is not fully fenced, put up a fence and put locks on your gates. It won't stop someone who's really determined to get in your yard, but it will discourage the more casual, lazy, opportunistic thief.

  13. Our Fremont home was broken into midday during the only hour that no one was home and all electronics, allowance jars, keys etc stolen and walked casually out to the robber's car parked on the street in front. My daughter and her sitter walked in on them and they scooted away. We were informed that there would be no investigation. The same year my car was vandalized mid-morning parked in a public lot at Greenlake and all contents were stolen. (Some of my papers and a bag were subsequently found dumped in a graveyard in Crown Hill.) A few years before that my car was totaled, along with several others, while parked in front of our house by a swell guy who offered to give us some pot in exchange for not calling the police. We did call them, even gave them photos of the guy, but there was no follow-up. I do understand that the force is small and priorities have to be made. So far the priorities seem to be speeding tickets, parking tickets and other fund raising efforts. I hate to be so cynical, but it would be nice to know that there are efforts being made to follow-up on the 'petty' crimes.

  14. We live in the Whittier Heights neighborhood and had an enclosed trailer stolen last fall. It had locks on the hitch and everything, but had nothing inside. I was pretty shocked that someone would go to the length of planning to cut the lock then hitch it up and drive off. It was never found. Seems like thieves know this is a quiet neighborhood at night, which is one of the reasons why we love it, I feel a neighborhood night watch would go a long way as long as there isn’t guns and pit bulls involved. At the minimum we should all be aware of our neighbors and their belongings and deter where possible but not fall into a Bush victim status and fear for our safety.

  15. The items stolen from the backyard were definitely not placed at the curb. The lawnmower was in a carport and the hotdog machine was on our property in the back alley. I agree that the two burglaries could be unrelated but the point is that people are stealing our stuff. Also, we have a motion detector light in the back- didn't deter them. The car was parked on the street when it was broken into- can't put a light out there.

  16. our car was rifled through a few months ago. our neighbor reported seeing 3-4 guys run through our front yard after they noticed one guy smoking and talking loudly under the streetlight in front of our car (lookout). when they realized they were spotted they ran down the street, got in a car (dark sedan) and drove away. filed a police report just to do it.

  17. We lost lawn furniture out of our backyard several years ago. Our house was on NW 8th near 80th, with an alley in the back. In that location it was common for cars to “break down” and then be “worked on” by various people for days at a time–in at least some instances it was a ruse to case the neighborhood, and almost certainly what happened to us. My practices since then: motion detector lights, and calls to the city if any unfamiliar vehicle is parked on the street for more than a day.

  18. While I haven't had anything stolen since I moved to Ballard, I worry all the time. I have had my car stolen twice and it is such a horrible experience. People work hard for what they have, and when some people just have no respect for that.

  19. We've lived off 8th for 3 years & had our cars rifled through periodically. Also, just this morning we found a big box of what looked like recycling dumped in our yard. Upon closer inspection we found that it was packaging from online retailers addressed to different people in the neighborhood. My best guess is that it's a collection of wrappers from stolen mail.

  20. I live Ballard and happily have a legal carry permit and possess the full knowhow and confidence to protect my property and family. Just as it takes an accident to create a safety action, it will take a criminal committing an act against a fully prepared individual to send a message. So I'm happily cocked and locked to help the neighborhood out.

  21. I live Ballard and happily have a legal carry permit and possess the full knowhow and confidence to protect my property and family. Just as it takes an accident to create a safety action, it will take a criminal committing an act against a fully prepared individual to send a message. So I'm happily cocked and locked to help the neighborhood out.

  22. I recently moved to Ballard from Greenwood, where the police presence was zero and we had our cars broken into, house vandalized, and drug deals were happening on our block nearly every day. When we called to report crime, they basically told us “tough luck, that's Greenwood for ya.”

    Now I live on 15th near 80th, and I feel very safe here. The police presence is HIGH. I no longer feel nervous taking the trash out, because there are cops waiting to pull over speeders in the parking lots of most businesses. If something ever did happen, I wouldn't need to call 911; I could just step outside and flag an officer down. For that I love Ballard!

  23. Call the post office. Postal Inspector might want to know about it.
    FYI… Mail theft is a federal offense and the PO prosecutes unlike the city.

  24. I always chuckle when folks suggest I move. I was born here, and will protect this hood from the hug a thugs, and the thugs.
    Why don't you move? Obviously, you won't like it here very soon.

  25. our car 15th and 60th was stolen in daylight on a sunday in front of our house,:(
    we see and gear alot of crime in the taco bell parking lot being the only place left that under age kids can hang out after dark with no bowing alley, coffee shop (dennys)
    i think we get alot of bored teenagers and drug addicts trashing our cars and yards on our street

  26. There is a Whitman kids who attended Whittier-his first name is A.
    His grandma always ends up with stolen stuff in her year???? Poor folks.

    Of course this kids isn't involved, grandma just ends up with all this stuff, I think the real crimminal is trying to make them look bad.

    His grandma says A is a good kid and I believe her. I just think maybe bad luck, maybe she buys it at goodwill. Go check out his yard-your stuff may be there- he lives on 12th between 75 and 77th in a tan house.

