Community Post

Attempted Break-in on 27th near Union

Someone wrote on one of the neighborhood listservs that there was an attempted break-in of her house on 27th near Union this morning around 10:30 am. There was an alarm system in place. The person said that she called 911 twice since that time, but as of 12:05 pm, no one has been able to come out to investigate. I hope police have come out since then, but I haven’t yet seen them.

0 thoughts on “Attempted Break-in on 27th near Union

  1. I just read on a neighborhood list serve about ANOTHER break in today in the area of 32nd and Cherry that happened while the victims were at the grocery store. Unfortunately this burglary was successful and the thieves made off with lots of electronics and a child’s piggy bank. Could it be the same perpetrators? Has anyone heard of any police activity?

  2. I was home and thought I heard something fall over like a broom handle. I went down stairs to the main floor of my house and walked to the back door. This is where I saw a mid/late teen African American male walking towards me. When we made eye contact, he bolted out of my backyard and I ran to call 911. He ran away down the back alley. After a few minutes, I walked outside to see if any damage had been done to my house. My kitchen window had been busted. It looks as if the burglar was gonna break my kitchen window to get in. My backyard is connected to my two neighbors so I went over to see if they were home. They were not but their door was wide open and the burglar had gone through their house before he tried to get into mine. My neighbors came home later and found the burglar had stolen all their portable electronics. The police officer said they have a good idea who is doing the burglaries. It sucks because this is the second time this has happen to my house and my neighbors house. My attempted robbery took place during the middle of the day. From what the police told me, both last year and this year, the people suspected in all these strings of robberies are juveniles so they can’t be prosecuted as adults yet.

  3. That’s it. I am getting a quote on ArmorCoat for my ground floor windows and glass door. After I get that info, I will post the price and distributor here. ArmorCoat makes it very difficult to break glass, and has a nice side-effect of making your house more energy efficient.

  4. First, let me say I’m sorry you had to deal with that. Not cool.

    Second, let me say that while I am not a lawyer, I find it hard the believe the cops cannot do anything against a set of juveniles (and I think we all know they live at 27th and Spring) who continually commit felonies. And I find it hard to believe that the parents cannot be held responsible in some measure for this behavior when parents can be held responsible for underage drinking.

    More importantly, this is an issue we’ve raised time and time again with Captain McDonough, and with all due respect to him, the East Precinct has totally failed in dealing with this persistent issue. I’d like to see us come up with some strategy to engage with the Capt and the Department in proactively dealing with this, and “call us when you see something suspicious” cannot be the answer.

  5. Come to the EPCPC meeting this Thursday evening (6:30 at SVI) and get these thoughts and incidents on the record. Everyone has a chance to speak frankly.

  6. Perhaps another perspective and a suggestion…

    Police efforts are at times hampered (both in the police’s & public’s eyes) by the differing set of standards applied to juveniles vs. adults. The police can catch perps all day, but they will still be out on the streets within a very short period of time. Here’s how it works:

    Juvenile crimes are classed from A-E’s (unless it’s changed recently). D-E class crimes are misdemeanors such as misdemeanor assault, minor in possession of alcohol, misdemeanor theft, etc. C’s are felonies such as taking motor vehicle w/o permission, so on and so forth. B’s are more serious felonies such as residential burglaries (which is pertinent here).

    Crimes that are rated from B-E are what are called LOCAL SANCTIONS cases, meaning they’re eligible for probation. Juvenile court has standard sentencing guidelines. The standard sentencing guideline for all local sanctions matters are as follows: 0-12 months probation, 0-150 hours community service, $0-$500 in fines, 0-30 days detention. Depending on how extensive the juvenile’s history is, they may receive the lower end of any or all of these, if any.

    Offenses rated B+ (robbery, so on and so forth) are not eligible for probation, rather the juvenile is looking at state committment. For a first committal, the juvenile (depending on the severity of the crime) is usually looking at 15-36 weeks at the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration), then they usually have a short period of state-monitored parole once they get out.

    Why do I blab on and on about this? Here’s the important part:

    Juveniles are awarded POINTS for every crime they are committed for. Misdemeanors are .25 points, felonies are 1 point. A Juvenile needs FOUR points before they are looking at state committment (read between the lines – any substantial lockup time). This is important to understand because it means that your friends at 27/Spring will not only need to be CAUGHT, but CONVICTED, FOUR…yes FOUR times before looking at any substantial time, because a residential burglary is a B-class felony…meaning that a 15 year old juvenile could catch three (3) res burg convictions and STILL be out on the street committing crimes. I haven’t even touched upon deferred disposition sentences, or the county’s efforts to keep kids OUT of secure detention (based on empirical research studies that show that more lockup time = higher recidivism rates).

