SEATTLE — Crime continues to plague downtown Seattle as business owners say they are under siege from thieves and vandals.
Seattle police have recorded 1,869 burglaries so far this year, and it’s only in April. Some businesses said they’ve been hit several times.
KIRO 7 talked with four business or building owners Wednesday. Three said the break-in discussed wasn’t their first or even second burglary. Some owners who made police reports said they’d prefer an officer come out to take the report instead of making an online report. Other owners said they don’t even call police anymore.
“Ah, this isn’t our first rodeo unfortunately in Belltown,” said Hatch Cantina general manager and co-owner Jason Morganstern.
Morganstern said the break-in last week, their third this year, left them with a trashed bar.
“Our alarm was going off and the thieves had essentially broken our backdoor and made their way into the office, stole whatever they could take,” Morganstern said. “The second time we called the police. The first time we called the police. The third time we don’t call the police.”
Morganstern said he didn’t call police because a third insurance claim would hike up his rates, and it’s not worth it. The first two times he called 911 after a burglary, police didn’t show for six hours.
“The police are very overwhelmed with a lot of other crimes in the city and unfortunately there’s just not enough of them,” Morganstern said.
Instead, Morganstern is almost in an arms race with the burglars. He’s changed out locks and added a security bar to the windows to block anyone who breaks the window from getting in.
A few blocks away, Michael Hoyle at Hoyle Hats had his first break-in.
“There’s a spot on the door, you can see where they used a crowbar to bust it open. It’s the valuables. Brand new camera, brand new laptop, the point of sale, the tools,” Hoyle explained.
Security images from Hoyle Hat’s security cameras show what looks like a break-in kit on the floor. The Seattle Police Department’s Crime Dashboard shows they’ve seen close to 2,000 burglaries reported this year.
Hoyle did call 911, but dispatch routed him to the non-emergency line and ultimately was told by an automated machine to make the report online.
He made the online police report but said if the person responsible pays attention to the response, they know police aren’t likely to show up.
“I don’t feel like there was any – there’s no acknowledgement. There’s nothing preventing anybody from doing this again,” Hoyle said.
Hoyle has set up a GoFundMe to recoup losses from the theft.
SPD still recommends calling 911 for burglaries, and if an officer doesn’t show up it’s because they’re spread thin at that time. Morganstern also said when he called police for an active, violent crime, they arrived in seconds.
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