  27. Hi Te,

    I think some of that packaging might have been for my house… Can you please contact me? Thanks. My gmail account name is below (add gmail dot com after it).


  28. I was born here as well, and I still live in Ballard 40 years later. Kind of beside the point that you'd mention that. I don't know where you get this “hug a thug” name, but it's very clever. Does that mean if you're not for shooting people in your alley at night you're with the criminals? Just wondering.

  29. Unfortunately, in Seattle, if you shot one of these POS, the loony left here would think you were the criminal.

    I do take comfort in knowing that most of the time they mug someone or break into a home here, chances are it's some soft-on-crime, hug-a-thug type.

  30. yeah Pittbulls and guns are not the best option, and so 1990's.

    I say go with the BBM (Big Black Mutt) and a comfortable length of pipe.

    Second choice Dogo Argentino and a grenade launcher — this one is great if things get a little heavy.

    If you are really scared and subsequently super-conservative maybe a small pack of hyenas and an Apache helicopter will help you sleep at night …

  31. We live close to the Locks and we have had a few break-ins and car prowls since we've been in the neighborhood (about 7 years). We have a very active block watch and the police do recommend that you call and report anything that isn't normal – people randomly walking around in the neighborhood, cars in the alley that don't look familiar, etc. — if there is a break in of any kind (even if you left your car unlocked and nothing was stolen) they want to know.

    The police have increased their presence dramatically in response to valid concerns. They don't hang out here, but there are many more patrols around. I think that desperation (drugs and the economy) are all factors that lead to criminal acts. We do need to look to our neighbors and community to help us be more aware and look out for each other.

  32. totally agree, and I've been accused of being a bleeding heart. We've got the lowest cop-to-citizen ratio of any big city in the US, and the high property crime to prove it. In general about 1/3 the cops I encounter are d-bags but I'll take that 7 days a week over a burglar in my house in the middle of the night.

  33. do me a favor and don't shoot anyone for me, okay? I'll be the guy doing the everybody be cool thing pumping my open hands at the ground.

    And why is it when people get all gunny they spout in quasi-constitutional-legal sounding language? I'm surprised you didn't drop a “perpetrator” on us.

  34. good to know we got a couple pilots in the area too :)

    Wait, YOUR the “be cool” guy? do you know 50 degree shirt off guy?? :)


  35. Right, totally simple. Oh wait, locking people away means building more jails and hiring more prison guards. How do you propose to pay for that without raising taxes? Not so simple after all – unless you're a simpleton.

  36. Ever heard the phrase “You get what you pay for”? Unlike most states that rely on a combination of income and sales taxes to pay for public services here in Washington we don't pay income tax. Guess what? No taxes=no cops. Even then, more cops and prisons doesn't mean less crime. If you think it does you should go down to California and see how well it works down there.

  37. Yep. The US Postal Inspectors are probably the most under rated law enforcement agency in the US. I used to do retail fraud investigations and a BIG problem we had was people stealing stuff and selling it on e-Bay. Getting the local police involved was usually impossible. They'd play the “not our jurisdiction” game all the time. Postal Inspectors have no such issues. If something goes through the USPS in any form it falls under their umbrella. We worked with USPIS all over the country and they were always vastly more helpful than local cops.

  38. Just curious, how does your gun protect your home while you're at work? Guns can't protect against burglary. Robbery maybe, but not burglary.

  39. I was making two points but apparently that's too complicated to handle. Let me break this down for you:

    1) If you want cops you need to pay taxes. I know this is a hard concept for whiny Washingtonians to get a grasp on but trust me, that's how it works. Cops don't like to work for free.

    2) If you do decide to pay taxes **don't** do what California did and piss it all away on building more prisons, locking up more people, enforcing 3 strikes laws and hiring more prison guards. Only people who gains from this are corrections officers whose union is one of the most powerful in California to the detriment of the rest of the state. It certainly hasn't reduced crime.

    Also Washington and California are only two states. In case you forgot, that leaves 48 other states out there that one can look too for ideas. Of course Seattle natives can't seem to do that. They don't seem to realize that there's a whole world out there. Instead they grow up in Seattle, go to school in Seattle, work in Seattle and die in Seattle without every experiencing anything else. As a result they seem completely clueless to the fact that other places actually do things differently and in some cases do it better. Instead they pursue idiotic ideas like monorails and seem to think a two lane bridge is perfectly adequate for handling massive commuter traffic. They refuse to fund public transit and build new bridges but constantly whine about how terrible the traffic is.

  40. Seattle police hardly work for free:

    I would surmise that the main reason for the dearth of police officers in Seattle is that this city is not a friendly environment for them to work. Police work can be hard and frustrating under the best of circumstances and being second-guessed constantly by the people for whom you work and those whom you are there to protect takes its toll. I'm NOT saying there should be no oversight of nor accountability for the police but I've been a police officer elsewhere and Seattle, the city managers and a fair portion of the populace, are over the top.

  41. I have an ape at home as well….after all, its not guns that kill people…its apes with guns that kill people…at least during work hours

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