Car thefts are increasing in West Seattle
By Jennifer Danner
Southwest Seattle Police Precinct
Crime Prevention Coordinator
As the weather turns colder, we often see an increase in auto theft incidents, specifically incidents where individuals turn on their vehicles to warm them up, and leave them unattended- even for just a moment.
As of November 24th, the SW Precinct is trending up in auto theft incidents; specifically we are up 4% year-to-date over last year’s numbers, and we are up 14% in the last 28 days over this period last year. The following neighbors are seeing substantial increases: Alaska Junction, Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights, Morgan Junction and Fauntleroy.
For this month’s crime prevention newsletter- the SW Precinct would like to focus on preventing vehicle related crimes- including auto theft and car prowl.
What is auto theft?
-Theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle
What is a car prowl?
-Unlawful taking of motor vehicle contents or parts
Both of these crimes are referred to as crimes of opportunity and can happen very fast! An experienced car thief can break in and steal a car in less than one minute!
What are some prevention techniques for car prowl and auto theft?
-Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you’re away, even for ‘just a minute’, please remember this is illegal in Seattle and in Washington (SMC 11.70.160, RCW 46.61.600)
-Remove remote garage door openers, key fobs and key cards from vehicle
-Always lock doors and roll up windows, even if the car is parked in front of your home
-Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked
-Items you don’t want to take with you should be stored in the trunk, or out of sight
-Put items in the trunk before you arrive at your destination
-Even non-valuable items should be hidden from view (such as electronic charging cables)
-If possible, park vehicle in a busy, locked, monitored and/or well-lit area
-Utilize anti-theft devices (Please contact me directly for link/suggestions for where to purchase these)
-If possible, activate alarm
What else can you do?
-Be observant! If you see something, say something!
-Remember to always report all crimes and suspicious activity to the Seattle Police Department by calling 911 for in-progress crimes, or utilize the non-emergency number/online reporting if appropriate (see below)
-Organize and/or get involved with Block Watch
Below you will find my contact information, including email address and phone numbers. Keep an eye out next month for a crime prevention bulletin focusing on winter holiday safety! Below you will also find upcoming events in the SW Precinct in the next month, as well as other resources- such as the Seattle Police non-emergency phone number, the link for our online-reporting system and the link for how to ‘thank an SPD employee’.
Contact me with questions, concerns, to request my presence at a future meeting, to discuss Block Watch, to request a free safety/security assessment of your home or business and/or if you are interested in free firearm cable locks or vehicle clubs. Please also contact me directly if you would like information about our Paws on Patrol program.
Email address: Jennifer.Danner@seattle.gov
Desk phone number: (206) 256-6820
Cell phone number: (206) 471-2849
Upcoming events in SW Precinct-
- Seattle Police Department Non-Emergency Number: (206) 625-5011
- Seattle Police Department’s Website: http://www.seattle.gov/police/
- Seattle Police Department’s Online Crime Reporting: https://www.seattle.gov/police/need-help/online-reporting
- Seattle Police Department’s ‘Thank An Employee’: https://www.seattle.gov/police/about-us/contact-us/thank-an-employee
- Contact information for other SPD Crime Prevention Coordinators: