January saw the continuation of the high level of burglaries in Madison Valley that began last August, when the level jumped from 4 or 5 per month into the double digits. The twelve burglaries in January matched the monthly average since the beginning of August. Meanwhile, vehicle-related crime reports, chiefly car prowl thefts, rebounded from the low levels of the past few months to more a more typical number, resulting in a forty percent increase in the total number of police reports (70) over December's 50.
1. Sometime during the afternoon of Jan. 4 a burglar broke into an apartment on E. 20th near Denny by cutting the screen and sliding a kitchen window open. Once inside, the burglar searched through the house and took car keys, a credit card, jewelry and cash. The burglar did not take other valuable items, such as a laptop, however. Police did not find usable fingerprints around the window or in the apartment.
2. On Jan. 4 someone took a UPS package from a secure area in an apartment building on 23rd near John. There was no evidence of forcible entry to the area, nor did the building's owner see anything suspicious when he viewed tapes from surveillance cameras on the outside of the building. The package contained clothing worth $190. Police were not called to investigate the incident until Jan. 14.
3 On Jan. 5 at 8:30 PM police were called to E. Prospect St. near 20th by a resident who had caught two suspects getting into an unlocked car in his garage. The suspects fled, but when the police searched the area they found that someone had gained entry to a nearby house by throwing a brick through a window in the back door. The owner, who was at work at the time, returned home when the police notified her and found that the burglar(s) had taken laptops and jewelry worth approximately $3,600. As the police were leaving the scene, they learned that two suspects who may have been involved in the burglary and the car invasion had just been arrested in a stolen car down the street from the burglary.
4. On Jan. 16 at about 3 PM a would-be burglar set off an alarm at a residence on 23rd near Prospect by breaking a window pane in the back door of the residence. The alarm apparently frightened the culprit away, however, because when the security company representative and the police arrived no one was present and the back door was still locked.
5. Sometime during the period between Jan. 13 and Jan. 18, a burglar broke into a shed in the back yard of a residence on 31st near Union. The owner, who had been out of town, reported that the burglar took bicycles, camping equipment and tools worth a total of about $5,000. Police found no fingerprints.
6. On Jan. 22 at about 4:30 PM police were called to a home on Harrison near 29th to investigate a burglary that had occurred earlier that day. When they arrived the owners told them that they had left their home at 9:30 that morning, and that their son's girlfriend was the only one in the house when they left. The girlfriend, who was sleeping in the lower level of the home during much of the day, left at about 3PM and activated the alarm system when she left. When the owners returned at 4 PM they found that a glass panel in a French door at the back of the home had been smashed and that a burglar had taken jewelry, digital equipment and cash worth a total of about $11,600. When the owners returned they found the alarm system still activated, implying that the burglary occurred while the girlfriend was asleep in the lower level of the house. Police found fingerprints at the scene.
7. Sometime between 1:30 and 6:30 PM on Jan. 24 a burglar entered a home on 20th near Mercer through an unlocked bathroom window at the back (east) side of the house. After taking items worth approximately $2,800, including a necklace and a laptop computer, the burglar left through a back door. There were no suitable surfaces for taking fingerprints at the scene.
8. On Jan. 27 between 9:30 and 11 AM a burglar entered an apartment building on 23rd near Denny through an unlocked security door and pried open a door to one of the apartments. After gaining entry to the apartment, the burglar stole a laptop and cash worth a total of approximately $1,500. There were no fingerprints at the scene.
9. During the night of Jan. 27–28 a burglar entered a restaurant near 19th and Aloha by smashing open a bathroom window at the rear of the building where it is located. Once inside, the burglar kicked open the door of the restaurant's office and stole approximately $1,500 in cash. The police found partial finger prints in the office and noted in their report that video cameras at the rear of the building may have recorded the burglar's entry and exit.
10. During the afternoon of Jan. 28 police received a report of an attempted burglary at a home on 26th near Denny. While taking a shower after an afternoon run, the homeowner heard a loud noise. When he ran downstairs to investigate he found that the glass pane of his rear door had been shattered and observed two young black males, one tall and thin the other short and stocky, in his back yard. When they saw the resident they fled and the resident called the police. The police found no fingerprints.
11. Sometime between 8:30 AM and 3 PM on Jan. 29, a burglar entered an apartment on Union near 27th by crawling through an unlocked bedroom window on the first floor. After ransacking the apartment the burglar took items worth approximately $1,600, including cash and two digital tablets. Police found fingerprints at the scene.
12. On Jan. 31 at about 5:30 PM police were called to a residence on Union near 27th by a resident who had just returned from a vacation. When he arrived, he found things amiss and the window pane of the basement door at the back of the house smashed open. Because his roommate had been in the house earlier in the day, he concluded that the burglary must have happened since the roommate's departure. Items worth approximately $4,700 were stolen, including $3,150 in cash. The police found no fingerprints.
Also during January, there was an armed assault and a robbery in Madison Valley.
1. On Jan. 1 at about 2:45 police were notified of gunfire near the intersection of Union and MLK. When they arrived at the scene a witness told them that gunfire had been exchanged between two SUVs traveling west on Union at high speed. Shortly afterward a victim with a wound in his left forearm was dropped off at a location redacted from the police report by a SUV matching the description of one of the vehicles involved in the shooting incident. When the police interviewed the shooting victim he claimed no knowledge of the chase on Union and had no idea of who had shot him. Police found five shell casings at the intersection of Union and MLK.
2. On Jan. 5 at about 4 PM a woman called the police to report that the previous day she had been a victim of a car jacking near 25th and Union. The woman told the police that while she was putting a car seat into her car's trunk, an assailant had pushed her torso into the trunk and told her that if she didn't give him the keys to her car he would hurt her. After she dropped the keys to the ground the assailant picked them up and drove off with the car. The woman also told the police that although she had seen the assailant a few times in the neighborhood, she wasn't acquainted with him. Further investigation by the police revealed that the woman had reported the incident to the police the previous day and had identified her assailant, who is known to the police as a gang member.
Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.