Saturday, April 12, 2008

Is Seattle dangerous city ?

I have lived in Seattle for 19 years and became a victim of crimes three times. I was brought up in Japan and lived there for 30 years and was never encountered crime. Does it mean Seattle is dangerous city or US is the dangerous country?
My first incident was two months after I came to Seattle. It happened in the morning on the way to the bus stop. A man came across the road and grabbed my bag. I tried to hold on my bag. He was stronger than me and took my bag and ran. I went back and my host father reported the incident. I was very afraid going anywhere by myself for a long time. The mugger was never caught.
The second incident happened when my first son was about three years old. We lived in rough neighborhood of Rainier valley. Our house had security alarm. In the day of the incident we forgot setting the alarm. When we got home in the evening, the front window of our house was broken. We found that someone stole our computer. Our house was no longer safe place. My son was afraid going home. The police recovered our computer by stopping gangs’ car and caught the thief several days later. The thief was the neighbor’s eleven years old son who lived three houses away. Our neighbor was from Cambodia and didn’t speak English and he showed my husband a stack of business cards from police officers.
The third happened the last month. Our house was broken into at about 2:00am in the morning. Being tired and sleepy my husband and I forgot locking the doors of our house and turned all the lights. I never expected that someone came from the back door after going through the fence. When my husband woke up by our cat jumping down from our bed, he saw the shadow of the man. He yelled at the person.”Who are you? What are you doing my house? Get out my house.” I thought he was a sleep talking. But I woke up and found our two laptop computers were gone. I wanted to run after the thief. But my husband stopped me going out. He was still half a sleep. I phoned police immediately. The police officers came to our house with their dog about 10 minutes later. They found my husband’s camera on our drive way. The dog sniffed the trace of the criminal to only couple blocks from our house. You may think we live in the bad neighborhood. We live in the nice neighborhood. We walk around our neighborhood safely at night. We have some view of Lake Washington and our neighbor’s house was sold close to million dollars. Our house is small old three bedrooms house while the houses across the streets have better view and are new and large. I don’t know why the thief decided to come to our house instead of other fancy houses.
Fortunately no one was hurt and nothing important was stolen. The both laptops were repaired by the computer technician and were not in good shape. One of my stolen laptop computers had been infected by virus and another have problem turning switch on. The thief may have hard time to sell these old imperfect laptops. I haven’t heard any news from the police. After this happened, my cat which used to sit by my laptop disappeared couple of days and she have never sat her old place again.These are my bad experiences since I came to Seattle. Although my carelessness somewhat contributed to the incidents, I feel unsafe even my doors locked. It seems somebody is watching us and s/he takes advantage of an unguarded moment.


Anonymous said...

One crime every 6 years dangerous?


I'd say 99.999% of people would like to be subject to the same 'insane' level of crime as yourself.

Anonymous said...

don't be so sure..

i'm definitely not in your 99.999%.

one in every six years...that is bad enough.

FrZ+ said...

A yes, and a no. Compared to most American cities, Seattle is a relatively safe city, which is not the same thing as saying it's truly "safe". In most urban areas, it is a bad idea to leave your doors unlocked, and there are always going to be some parts of the city where if you plan to take an evening stroll, it's a good idea to bring a platoon of armed Marines with you. This happily is not always the case in small town/rural America, where people lock their doors before going on vacation, then can't find them when they get home again.
On the other hand, I lived three years in Okinawa, first off-base (I was a Marine chaplain), and in the third year on base. Off base, in the crowded capital city of Naha, My wife or teenage daughter could go for walks in the middle of the night, and if approached by an Okinawan man it would be only to ask if she were lost, and could he help. Then we moved on base. Two weeks later, the American teenaged son of a Marine officer broke into our house through a side window in hopes of stealing whatever he could find. I dissuaded him, and turned him over to the MPs. The most dangerous place we discovered in urban Okinawa was on the US Base!
There is a lesson here, but I'm not sure just what it is.