There were approximately forty incidents reported to the police during August, a higher number than in previous months. Most of the increase involved what the police consider minor crimes: shoplifting, graffiti/property damage, car prowl theft, etc. The police reports give detailed accounts of only four kinds of incidents: burglaries, robberies, aggravated assaults and homicides. Thankfully, no homicides have been reported since we started summarizing Madison Valley police reports (March 2013) and only a few aggravated assaults. Burglaries and robberies have been more common. There were five burglaries in Madison Valley during August.
1. Sometime between 7 and 11 PM on Aug. 5 two apartments in a building on 19th Ave between Aloha and Prospect were burglarized. The burglar(s) damaged a door and its frame, but the police report does not include information about the tenants’ losses.
2. On August 7 between 10 and 11:30 PM a burglar entered a home on 21st Ave. between Olive and Pine through an unlocked front door. The occupants were visiting a neighbor at the time, and when they returned home they found that cell phones, a laptop computer and a wallet were missing. The laptop had a tracking feature and the last address it gave was an apartment building in Kent.
3. Also during the night of Aug. 7-8 someone broke open the front door of a house in the same neighborhood (21st Ave. close to Pike). The next morning a neighbor reported the break in to the police but was unable to tell whether anything had been taken. As of the time of the police report, investigators had been unable to contact the occupants of the residence.
4. During the afternoon of Aug. 22, a burglar entered a house on 24th Ave between Olive and Pine via an open window and stole computer equipment worth approximately $2200. Police officers found fingerprints at the scene.
5. During the night of Aug 23-24 a burglar smashed open the front door of an office on E. Madison near 31st Ave. and ransacked the office. No fingerprints were found and the police report does not specify the number or value of the items that were taken.
During August there were also two robberies, both in the same general neighborhood, both in the early morning, and both involving the theft of cell phones. Readers of the Madison Valley police reports will note the similarity of these robberies to an incident in late July in the same area.
1. On Aug. 16, a little after 1AM, a robber grabbed a pedestrian who was carrying a cell phone and walking south on 19th Ave. near John. The robber pressed a pistol against the victim’s ear, and demanded that he hand over the phone. After taking the phone the robber ran north on 19th to Thomas and then turned east. The victim described the robber as a black male, approximately 5’4” tall and weighing about 145 lbs. Police located a suspect a little later, but the victim told them that the suspect was not the person who robbed him.
2. On Aug. 20, at approximately 12:45 AM, a bicyclist riding North on 23rd Ave. near John stopped to call a friend on his cell phone. He was then approached from the rear by a robber who placed an object on the back of his head and demanded the victim’s phone. The victim asked “Are you joking?” at which point the robber pushed him to the ground and took his phone. The robber fled north on 23rd and then west on Thomas. After being summoned a half hour later, police conducted an unsuccessful search for the robber.
A new feature of the crime reports map that the Seattle Police Department provides is a “number of incidents” tile. This simplifies the map a bit, but also makes it more difficult to see the specific incidents. You will notice, for example, the large number of crime reports at 22nd and Madison. These are mostly shoplifting incidents. Also, the police reports for August do not include the well-publicized arson that occurred at 23rd and Union on August 12.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.