A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Bank robbery at Home Street Bank in Phinney this evening

March 7th, 2017 by Doree

Update 7:15 p.m.: SPD has provided this description of the suspect: White male in his 30s, under 6 feet tall, thin build, wearing a black windbreaker with a hood, a black cap, baggy jeans and gloves.

Update Tuesday 3:15 p.m.: SPD spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee said it happened around 5:30 p.m. The male suspect fled. No one was hurt and there were no reports of any weapons. SPD had no other information about this incident.

Earlier: A bank robbery occurred at Home Street Bank at the corner of Greenwood Avenue North and North 73rd Street this evening.

Several Seattle Police cars were parked in front of the bank and in the bank’s parking lot that it shares with Ken’s Market.

I spoke with officers in the parking lot who confirmed there was a robbery, but would not provide any more information.

We’ll update this post as we know more.

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Safety alerts from SPD and City Light

November 17th, 2016 by Doree

Seattle Police Department is alerting residents to be safe when it comes to door-to-door salespeople, who are required to have a visible photo ID and license provided by the City of Seattle.

Here’s what the seller’s photo ID should look like:

spd-residentialsellerid-resized

They also need to have a Residential Sales License:

residentialsellerlicense-resized

When someone does knock on your door, SPD says you should always answer the door WITHOUT opening it. (This lets potential burglars know that someone is home.) You should get a good look at the person either through a peep hole or a side window. If they’re selling something, ask to see their license. If you want to find out if their license is valid, call the general number for the Regulatory Control and Consumer Protection Division at 206-684-8484 or inspector Ron Halas directly at 206-233-0050.

If someone is aggressive or something just feels wrong, always call 911.

And Seattle City Light is warning customers to be alert to scammers who may pose as City Light employees. City Light and SPD produced a video with tips on how to protect yourself.

When a customer is past due on a bill, Seattle City Light will take steps to notify the customer multiple times before shutting off power. Seattle City Light will always direct customers to the secure online payment system atwww.seattle.gov/light or to call (206) 684-3000 to make a payment. Seattle City Light employees will never ask for payment in person and will always be able to produce identification if informing a customer in-person of a past-due bill.

During winter, scammers may attempt to take advantage of the perfect storm of higher heating bills that come with lower temperatures. Scammers may demand thousands of dollars and threaten to shut off power if payment isn’t made immediately. Vulnerable residents, including non-English speaking individuals, elderly people, and small-business owners may be targeted by scammers. These threats can take place over the phone, by email or in person at customer homes and businesses. Some scammers use caller ID impersonating Seattle City Light’s customer service number to convince customers that they are talking to the utility.

If customers have concerns about the validity of a contact and want to ensure they’re talking to Seattle City Light, they are encouraged to call Seattle City Light directly at (206) 684-3000. Learn more about how to avoid becoming a victim at: www.seattle.gov/light/EndScams.

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Take old prescription drugs to any police precinct Saturday for National Drug Take Back Day

October 20th, 2016 by Doree

Saturday is National Drug Take Back Day, when you can take expired or unwanted prescription drugs to any of Seattle’s five police precincts and they’ll properly dispose of it. The semi-annual event is a cooperative effort between SPD and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Drop off prescription drugs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the North Precinct, 10049 College Way N., by North Seattle Community College. This free service is anonymous, with no questions asked.

Last April, Americans turned in 447 tons (over 893,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,400 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners. Overall, in its 11 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 6.4 million pounds—more than 3,200 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

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Seattle University asking for your thoughts on public safety

October 17th, 2016 by Doree

Seattle University is conducting a citywide online Public Safety Survey, to find out your safety and security concerns, whether you live or work in Seattle.

The survey will provide Seattle Police Department with detailed reports of concerns in each neighborhood, so police can update community policing plans.