    Another important thing to look at, is that unlike adult probation, juvenile probation officers are not permitted to violate their probationers immediately like Dpt of Corrections can. In order for a juvenile to be violated for a probation violation, the probation officer must set a court date (usually 2 weeks out) and PROVE to the court that the violation occured. That means 2 weeks to continue behavior patterns (so much for direct and timely consequences) if the juvenile shows up for their violation hearing at all. Juvenile Court, being what it is, usually gives the juveniles a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chance before any substantial consequences are put into play.

    I bring all of this up because there is a strong disconnect between the community and what goes on at Juvenile Court. Holding the police accountable and making sure they know what is going on is VERY important work, and I think that citizens willing to go to the monthly meetings and talk to the police should be commended for that. Equally important, is knowing who the players are over at Juvenile Court. Which Superior Court Judge handles your area (Juvie court has seperate court rooms thant handle different geographic areas of King County)? Does that Superior Court Judge even live within Seattle city limits? Do they understand the demographic and unique challenges the CD faces?

    For those of you that have had your homes broken into, did you follow up to see if the perpetrators were caught? If they were juveniles, did you go to their sentencing hearing (which is your right)? Did you have a chance to speak to the judge prior to sentencing, or better yet, have a coalition of neighbors attend as well to show the court that your community takes crime and each others’ safety?

    Just some food for thought, and here’s a website link. Juvie court is at 1211 E Alder St., and unless noted otherwise (dependency hearings and so forth), the courtrooms are open to the public.

  7. I don’t understand how these “prolific burglars”, as the police officer I talked to called them, can basically steal at will. Twice now, I’ve witnessed or have had my house robbed and each time, the police officer came in, took my name, date of birth and wrote it on a scratch piece of paper that looked like the back of a Safeway grocery receipt and that was the last time I heard about it. I bet that my experience is not an uncommon one.

    Oh yea, I forget to tell the story that happened two weeks ago. Around 12:30 at night, my roommates and I heard gun shots behind our house so we called the cops. About seven cops showed up to my house with shotguns and went through my backyard looking for people. My sister watched the shooters run away in the alley like usual. I guess after that man was shot and killed three or four block away from my house, the police decided it was to react more seriously.

    How can two houses and a group of individuals cause so much crime, violent and non violent, continuously without any legal action against them? Having the prolific criminals living behind my house, I’ve witnessed three drive-by shootings, multiple random gun fire, and robberies. It seems like something terrible has to happen before the police react.

  8. Yes, there was an attempted break-in at our house around 10:30 am. We returned while we were on the road because our alarm company sensed the kitchen window open. The perpetrator broke our window first in the front to try to open the door (they may have used rocks because we found a small rock near the broken glass). Apparently, yesterday was a busy day for the police…an officer showed up around 4 hours later to take the report (around 2:45 pm). Our friend on 32nd was able to get the police right away, though, probably because of the actual break-in/activity. thanks so much for posting, alkelda! I tried to post yesterday, but the cdnews site wouldn’t allow me to for some reason. I’d love to connect more with people around me to help stay alert!

  9. All I can say is, folks need to get and stay organized. Find your block watch, go to the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting on Thursday night, and get to know your neighbors. Keep making noise to the police, and take the excellent posting above about the juvenile system to heart. If we want things to be different in the neighborhood, we’re going to have to keep working at it.

  10. I think I can attend this time, but what results do we see out of these meetings? What I am skeptical about is this meeting being a Seattle talkathon that doesn’t produce action items or tangible results.

  11. This site is not letting me post comments either – I just lost my entire long comment, and I’m not sure I can recreate all of it, so I’m sorry if this sounds a bit testy.
    Anyway, I suspect Captain McDonagh is tired of listening to me give the same report every meeting. We need more people to come and and explain what the problem is – if enough of us say the same thing, we may be able to get a response, whether it is SPD action or guidance in how to do something ourselves or whatever. Maybe we need a neighborhood task force for just this topic. Maybe we can meet with an appropriate SPD officer to discuss this one thing. We need more info – is this gang-related? Are all the perps in this house juveniles? What about abatement?
    Please come to the meeting this Thursday and make yourselves heard – we’ll never have any power as a neighborhood unless we work together and speak as a group. 6:30 pm, SVI, 4th floor.

