Community Post

Crime Prevention Tips?

My husband & I want to do all we can to keep our neighborhood clean & safe. So far, all we can think to do is call 911 every time we see something unsavory. Does anyone have any additional crime prevention tips?

(On our block, we are having issues with prostitution, drug sales, drug users, and gangs. The drug users seem to cause the biggest disturbance as far as noise, fights, littering, minor thefts, & car break-ins.)

0 thoughts on “Crime Prevention Tips?

  1. lighting is a big issue that folks seem to complain about when talking about safety in their neighborhood. i think at least in your immediate surroundings (like your home) you should do all that you can to maintain a well lit area. not only could it deter undesirables from coming into close proximity, but it should also enable you to see out better if you hear anything suspicious (especially if your neighbors follow suit).

    we just bought a townhome in the area, and that’s one of the 1st improvements i’m in the process of now. installing brighter (green friendly =P) lighting that will be on a timer so our home will always be lit at night.

    i’m not sure how to get something done about lighting outside of your property though, like street alleys and corners. Maybe someone here has an idea or might know who to contact to get help with that?

  2. Great question!
    If you’ve got a street light that isn’t working, here’s a link to report it to Seattle City Light:

    I’ve found that they have a pretty good response time – usually within a week to 10 days.

    I also called City Light about how to get a new street light. They said to call the representative for our area and ask them to evaluate the situation:
    Percy – 206-386-4246

  3. Lighting and reporting crime activity are great ideas. One of our neighbors has installed a light that is directed at their car so it is always well lit at night. It also might help to just make your presence known. It seems that gardening or doing other housework in the front yard when it is nice out helps to show others that this is your neighborhood too and that you’re not afraid/intimidated to go about your everyday life. Picking up litter also helps the appearance and mood of the neighborhood.

    This neighborhood group: has arranged a trash pick up this weekend. They might be a good resource to see how to get a similar group started in your specific neighborhood (if you aren’t already close by to them). I believe the city can provide neighborhood groups with trash pick up materials.

    Keep calling 911 to report the illegal activity!

  4. As a new poster let me say thanks to everyone for the information. This site is great!

    Being new to the area, we have been working at increasing our presence on our own little corner. Replacing the exterior lighting was one of the first things we did.
    Finding the balance between sufficient, safe lighting levels and trying to avoid excessive light pollution spilling out everywhere is crucial for us.
    cdguy, thanks for posting Scott’s previous link. After reading that, we will surely call 911 from now on to report the drug activity seen around our area. Previously, we had been calling the non-emergency number and filing narcotics activity reports. For some odd reason I had assumed that the data from the NAR’s would have been tallied into the over all #’s for our area. It seems like only the 911 calls will be taken into consideration for future statistical purposes. That’s a shame.
    And as Sarah said, we always try to make ourselves be seen. If we see some strange activity…well, it may just be time to let the dog out. I walk out with the dog so she can “go to the bathroom” and I make sure that the people see that I see them. I’m just taking the dog out, but I’m also taking mental notes and making our presence known.

  5. All these suggestions are great. Lighting, call 911, be visible out there. I’m in the same block watch group as Sarah, and we helped an adjacent area get organized last fall.

    Get to know your neighbors and their vehicles so you know who belongs there and who needs to be checked out. Do things with your neighbors (like our trash pick-ups and barbecues and the CNA’s eat-and-walk evenings in the warmer months). Not only is it fun but it helps create a sense of community so that help is available if you need it.

    If drug sellers are blocking access to places you want to patronize, talk with the business owners and tell them they are losing sales because customers are uncomfortable trying to enter.

    It all takes time and creativity and sometimes a little courage, but it’s worth it.

  6. Walking back from the Broadway & Pike QFC Last night I saw two hypodermic needles, one used & one unused (I think), laying on the sidewalk. My question is, what do you do about that? I’m definitely not going to pick it up, but who do you call? I think it was around 12th and Madison.

  7. There’s not any city organization that I know of that you can call to do this for you. If you choose to dispose of them yourself here’s the safe way to do it.

    -Put on disposable gloves
    -Use some kind of handled tool, like tweezers or tong’s to pick up the syringe by the plunger.
    -Don’t try to recap the needle. You could get a needle stick injury
    -Place the syringe in a hard walled container, like a bleach or liquid detergent container, something with think walls.
    -Screw on the lid and tape it shut.
    -On the side of the container use a black marker to write “SHARPS, DO NOT RECYCLE.”
    -Take the container to the South Transfer Station, 8105 5th Avenue South. (if this occurs in the city)

    Never throw a needle in the trash. It could stick you or one of the garbage dudes, plus in the city, no syringes or needles can be disposed of in the garbage.

  8. I was doing some additional research online on the topic of crime prevention and I came across “The Broken Window Theory” for crime prevention. It is explained in a book called “The Tipping Point”. As the theory goes, if there is a broken window, abandoned car, litter, or other dirty, broken, or poorly maintained item in the neighborhood, it will send a message to unsavories that no one cares about the neighborhood. The unsavories will think it is a good place to cause trouble and conduct illegal business because, since no one cares, they are less likely to be reported and to get in trouble.

    Looks like this is in line with many of the other comments as far as keeping trash picked-up, abandoned cars towed, and needles disposed of.

  9. I’m a believer in that theory. To take trash as an example, I notice that people tend to drop less trash if I go out and pick it up every day. If I’m out of town for a week, the total amount of trash when I get back will be significantly more than what I would have normally picked up in the course of a week.

    But it’s not foolproof – having a clean yard hasn’t seemed to make a dent in the crackheads that like to hang out in front of it.