Post Office Offers Daily Mail Notifications

At the November meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, we heard from Seattle Police Department representatives Mary Amberg and Officer Bryan Kennedy about a great new program offered by the postal service that will notify you daily of the contents of your mail delivery so you can be sure it arrives safely.

Read the complete minutes of the November meeting.

Called “Informed Delivery,” once you sign up it will, “Digitally preview your mail and manage your packages scheduled to arrive soon.” Officer Kennedy reminded us that, “Seattle has a huge problem with property crime,” especially this time of year when everyone is getting packages. With Informed Delivery, you know exactly what to expect in your mailbox (or door) every day in case something should go missing.

We were also reminded not to leave your items in the car when shopping at the mall this season.

In other news at the community council meeting, we heard from Katie Bang from Seattle Parks about the playground renovation project.  Originally scheduled for completion last September, due to a concrete strike, a water runoff redesign, and the weather, the playground portion of the project is now expected to be finished in mid-December (ribbon-cutting in January?).  In the spring the contractors will begin work on the walking path around the field and finish the basketball court.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, December 19th at the co-op preschool building in Victory Heights Park.

What To Do About Drug Use In The Park?

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council focused on an increase in drug dealing and using in and around Victory Heights Park.

Read the complete minutes of the September meeting.

Neighbors have discovered used needles near the co-op preschool building in the park, and suspicious characters loitering in the park at night, and parked along 19th Avenue NE. Calls to the police seem to be responded to too late or not at all. And the city isn’t keen on signs, surveillance cameras or more lights in the park. What can concerned residents do? Well for starters, you should always call 911 when you see something suspicious. The city tracks crime statistics and if we start calling attention to this problem, this will get action in the long run even if the police don’t show up every time you call. There will also be an attempt to get the residents across the park along 19th Avenue to get organized and perhaps put up yard signs of their own saying the neighborhood is watching. If every yard had a sign, that would send a clear message. Crime happens when criminals think nobody cares. And finally, once district elections are over for city council, we will have a representative who we can go to (hopefully backed up with statistics–keep calling 911) and get them to grease the wheels of city government to make sure the park does not fall into ruin and neglect. Together we can make a difference!

The next meeting of the community council will be Tuesday, October 20th. Make a date to attend if you’d like to be part of the solution.

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Caroling, Crime and Elections at Community Meeting

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council was a mixed bag of different topics, including a presentation by Alex Vallandry of Seattle Neighborhood Group.

Read the complete minutes of the December meeting.

Alex spoke about the recent spate of car prowls and thefts and what can be done to reduce them (don’t keep anything valuable–or frankly stealable–in your car, park in well-lit areas, don’t drive 1990s era Hondas). But the silver lining if your car is stolen is it’s usually opportunists looking for a quick trip somewhere, 86% of cars are recovered, most within 12 blocks from where they were stolen. Mail theft came up, definitely a hot topic at this time of year (in fact, I found stolen mail alongside the road today and returned it to the owners, the packages had all been torn open and the contents stolen. The mail had been removed from unlocked mailboxes). Possible deterrents include finding a neighbor who stays home and having packages delivered to them instead of sitting on your doorstep, getting them delivered at work, or going in with neighbors to buy a group locking mailbox.

Caroling will return to Victory Heights again this year, starting at 6:30 PM next Tuesday, December 23rd.  Meet up at the Harris house, 10512 17th Avenue NE (enter on the NE 106th side), where music sheets, cookies, and hot cider will be offered before everyone heads out into the streets. Read about last year’s caroling event.

Finally, elections are coming for the board members and officers of the Victory Heights Community Council. These two year positions include the search for a new President and Vice-President. You might think this sounds like a lot of work, but mostly the President delegates the work to someone else and just has to run the meetings once a month, which pretty much run themselves. Interested in running or being on the council’s executive board? Write to Ardith Lupton.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 7 PM in the usual location at the preschool building in Victory Heights Park. Happy holidays, everyone!

Burglary Rate Falls But Residents Worry About Crime

At last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council, residents heard a presentation by Elizabeth Scott, the Crime Prevention Coordinator from the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who said that compared with a similar period last year, burglaries are down in the Lincoln 2 sector that Victory Heights is part of.

Read the entire minutes of last night’s meeting.

