Friday, May 10, 2013

April Police Blotter

Madison Park: crime hotspot?

To look at the April crime map, which shows multiple reports of harassment (the red icons with the exclamation points) and a couple of arrests (those blue icons with the handcuffs), you might think that the neighborhood is suffering a significant escalation of criminal activity.  Fortunately, you'd be wrong.

While there was a fair number of unlikely and not-to-serious situations that resulted in police reports last month,  the house and car break-in activity we typically report on was almost non-existent during the period. Or, rather, it was almost non-existent from the standpoint of reports to the police. As we'll discuss below, some of this petty criminal activity clearly took place without the victims bothering to make a formal report.

First, however, let's start with those cases of harassment. One of these, according to Seattle Police's public information officer, is simply "too convoluted" to be worth going into.  Suffice it to say that it was labelled "harassment" in the report, but was apparently something else. That incident occurred on April 4 on the 1000 block of 32nd Avenue E. The second incident, which happened on April 9, involved a ten-year-old fourth-grade student at McGilvra Elementary School who called another student "names."  Although the school's principal had been notified of the incident, the victim's parents decided to report the case to the police as well. The final incident, reported on April 9, involved activity that had been taking place since September 2012.  A "specialty store" owner on the 4100 block of E. Madison St. reported that an employee was being bothered by a customer who continued to come into the store to talk to the employee but did not buy anything. The owner reported having called the customer to ask that he not return to the store and reported the situation to the police so that it was documented.

That's what we know about the harassments.  Nothing too terrorizing.

The arrest situation during April a bit unusual for the neighborhood, which sees very few cases where police actually haul someone away.  On April 11, at the request of the Attorney General of Michigan, an SPD unit arrested a man living on the 2300 block of McGilvra Boulevard E. on a felony-arrest warrant.  The man was wanted for non-payment of child support. He was taken into custody without incident.  On April 13, a police officer sitting in a parked car on the 2300 block of 43rd Avenue E. happened to spot a suspect he identified as wanted on a DUI warrant.  He took the suspect into custody without incident.

Unusually for this time of year, there was only one reported burglary.  That happened on the 1200 block of 39th Avenue E. on April 20.  The victim reported that a Sony flat screen TV and an Apple TV device had been stolen from his garage.  No force was used to enter the garage, and the victim admitted that the door may have been left unlocked.

While there were no car break-ins reported in April, anecdotal evidence indicates that there were many cases of car prowls, often involving cars left unlocked. Wallets, coats, electronic devices, and spare change were among the objects lifted. The thefts appeared to be the work of kids roaming the streets at night. No one bothered to report these crimes to the police, however.  This may be a mistake on the victims' part.  As we're reported many times, SPD patrolling patterns are determined in part by the number of criminal incidents reported in the various neighborhoods of each precinct. The failure to report crimes happening in Madison Park could have the consequence of lowering the overall policing of our community.  Something to think about next time you are victimized.

[The dollar-sign icons on the map above represent incidents of fraud, generally reports of identity theft or credit card fraud, and the icons showing a can of spray paint represent incidents of property damage, generally graffiti. Click on map to enlarge.]

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