The first month of 2014 brought a substantial increase in the number of Madison Valley incidents reported to the police, and the increase was due to a spike in car prowl theft. Numerically, car prowls accounted for 21 of the 60 incidents reported during January and 12 of these car prowls occurred in or adjacent to the Arboretum (the parking lot just north of the intersection of Lake Washington Blvd. and E. Interlaken Blvd alone accounted 8 of those incidents). There were also 6 reported vehicle thefts and one case of license plate theft.
In addition to all of the vehicle related crime during January, there were four burglaries.
1. On Jan. 6 at approximately 2 PM police were called to a residence on 22nd near Pike by a woman who reported that she had heard a voice in her basement and after calling out “who’s that in my house?” heard a door close. She then witnessed a man carrying two backpacks leaving her yard. The police subsequently located a suspect who had two backpacks (and also a glass pipe in his jacket). After the resident identified him as the burglar, he was informed of his Miranda rights and booked into the King Co. jail.
2. Residents of a two unit building on 23rd near Aloha called the police on Jan. 9 to report that someone had recently stolen four bicycles from a storage area in the basement of the building. As there were no signs of forced entry to the storage area, the victims and the police concluded that someone who had previous or current access to the building probably had stolen the bicycles.
3. On Jan. 17 a burglary occurred at a home on 27th between Pine and Pike sometime between 3:30 AM and noon while the resident was at work. Taking advantage of an unlocked window, the burglar entered the home and stole a laptop from the den. The burglar was in the process of taking a television from the bedroom when he was apparently frightened away by an unknown event. The burglar then left the house through the front door. Police were not able to find usable fingerprints at the scene.
4. Police responded on Jan. 27 at about 12:30 PM to a report of a burglary in progress at a home on 32nd Ave. E near Highland Dr. The neighbor who had called confronted the burglar as he left the home and noticed that he had a plastic bag full of objects. The burglar then fled east and jumped over a fence into Broadmoor. When conducting an area search, the police learned that the burglar had been seen in a Broadmoor resident’s back yard and they also located a plastic bag, which contained a necklace, various cards, and non-valuable papers. The police then notified the residents of the burglarized home, but had not heard from them by the time the police report was filed. No finger prints were found on the contents of the plastic bag or the window through which the burglar had entered the home.
Finally there was a serious assault and a robbery during January.
1. On Jan. 25 at approximately 1 AM a woman who was sitting at a bus stop near 27th and Union was assaulted by a male acquaintance who apparently was very intoxicated. She reported that after throwing objects her, he struck her above the eye with an object that may have been her cane and then ran southbound on 27th. Although the woman knew only her assailant’s first name, she gave a detailed physical description that led police to identify a likely suspect who lives in the neighborhood and has an SPD felony warrant and a history of gang involvement. The woman was treated at the scene by the Seattle Fire Department and then transported to a medical facility for treatment.
2. On Jan. 30 police received a call from a woman who reported that at about 2 PM two men approached her from behind and snatched the phone she was carrying while she was walking north on 23rd near Denny. She pursued them as they fled south on 23 and then east on Olive, until at 25th they got into a tan vehicle and drove away. The victim reported that her phone case contained credit cards and other items. The police canvassed the area through which the robbers had fled, but were unable to find any evidence or witnesses.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.