Car thefts, prowls down in most of Seattle, but statistics of little consolation to new victims

SEATTLE -- New police statistics show car thefts have dropped dramatically throughout the city, as have the number of car prowls.

But a check of the numbers shows one neighborhood is still battling the problem.

Regardless, if you’re a victim the statistics don’t matter much to you.

Darien and Eric Laird got a rude awakening Tuesday morning when they discovered their driveway empty, and their car stolen.

“Definitely not a good day when your car is stolen,” said Eric.

“You think you’re in a safe neighborhood,” said Darien. “I know we live in a city but we’re also in a tight-knit community.”

Darien works at Q13 News, but on Tuesday she had to take a sick day and file a police report.

She’s not alone either; thieves rifled through several of her neighbor’s cars, too.

“Four cars in the street,” she said. “Who knows, maybe more. We haven’t talked to everyone on the street.”

The Montlake neighborhood isn’t immune to car thefts, but across the city car thefts are on the decline.

“The numbers are pretty good all across the board,” said Detective Patrick Michaud with the Seattle Police Department.

From north to south, east to west, there’s been a double-digit dip in car thefts from 2014 to 2015.

Car prowls are also mostly on the decline, except for a 15% increase in the West Seattle area, where nearly 130 new incidents were reported to police.

Lucky for the Lairds, police found their 2004 Lexus SUV in Burien.

But  Seattle Police said cars like theirs are easy for crooks to steal.

“The numbers don’t lie,” said Michaud. “If you have a Toyota, Honda, Subaru, the chances are pretty good if it’s over a certain age, somebody knows how to steal it. And if you’re going to park it on the street, take that extra step -- go out and buy the Club,  spend $20. It’s a lot less of hassle than trying to get your car back after it gets stolen.”

Plus, if you don’t want to be a victim of a car prowl, cops said people have to remove everything of value from inside the car. If a thief can see anything on the floors or seats, more people could wake up to shattered glass.

Click here to look at the latest stats from the Seattle Police Department.