  12. If a group of angry neighbors want to organize, we can all attend sentencing hearings, etc., en masse and testify. I have done this once only several years ago (alone) and it was quite instructive and my comments had an effect on the sentence. We might want to set up a meeting specifically with the E Precinct and talk about strategy–I agree that the EPCPC meetings while informative are mainly vent sessions.

  13. I think meetings are great, but I’m concerned that we call for meetings and no one attends. People see so many different meetings being called and they figure, oh another meeting. What ever happened to the meeting that was organized at Tuogo’s when the last rash of burglaries occured. I recall it was to revive the CDN or something like that. Not to call you out Elvis, but I recall this blog volunteered you to be “our leader”. what came of that meeting? Why can’t we have a reoccuring meeting so that we can build some momentum. We can use this blog to help us get organized, update and so on and so forth. I would participate, but it seems like there is no real organization. Thanks for listening to a concerned neighbor.

  14. The meeting was held, along with a follow-up one. These have been reported on this web site (mostly recently approximately August 22). The group is still organizaing, and there will be recurring meetings, but with school starting next week, there will probably be a delay until late September or so in order for people to attend to back-to-school events.
    This will be an ongoing organization; we also probably need, either separately or as adjuncts to CDNA, ad hoc groups/task forces/whatever you want to call them, to focus on specific problems such as bus stop drug activity, certain houses that seem to foster criminal activity, etc.

  15. I was thinking of a specific meeting, called with E. Precinct, to talk about the inhabitants of the house on 27th and Union, and to ask for strategies to help the police contain the teens there. We need to start working with the juvenile system AND the police and that may mean all of us meeting with social workers, etc., to put more pressure on other parts of the ‘system’. I don’t believe that griping again and again to the police about a running sore like this establishment accomplishes much…

  16. PT:

    First, let me say I am 100% ok with you calling me out. If you ride in on the white horse, you gotta know you’re gonna get shot at.

    A group of us–no more than 8-12 people–have met twice at Tougo. This meeting was to discuss how best to revive the CDNA (Central District Neighborhood Association). This means creating by-laws, electing officers, and forming an organizational structure (committees, etc). I think both meetings were super constructive and included open and honest dialogue.

    This is certainly a process, one I think many, including myself, wish we could abbreviate, but I think it’s necessary and will make the organization much stronger in the long run. All that said, in the long run the only way the CDNA creates a voice is to have active members. It’s really the sum of the parts and we need your input and help.

    We are planning another meeting for the end of Sept to put forward ideas on how the CDNA should be structured, create by-laws, and elect officers. We hope you’ll attend and we’ll be sure to alert folks about the meeting in the next few weeks.

  17. I would imagine the East Precinct folks know exactly who we need to work with in the juvenile system, and could point us in the right direction. If they are the crew who have been doing this last round of break-ins, it’s time to get them locked up for a while.

  18. I only made it to the second meeting, but I thought it was productive and there’s definitely forward motion. Unfortunately these things *do* take time, but having a better voice with the City, SPD, etc. will make it well worth the effort.

  19. Everyone seems to “ASSume” the Who & Where, but its all speculative at best. It’s easy to point the finger at the young african american teens who live in multiple locations between Cherry, Union, MLK & 23rd, but with out undeniable proof, its just wide-cast blame. So, before any fires are set to any homes in our sector of the grid, use some forethought and try to get some footage, pictures or something that puts a face to a crime, instead of pointing the finger at the “easy to blame”.

  20. Many of these are known juveniles, not assumptions. The houses they live in are documented. But no fires should be set to any houses in our grid or any other, nor should any other damage or violence be performed!
    Many of us are aware of the circumstances, economic and otherwise, that foster at least some of these problems, and we are trying to find ways to improve the dismal factors that create these conditions while at the same time trying to stop the behavior that is endangering the safety and property of the neighbors. Some of the people trying to solve the problem from both directions have been victims of the criminal activity under discussion, but although the young people engaged in criminal, especially violent, activity need to be held accountable and redirected to more positive behavior, in most cases “lock them up forever” is not the answer, either for them or for our community.

  21. Though fighting destruction with more destruction is foolish, I witnessed the burglar trying to break into my house last Tuesday at 11:30am. I saw who he was. I am not making an assumption about the teenager who threaten to shoot me as I was walking by the intersection of 27th and Spring St. I’m not making assumptions about the two drive by shootings I’ve personally witnessed that have happened on 27th and Spring St. Having my house broken in last year and an attempted burglary this year, I’ve talked with two separate sets of police officers who both have said the same thing; you have some interesting neighbors that house some juveniles with multiple offenses for burglary. I don’t think it’s wide cast blame going on. I’m pretty sure a large portion of these burglaries are done by the teenagers who have long criminal records for burglary. I think it’s pretty straight forward.

