'Everyone is on high alert!' North Seattle neighbors invest in security cameras to catch criminals

SEATTLE – Neighbors in a North Seattle are banding together after multiple car prowls and thefts. They are using DIY security systems and posting their findings to the app Next Door.

“I heard the alert go off, it chimed outside,” said Erik Karlson. He said it was one in the morning on a Friday when he was alerted someone was outside his home.

“When the lights went on, it didn’t look like he had any hustle in him,” he said. Karlson watched the man via his bedroom window, while on the phone with police. “He kind of took his time and spent about a minute and half in the car.”

He said a minute later, he saw the man walking down the driveway. It took only minutes for police to respond, another 20 he said for them to find the man. Once police identified the man Karlson saw, they ran his criminal record. He had multiple convictions for robbery, prowls, and even rape.

“It’s pretty alarming to know that someone like that was on the property,” said Karlson. He said he’s spent close to $300 dollars in security cameras, motion detectors, and lights to protect his property and peace of mind.

He found through the app Next Door, he’s not alone.

“Everyone’s on high alert, pretty fed up,” he said.

Just down the road from Karlson, lives Rich Eicher. He said after he installed security cameras on his property, it didn’t take long to start capturing the activity in their Maple Leaf neighborhood.

“I think I probably see someone trying our car doors at least once every 10 days to two weeks,” said Eicher. “I am not sure people on the north end realize how frequent it is.”

Police are looking for a man Eicher caught red-handed trying to steal his car. Eicher said he is trying to alert his neighbors to the problem.

“I think we need people on the north, the northeast side particularly to know this is kind of a chronic problem,” he said. Both men said their small investments in security systems are paying dividends in their feelings of safety.