The survey is available now through Nov. 30, and is available in Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

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UPDATE: SUSPECT ARRESTED — SPD looking for shooting suspect who crashed car near Green Lake

July 15th, 2016 by Doree

Update: SPD arrested the suspect Friday afternoon.

Earlier: If you heard the helicopters overhead this afternoon, Seattle Police are searching for a shooting suspect.

From the SPD Blotter:

Officers responded to multiple reports of shots fired near 5th Avenue NE and NE Northgate Way. Police arrived quickly and located the suspect, but when he saw the officers, he sped off in his green Volvo, with police in pursuit.

The suspect lost control of his car and crashed in the 100 block of NE 80th, so he took off running.
Multiple police resources and a police K9 are in the area looking for him now.

Officers have not located any victims or any received additional reports at this time.

Officers believe that the man pictured here (picture removed, the man is in custody) may be the shooting suspect due to fact the he left his driver’s license in the car.

Anyone with information about this man or this incident should call 911.

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SPD Chief O’Toole meets with Greenwood business owners, residents to talk about neighborhood crime

June 28th, 2016 by Doree

About three dozen Greenwood business owners and residents met with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole on June 20 to express their concerns about rising crime in the neighborhood.

Chief O’Toole began the meeting with a statistic that has dismayed Seattle residents since she took the helm two years ago: Boston, where she previously worked, has 800-1,000 more officers for a similarly-sized city.

“Policing in Seattle is a work in progress,” Chief O’Toole said while acknowledging neighbors’ frustrations. “We are working very hard on reform. We are trying to use the resources that we have more effectively and efficiently.”

She said when she first arrived, she was surprised that Seattle didn’t have more visible police officers patrolling on foot, instead of in their cars simply racing from one 911 call to another.

One of the biggest concerns expressed by residents and business owners is the proliferation of RV camping, where derelict campers park on side streets or by parks and stay for weeks or months. Neighbors have long complained that people in some of those RVs are causing crime.

“We all agree that homelessness is not a crime, but if there are people committing crimes and terrorizing the neighborhood we need to address that,” Chief O’Toole said.

She said the North Precinct compiled a list of 207 RV and car campers and had offered services to nearly all of them, but many did not take them up on those offers of help. In the week prior to the Greenwood meeting, the North Precinct spent about 130 hours on the issue. Officers posted 86 72-hour notices to move and had impounded 26 vehicles since April. Unfortunately, with a 72-hour notice, cars can simply move down the street and start the process again.

“We’re finding a lot of people facing issues of mental health crisis,” she said of not only car campers but others committing crimes. “The property crime we see in the North Precinct, probably 95 percent of it is directly related to addiction issues.”

North Precinct Capt. Sean O’Donnell said there’s an undercover buy-bust drug operation in Greenwood every two weeks, with most of those arrested being from out of the area.

Elizabeth Chayer, owner of American Dance Institute on the corner of 80th and Greenwood, said her studio had been burglarized five times in the last few months (one of those was an employee’s car parked behind the studio). “My employees are totally wigged out,” she said.

Capt. O’Donnell said he had already directed additional patrols in that area, including officers in cars, on bike and on foot. He’s told officers on bikes to ride down alleys and those on foot to look into every doorway. Chief O’Toole said they could also ask the Major Crimes Task Force to get involved.

“It feels like we’re not safe or secure,” Naked City Brewery Co-owner Bryan Miller said, adding that his business hasn’t been hit yet but he feels like it’s just a matter of time. “It seems most of the crimes happen in the early morning hours before dawn. We just need more protection right now.”

Chief O’Toole said one offender admitted to 300 property crimes in the North Precinct. SPD is now working more closely with the King County Prosecutors Office and the City Attorney’s Office to help people get the services they need and not just go through a revolving door of arrest and then back on the street.

She said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg recently assigned a prosecutor to work full time with the property crimes task force on prolific offenders. Two officers from the North Precinct are now assigned to work with that task force.