  22. As someone who works with juveniles in one of the state institutions I would like to make a few corrections:
    1. the reason that standards for juveniles are different from standards for adults is that juveniles are, in fact, fundamentally different from adults in terms of brain development, life experience, ability to alter their own living environment and many other factors.
    2. kids can be sent up with long sentences for their first offense, I see it all the time.
    3. longer sentences do not necessarily lead to better outcomes (I know, you don’t care what happens to them, but keep in mind that better outcomes = less crime)
    4. our adult prison system is phenomenally ineffective at deterring crime, so sentencing juveniles “as adults” is not going to help–California does it all the time and their juvenile justice system is a disaster.

    I’m not minimizing the fact that kids can engage in extremely destructive and harmful behavior and I also get tired of hearing gun shots and seeing kids in baggy clothes blocking the road. All I’m saying is, this is a major social problem that is only going to get worse if we try to solve it by treating our poorest, lowest functioning youth as if they had the same resources and capacities of adults.

  23. Incarceration is not necessarily rehabilative, despite JRA’s moniker. Good post from someone on the other side of the walls by the way, and your points are pretty valid. I suppose I should have prefaced my background a bit prior to putting the abridged version of facts out there:

    1. Former youth counselor in a large East Coast city prior to moving to Seattle. Helped create midnight basketball leagues, anti-gang programs, afterschool programs for inner-city youth in the early ’90s.
    2. Used to run a DYS facility in a bigger city that Seattle.
    3. Former juvenile probation officer including city supervision, drug court, and mental health court.

    Seeing juvenile probationers sent up for substantial periods of time on their 1st offense does happen, but you and I both know it’s not for the crimes that I mentioned above, A felonies and A+ felonies (shootings, drive-by shootings, Assault-1s, Murder, so on and so forth) are auto-adulted to adult court. Many auto-adult cases get kicked back to the juvenile system and thusly the offender goes to JRA.

    Juvenile offenders RARELY go up past the 15-36 week standard range on a 1st committable offense for non A Class felonies if under the auto-adult exception.

    I think you’re jumping to a HUGE conclusion to assume that no one cares about what happens to a juvenile offender once they’re committed especially since it’s the community that inherits them back again once they come out – and they always come out, it’s more a question of HOW PREPARED they are when they do, and that’s up to the opportunities that you and your coworkers provide at JRA while they’re there.

    I’ve seen plenty of success stories while I was a juvie PO, and I recommended sending way more juveniles to JRA than I would have liked to. Since I was on the committment side of things prior to being a PO, I know what the other side looks like as well, and I know 1st hand how difficult it is to de-institutionalize a committed offender once they’re there.

    However, this all must be balanced out – I don’t think anyone in their heart of hearts wants to see another fellow human being taken out of society, especially a juvenile. However, you should know as do I, based on your experience and training that longstanding psychological research indicates that personality traits in developing adolescents are usually fixed by the age of 16. Behavioral traits can be learned and unlearned, but challenging and modifying pre-existing world views is not something that can be accomplished by external stimulus only.

    You can’t change people that don’t want to be changed internally. Juvenile institutions are a part of that process; first by the physical external controls of the environment, external rewards for good behavior and non-toxic thinking at first, and then hopefully counseling and group therapy will lead the juvenile to make some internal changes for themselves because they see the benefit of prosocial activity for themselves, not just for the external positive/negative consequences of their actions.

    Sometimes this can be achieved even before institutionalization becomes necessary, but again, you have to balance this all out taking the juvenile offender’s impact on the community into account.

    The point system hasn’t changed, has it? Instead of looking at residential burglaries (which seems to be the major concern here on CDNews), let’s look at auto theft.

    Don’t know about you, but aside from my home, my car is the most expensive thing I own. In WA, car theft, or Taking a Motor Vehicle Without Permission in the 2nd degree (TMVWP-2), is a Class C felony. I’ve known A LOT of car thieves in my time. One of the more common C Class felonies that juveniles get referred to YSC for.

    So I’ll use an example of a former probationer I had. X was a car thief. X had parents, money, and a traditional 1st generation immigrant value system within their home. X was so good, X could steal 4-5 cars in a week, and did. X did not use a lot of drugs (a little marijuana here and there, but never got into dealing or heavier drugs), rarely drank. X just liked to steal cars, and stealing cars was OK. That was X’s world view.