However this did not assuage the concerns of some residents who, citing personal experience (and recent articles in The Seattle Times), felt SPD was not treating property crime seriously. Even though her job is helping residents with crime preventation, and not being a spokesman for the department, she said dispatchers have to prioritize cases and burglaries can be a lower priority at times depending on what other calls are coming in. “There are limitations to what we can do.”

Given the recent publicity in The Times, the new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, said they would be reviewing police procedures. It is still important to report any robberies because it does provide data to the police department of what is happening where and how resources are allocated. On the prevention front, Elizabeth reminded us to lock your doors, make sure your house looks occupied even when it’s not, and store and lock up any ladders or tools that are outside that could be used to enter your house.

Meanwhile, if you need to report a non-emergency such as a homeless encampment or abandoned car, you can call 684-CITY, or use the new Find It Fix It app for your Android or iPhone. For added safety, you can register your mobile phone at Smart911.com with your personal information which would then be displayed if you ever call 911 to let them know who you are and your home address, which might be invaluable during an emergency.

And while burglaries are down, car thefts are up, particularly if you drive a 1990s Honda, Toyota or Subaru. Very often these cars are used by joy riders who leave them on the side of the road afterwards. Lock your cars, use a Club, and never leave valuables inside.

The next meeting of the community council is Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at the Co-Op Preschool building in Victory Heights Park starting at 7 PM.

 

The Victory Heights Community Council versus The World Crime League

It may not be a conspiracy, but the level of crime in Victory Heights lately has been unsettling to attendees of last night’s Victory Heights Community Council.

Read the full minutes of last night’s meeting.

Back at its regular meeting place in the Co-Op Pre-School building in Victory Heights Park, last night the council heard about recent criminal activity including a car stolen just hours earlier from 23rd Avenue NE that had also been stolen just a month earlier from the same location! A number of mail thefts have occurred as well, not only from unlocked mail boxes but the attempted jimmying of locked boxes on 20th Avenue NE. A number of car prowls and burglaries have been reported in recent weeks too.

No doubt the warm summer weather encouraged the criminal element to be out and seize on opportunities, but it’s also very important for residents to always call the police when you see something amiss or suspicious. The police need to know what is going on in our community so they can respond appropriately.

In November, the North Precinct of the Seattle Police Department will be sending their community liaison officer to attend our community council meeting, and they will be able to discuss block watches as well as other methods that can be used to deter crime. That will be on November 18th.

In other business, a motion passed to name the new traffic circle on 23rd Avenue NE after the late Susan Causin. And a dog poop bag dispenser is about to be installed in the park in case any dog owners forget to bring their own bags. It will be restocked by volunteers.

The next meeting will be at the pre-school at 7PM on Tuesday, October 21st.

Crime Wave Strikes 17th Avenue NE

On Tuesday, a resident on 17th Avenue NE saw two black men in the 20s approach her neighbor’s house around 10 AM, knock on the door, determine nobody was home and then left. About 15 minutes later, the neighbor’s burglar alarm went off when intruders broke a window on the side of the house (away from the watchful resident) and quickly stole an iPod and laptop and got away before police arrived. Moral of the story: if you see suspicious activity, call the police. Other residents reported seeing the two men knock on other doors along 17th Avenue.

Have you seen me? Last spotted on the traffic circle at 17th Ave NE & NE 107th Street.

Have you seen me? Last spotted on the traffic circle at 17th Ave NE & NE 107th Street.

Also, one of the sandwich-board yard signs used by the Victory Heights Community Council has gone missing. It was last seen on the traffic circle on 17th Avenue NE and NE 106th Street until it disappeared sometime before Tuesday evening. Any information about where it might be would be appreciated, contact the blog: victoryheights@aol.com.

Highlights of June’s VH Community Council Meeting

Last night 18 residents attended June’s Victory Heights Community Council meeting at the Pre-School building in the park on a lovely, sunny summer evening. Several new faces were lured in, having seen some of the new road signs used to advertise community events. Among the highlights were an update on emergency preparedness plans, the neighborhood night out, the homeless situation,and break-ins.

Read the full minutes from the June 18, 2013 meeting.