Marnee Chua, owner of Works Progress, a co-working space at 115 N. 85th St., Suite 202, that’s open to members 24-7, has its main entrance in the alley. She said her staff and members are increasingly worried for their safety, and a staff member recently was assaulted on their property. She said the suspects were not arrested and come by all the time and just stare at them through the window until they call the police again.

“I don’t know what else we can do. We have video surveillance, we’re doing the lighting, we warn our members,” Chua said in frustration.

Another issue that residents brought up is the number of vacant houses that appear to house squatters and possibly other criminal activity. Two vacant houses recently caught on fire, including one at 79th and Dayton Avenue on June 6, and another in the 7100 block of Aurora Avenue about a week later.

Officer Joe Bender said SPD has a Vacant Trespass Program, where they work with owners of vacant properties to get blanket authority for officers to go onto the property at any time. That way they don’t have to look up the property owner or registered agent when someone complains of squatters or other issues. So, if any neighbors know of a vacant house with issues, call Officer Bender at 206-233-3984 and he’ll contact the property owner. If an owner won’t work with the Vacant Trespass Program and the home isn’t being kept secure, the city’s Department of Construction and Inspections can be called in.

In the case of the vacant house at Aurora and 71st, Officer Bender said the owner had joined the Vacant Trespass Program a few months ago and officers had been on the property a few times before the fire.

SPD also has a graffiti detective who can link graffiti to a suspect. So it’s important to report any graffiti right away. Take a picture and send it to SPD online before the graffiti is painted over.

Click here for a list of contact information for the North Precinct Community Police Team.

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SPD arrests two men for early morning burglary in Phinney Ridge

June 16th, 2016 by Doree

From the SPD Blotter:

Two men are in custody following an early morning burglary on Phinney Ridge.

Shortly after 3:00 am this morning, neighbors in the 6500 block of 1st Avenue NW called 911 and reported hearing shattering glass and a possible burglary at an unoccupied home. Patrol officers and a K-9 Officer Mark Wong and Ziva arrived quickly and began checking the block.

Two men took off running from the home and were quickly arrested after a brief foot chase.

Upon further inspection officers discovered a broken basement window where the suspects had entered the burglarized house.

Police found one of the suspects was carrying a large quantity of prescription pills in his backpack, as well as probable stolen items. Detectives interviewed the suspects before the two men, ages 23 and 24, were booked into the King County Jail for burglary. The suspect with the pills could also face felony drug charges.

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SPD arrests suspected car thief in Lower Phinney/Ballard

June 15th, 2016 by Doree

From the SPD Blotter:

Police found a car thief asleep at the wheel Monday night after tracking a stolen Honda from Queen Anne to the West Woodland neighborhood.

A Queen Anne resident called SPD around 9 PM Monday from the 3200 block of Conkling Place West and reported someone had stolen his Honda Prelude in the last 24 hours. Fortunately, his car was equipped with a GPS system, which showed the vehicle was parked in the 6500 block of 5th Avenue Northwest.

Officers quickly found the car and discovered there was a 21-year-old man asleep in the driver’s seat. After arresting the man, police found he was carrying a collection of filed-down keys—a tool commonly used by prolific car thieves—along with a tool for breaking windows, a can of lubricant spray, and two passports belonging to other people. Police also recovered a backpack, a briefcase, a box of wrenches, car and stereo parts from the car, none of which belonged the the car’s owner.

Officers booked the 21-year-old–who has previous convictions for auto theft property crimes—into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft and returned the car to its owner.

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Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole to discuss public safety concerns with Greenwood neighborhood on Monday

June 14th, 2016 by Doree

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole will discuss public safety concerns with Greenwood neighbors and business owners from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Monday, June 20, at Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85th St.

Chief O’Toole will provide an update on neighborhood crime and police efforts, then open it up for a question and answer session. She will be joined by SPD Chief Operating Officer Brian Maxey and officers from the North Precinct.

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