    Typically, a car thief such as this can steal 8-12 cars before getting caught. I’ll say that again…8-12. X finally got caught, however, since this was X’s 1st felony offense, X was granted a Deferred Disposition (stipulated plea with the incentive of getting the felony conviction vacated off of X’s record if X completed imposed probation requirements to the court’s satisfaction). X came onto my caseload and adjusted pretty well, initially. X was smart, but hated school. X also had a lot of enemies, and I spent a lot of time trying to find a school and alternative bus routes home that would work for X to avoid any confrontations with ex-gang rivals, or other folks that X would get in trouble with. X finally got into a good match, and pulled straight A’s…until X started stealing cars again. I violated X a few times for curfew violations as well as school attendance violations, but that wasn’t enough for the deferred disposition to be revoked.

    X stole a few more cars, finally got caught again and there was enough evidence to be charged again with TMV.

    Now…you would think that X’s deferred disposition would be immediately revoked, especially after the previous probation violations, right? WRONG. One of the bits of language in a deferred disposition sentence is “No New Criminal Law Convictions”. X had to go through the court system again, get CONVICTED of a 2nd TMVWP-2 before X’s 1st one would be considered for revocation. X was convicted of #2, and lost the deferred. This was 4 months into a 6 month probation term.

    Now go back to the math at the beginning of this post, and my rough point calculations from my initial post.

    Car thief, 8-12 cars prior to being caught. Finally gets caught, given a chance to fly right and given a HUGE incentive of an expunged juvie record. Didn’t happen, catches 2nd conviction after stealing about 4-5 more cars (that I knew of anyway – none of those were actionable until the charges were filed, however). Calculating at the lowest range of the 8-12 figure + car thefts while on probation (4-5), we’re now at TWELVE car thefts. TWELVE. X’s limit to JRA? 2 felony convictions = 2 points. X was only 1/2 to even LOOKING at JRA time, and remember, for misdemeanor convictions, you round DOWN.

    Let’s bring this back to residential burglaries, which are, like TMV, local sanction crimes, worth 1 point per conviction. Now go back over X’s scenario and replace the cars with people’s homes. Average $5k-$10 loss per home (repairs + belongings stolen), and think about how much one antisocial juvenile can affect an entire community.

    So…yes, we should never give up on juvenile offenders for all of the reasons you mentioned, anna. However, and I know from experience, it’s easy as a juvenile worker to become so invested in the juvenile that we sometimes forget about the impact that juvenile has on the community at large. You’re now talking about TWELVE families affected by one person’s actions; TWELVE police reports, TWELVE insurance claims, TWELVE people’s ability to get to work affected, TWELVE alternative babysitting/childcare plans that must be put into effect…so on and so forth.

    I could go on about X’s story because X is now in the adult system, and X’s father is heartbroken. I still see him from time to time and he still talks about X with a glimmer of hope in his eyes…though lately it’s more a tired resignation that X has chosen X’s own path.

    I blab on about this again to highlight the disconnect between the greater community and the juvenile system, or the whole court system for that matter. I did not attend the meeting tonight, however I hope someone brought up the possibility of SPD and the KC Prosecuting Attny Office working with residents of the CD…


    eyes open

  24. Thank you, eyes open and anna and all who are contributing to this discussion. For those of us who are new to learning how the system actually works (or sometimes doesn’t), it’s going to take a lot of catch-up reading, identifying the acronyms and other definitions, reflection, improved observation skills, etc., etc.
    I’m feeling the need for a class or some comprehensive but focused attachments to postings that we can print out and study. Pulling out and printing the relevant comments from a long thread is tedious and haphazard, especially when they are part of updates to old posts (a lot of people will miss this great info because it’s part of story that started several days ago and gets updated but the updates will missed by all but the most persistent readers).
    Most people’s lives are already more than full, and it’s hard to fit in a whole new category, even one as important as this, unless it can be packaged as Juvenile Justice 101 or some such, and distilled into some format we can handle efficiently.
    I’m definitely not saying to stop posting on this site – this is all useful and eye-opening – I’m saying that this has been so good that I’m seeing the need to get the basic stuff into a format – written or class or both – that we can actually study and then act on.
    Scott’s report on last night’s meeting, which I did attend, is of course part of this and much appreciated – I’m just feeling that it’s all so fragmented that I may be missing huge important pieces of it that either don’t get posted at all or that get included in an older or seemingly irrelevant story that I don’t know to go back and read.
    Is there someone who can or does conduct a class/seminar/workshop/whatever on all this that could bring us up to speed on what we need to know? Maybe in October when everyone’s back from vacation, has their back-to-school events finished, etc.?