The Emergency Preparedness Committee showed off the neighborhood map where we are trying to assign a “zone Captain” for each block to distribute city-made fliers to residents about preparation, and be organized in the case of a disaster. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact us. It’s not a lot of work and we certainly hope we never need it, but better prepared than not. A meeting of Captains and a representative of the city’s SNAP program will be on July 15th.

The Victory Heights Neighborhood Night Out will be on Tuesday, August 6th with the entire neighborhood invited to a potluck to be held on NE 106th Street, adjacent to the west side of Victory Heights Park starting at 6 PM. The plan is to be able to provide free ice cream afterwards. Mark your calendars!

The Lake City Farmers market starts Thursday June 20th from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM every Thursday through the summer at NE 125th Street and 28th Avenue NE.

The city has posted a notice on the homeless encampment underneath the 15th Avenue NE bridge giving them a few days to move out before the city comes in and cleans it out. It’s regrettable but the city needs to enforce its ordinances against illegal encampments on city property.

There seems to have been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood lately.  Terrie Johnston with the Seattle Police Department replied in an email request about this, “With some exceptions, I do not believe the burglaries are related, too many incidents, too many different methods of entry, etc.” We were given the usual advice: don’t make your house an easy target, lock your doors and windows, always answer (but don’t open) the door if someone knocks (so they know it is occupied), call 911 if you see someone suspicious. More tips on the SPD website.

Next month’s meeting will be on July 16th at the Pre-School and we’ll hear from a representative from Feet First about improving walking routes around the neighborhood.

Arson Suspected During Burglary On 20th Avenue NE

From the Seattle Police Department Blotter:

Neighbors observed smoke coming from a North Seattle home and called Seattle Fire Department (SFD).  On 5/26/13, just shortly after 9:00 p.m., officers responded to a home in the 11000 block of 20 Av NE . SFD was already on scene and advised officers that when they arrived they found the front door open with its window broken out.  SFD contained the fire which appeared to have been started in a back bedroom closet.

After further investigation, it was determined that the residence had been burglarized and then a fire started.  The suspects attempted to enter via a basement door and when that didn’t work they entered through the front by breaking the window.

It is unknown at this time if anything was taken. Arson Bomb Squad (ABS) responded and took over the scene.  CSI responded also and processed the scene.

 Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call 9-1-1. Anonymous tips are welcome.

Community Council Seeks Emergency Block Captains

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council included a presentation from the Emergency Planning Committee about how our neighborhood should respond in the event of a catastrophic disaster that shuts down the normal means of communication and travel. To that end, a map has been created with each block in Victory Heights broken down into “zones” with the hopes of finding a Captain for each zone who would first liaise with residents in their zone in coming months, distribute city brochures on emergency preparedness, and in the event of an actual emergency, contact their neighbors, and be responsible for relaying information to a central location.

Read the full minutes of the May Meeting.

The city and emergency planning experts advise that every household should be prepared to be self-sufficient for up to three weeks before outside aid, food, electricity or water might be restored in case of a disaster. The purpose of the Planning Committee is to make residents aware of what they should do beforehand, as well as letting them know what plans for the community have been put in place. If you would like to volunteer as a Captain for your block, please let us know. The Committee will train Captains for doing outreach as well as supply all the brochures and information they will need. We all hope of course that such a disaster never occurs but we want to be ready if it ever does.

Other items discussed at last night’s meeting included the Spring Clean scheduled for Saturday, the recent break-ins in the area and how to let the police know about suspicious activity (we are their eyes and ears, call 911 if you see something that looks wrong), building a Little Free Library near the park so folks can exchange books, and organizing the picnic/Night Out in late July or early August for the entire neighborhood.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, June 18th, at a location to be determined (the Pre-School doesn’t have use of the building in the park during the summer months).

Community Council Meeting May 21st

The Victory Heights Community Council will have its next meeting on Tuesday, May 21st at 7 PM in the Pre-School building in the park. All residents of Victory Heights are encouraged to attend and help improve our neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the planned speaker from Sound Transit won’t be able to make it this month. But we will be discussing the efforts of the Emergency Preparedness Committee to assemble block watch captains for every street in Victory Heights. Also, planning a pot luck in August during the annual Night Out, and building a free lending library station for the neighborhood.  There have also been a rash of break-ins recently, including one of the Community Council’s board members! Police response has been good, but we still need to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. Find out how you can help.