We have learned that there has been a substantial increase in burglaries in the area around 15th and Cherry within the past couple of months. Multiple residences have been hit and it appears to be occurring mostly during the day.
Last night, several residents of this area came to the EPCPC (East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition) meeting to tell their stories. A few houses have had multiple break-ins in the past month and the residents feel that the thieves are watching their activities, waiting for them to leave for work, and then breaking into their homes. They also say that another tactic used by the thieves is simply to go door to door knocking to see if people are home. Neighbors in that area say that there has been a significant increase in the amount of knocks at the door during the day and advised people not to ignore these knocks, and make it known that someone is home.
One of the residents that has been hit multiple times claims that police have done, well, jack squat. The thieves have left finger prints and have even used stolen personal checks to pay their cell phone bills, but police tell them that they don’t have enough evidence to arrest the “alleged” thieves. Another resident claims to have been home at the time one of these “alleged” thieves was casing the house and caught him in the act of standing on another’s shoulders to gain entry to the second floor. When police arrived, the resident was able to visually identify the suspects, but the police told them that the “alleged” thieves broke no laws because they were just looking in. The resident claims that the officer refused to even question the suspects.
Many residents of this area are very frustrated with the way these situations have been handled by the police and urged the rest of the neighborhood to be alert and more aware of the people and activities that occur in the neighborhood. At the meeting they were reassured by the police that they would get to the bottom of this.
I read your story about two weeks ago. Friday, 2/8 it was after dark, and raining. I parked near the corner of 15th and Columbia. There was a person on the sidewalk in dark clothes, with a hood pulled over his head—no surprise, in the rain. I noticed because “he” turned away from the headlights. It took me time to organize my stuff, before I got out of the car. The person at first seemed to be “passing through”, but then crossed the street—basically staying within 50 ft of the intersection, crossing from one corner to another, standing behind trees, in shadow—as if not wanting to be seen as “hanging around.” The word is ‘loitering’. People in the building have had cars stolen from this block, myself included, so this worried me. I could see the intersection—and my car—from my apt. window. When cars drove down the street, the person would walk along as if heading somewhere, but return after they passed. After about 15 minutes, and thinking of your story, I called the “non-emergency” line for the SPD and reported it. I don’t know if police came by. I felt like a f—ing busybody, and forgot about it. I mean, it’s not against the law to hang out, even in the rain, in the dark, right?
On Monday, 2/11, an apt. on this corner was broken into between 8:30 AM and noon, when another tenant noticed a broken window on the 1st floor, on a side of the bldg not seen easily from the street. The intruder entered through this window, but walked out onto Columbia in the sunshine with a laundry basket full of someone else’s stuff. I can’t help but feel that the area was being observed that rainy night, and that it probably still is.
The people that spoke at this meeting definitely thought that the burglars were working as a team, using lookouts. They also felt that they lived in the neighborhood. Its nice being robbed by your neighbors.