December brings long nights, colder temperatures, and the holiday spirit(s). Can you predict how these forces affect crimes reported to the police during December? Remember that most of the crimes reported to the police in Madison Valley involve automobiles. These include stealing cars, breaking into them to remove valuables, and stealing license plates.
As usual, vehicle related reports to the police topped the list once again in Dec. but they remained at November’s low level, probably due to the cold. As a result, Dec. also continued the low Nov. level of police reports (about 30 during the month). Burglary topped the list of non-vehicular crimes in our neighborhood during December. Specifically:
1. During the night of Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, someone entered the open garage of a home on 22nd between Highland and Galer and stole a bag of golf clubs.
2. On Dec. 11 police received a report of a non-forcible entry burglary on Galer between 22nd and 23rd Avenues, but the police department has not yet posted a description of the incident.
3. On Dec. 19 a resident of a tent city on 22nd near Pike notified police that someone had entered her tent and stolen $14 and some personal effects.
4. During the morning of Dec. 20 three burglars forced open the front door of a condominium on 20th near John and proceeded to force open mailboxes in the lobby. After removing mail, the burglars left. Although the event was recorded on a surveillance camera, the burglars wore clothing that concealed their personal characteristics.
5. Sometime between Dec. 20 and Dec. 26, while the resident was out of town, a burglar entered a home on 19th near Denny via an open window and stole a briefcase. The briefcase, which contained personal items including a passport, was later found in a neighborhood trash can and taken to the SPD East Precinct Building. The police returned the briefcase to the resident and apparently nothing of value had been taken from it.
There were also two robberies during Dec. Remember that robbery is defined by the use of force or the threat of force. Nowadays, showing a hand gun defines an event as robbery, even if it happens in your home. Usually, however, robberies occur outside of buildings.
1. On Dec. 6 at approximately 8 PM robbers grabbed a new iPhone from the hands of a bus rider who had just exited from a bus at 23rd and Union. When the victim asked that the iPhone be returned, one of the robbers threatened him with a handgun and then the robbers, described as four black males in their 20s and one juvenile, fled south on 23rd. The victim then walked home where he met a friend who accompanied him to the Northgate area where they played in a soccer game. The victim did not call the police to report the robbery until after he returned home around midnight.
2. On Dec. 24 at about 4 AM a resident of a home on 26th Ave. E. near Denny was awakened by a woman who knocked at her door and told her that her car had broken down and that she needed to use the resident’s phone. Upon opening the door, the woman and three men forced their way into the home. All wore handkerchiefs to cover the bottoms of their faces, and one of the males brandished a handgun and instructed the resident to sit down on the couch. He then asked her “where is (name deleted)?” and she responded that she didn’t know anyone by that name. Meanwhile, the other robbers went though the house, removed a pillow case full of the resident’s belongings, and then they all fled in a car. At the time of the police report the resident was unsure of what belongings had been taken.
Finally, there were four shoplifting incidents reported by the grocery store at 22nd and Madison.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.