News blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood

Maple Leaf Life header image 2

Neighbor reports suspicious activity over weekend

Posted by Mike on July 7th, 2014

This email came in around 10 a.m.:

We live on Eighth Avenue Northeast at Northeast 104th Street and were out of town for the long weekend.

Our neighbors spotted three African-American males with backpacks walking down the street, one of whom started walking down our driveway. He spotted the other two going down 105th. He came over and questioned the guy on our property who apparently refused to talk. He told him he was going to call the cops and the guy just shrugged his shoulders.

Our neighbor did call the cops and there already happened to be a patrol car in the neighborhood. The cop stopped the guy and questioned him. He claimed his bus pass had blown out of his hand which is why he was on our property. (Obviously a lie.) The cops unfortunately couldn’t keep him on suspicion alone.

Glad we have awesome neighbors but it’s unfortunate that we have to be worried about going out of town. Please keep an eye out and continue to report any suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

Below is the 911 Incident Response Map for much of the weekend. This particular response is the top icon that looks like Sauron’s Eye. It reads “104XX BLOCK OF 8 AV NE. Final Call Type Category: SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.”

Tags: Uncategorized

24 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Kristen // Jul 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I’m going to go ahead and assume that both the blog and email writer did not intend to compose a message that sounds racist. Based on the information presented here it sounds like the kid shrugged when approached b/c he is used to being accused of walking around while black.

    I’d be more than supportive if there was any additional information about why people were suspicious (other than stranger danger). I’ve certainly had my fair share of run-ins with odd folks on 15th walking home and a house break-in. I would love to be able to be on the look out for something specific to keep everyone safe but this description does not provide enough information about what happened to prove useful in any capacity.

  • 2 Sarah // Jul 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    How is the comment, “African-American Male” racist? It is a more racist than “White Male”.

  • 3 CK // Jul 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I also thought it sounded racist. I bet they wouldn’t be so worked up and it wouldn’t feel so suspicious if it were 3 white men walking along.

    I agree, need much more info. Sounds like nothing happened. At all.

  • 4 Steph & Aaron // Jul 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    It was not intended to be racist at all and we find that quite insulting. Our neighbor asked him what he was doing on our property and he would not give an answer. Our neighbor then asked him to tell him the names of the people that lived there and he shrugged again saying he didn’t know.

    He clearly had no business being on our property and if he did, he would have answered our neighbor. We asked our neighbors to keep an eye out while we were out of town and that’s exactly what they did. They would have approached anyone they didn’t recognized who was walking down our driveway and looking around our house.

    I don’t think our neighbors were being paranoid or racist. (nor are we) We would have done the same for them.

  • 5 littleleers // Jul 7, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    What is racist? My son used to share a rental house right in that neighborhood. He told me he saw several police ‘interventions’…one time with the SPD’s guns drawn.

    If I had a stranger, white or black..meandering on my property, driveway or in my backyard…yes I would ask and also call police! PC gone amok!!!!

    By the way, I had a ‘white guy’ meandering in my backyard (its gated) and I had no idea what he was doing. This happened three years ago…turned out it was a neighbor (did not know him) who came to look for his cat. But at least he told me that.

    It would have been better if he had come to my door or asked to enter on my property. Some people might not take to this behavior too kindly.

  • 6 DC // Jul 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    What’s racist about it is that you wouldn’t have mentioned the race of the three men had they been white.

  • 7 RH // Jul 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    A stranger on your property is rightly treated as suspicious, even in the middle of the day, if you’re not home. Our house was burgled the weekend of 6/22, and the officer said it probably happened during the day and the perpetrator most likely walked right up to our front door first, in order to see if anybody was home. Back door (quite private, nobody to look on) was busted in.

  • 8 ec // Jul 8, 2014 at 12:12 am

    DC, come on that is absolutely ridiculous it’s giving the facts and also giving a proper description. Maybe from now on whenever we describe a person we should just say an Earthling, but that might actually insults the aliens. Hmmm what a conundrum.
    CK- is anybody walks on my property I’m suspicious.

  • 9 TheGreenlakePartOfMapleLeaf // Jul 8, 2014 at 12:43 am

    There is no need to describe his race, since the police already know who he is.

    I agree with the others… your description sounds like you are racist. But don’t worry, many americans over 60 are.

    As somebody else pointed out, if it was 3 white men, would you have written “3 men of european descent”?

    BTW, how do you know it is obviously a like that his bus pass blew out of his hand?

  • 10 MapleLeafBob // Jul 8, 2014 at 2:45 am

    It’s not racist!! It’s a description. If I was reporting suspicious activity I would have said the same thing. I also would said have said three white guys, three Asian guys, three lations etc… It’s an important part of identifying people.

    Anything that helps to describe the individuals is needed. What is next with you overly PC whiners? If the person was fat would it be offensive to say so? Or is it sexist to say the person looks like a male or female? Give me a break.

  • 11 TheGreenlakePartOfMapleLeaf // Jul 8, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Again, no description is needed… they were caught.

    It is racist because of the way it is written, as if part of the reason they were suspicious was their race.

    If the point was to describe them… why not include their height, hair length, what clothes they had, etc?

  • 12 Mardi // Jul 8, 2014 at 8:17 am

    It sounds racist because it is the only description that was given. There is no comment on age, height, or build (all helpful descriptions that the neighbor should have been able to provide) and if the intention is for people to look out for this one guy or these three then then the only warning we’ve been given is look out for black men, especially in groups.

    Moreover, the author said that the bus pass story was obviously a lie. I would like to know how that person knows that because they didn’t say that the guy walked down the driveway and started to peak in windows or do anything else to raise suspicions. Maybe he did, but that information wasn’t given. I have no idea how long he was there before the neighbor talked to him, and I have no idea in what manner the neighbor questioned him. As this is written, it sounds like a black man standing around your property is reason enough to call the cops.

  • 13 Matt // Jul 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I second everything Mardi said. If the only suspicious activity is the guy on the driveway, then why all the info on the other two? Especially, “the other two were spotted on 105th”. Doing what? Being African American?

  • 14 ec // Jul 8, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I think I’ll just report any suspicious activity to the police as an Earthling and leave it at that. I don’t want to offend anyone. I sure hope the police can catch them.

  • 15 Alex // Jul 8, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I think people rightly get defensive when they’re called racists.

    It’s not out of line to ask someone what they’re doing on your neighbor’s property and that bus ticket story sounds unlikely (but not impossible). Calling the cops seems a bit overkill but probably not totally unreasonable.

    However, Mardi is absolutely right about race not being a helpful identifier for these guys, and it does allow for a really unpleasant interpretation of the email.

    Overall, it sounds like a slightly suspicious incident, but not blog worthy.

  • 16 Kathy // Jul 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you Alex for the comment. My thoughts exactly.

  • 17 Concerned Citizen // Jul 8, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Some random wind over powered the pressure that the opposable thumb can excerpt on a piece of paper and happen to blow it down a drive way?

    Blog worthy ? It is the internet. Need to say more?

  • 18 Another Concerned Citizen // Jul 9, 2014 at 9:37 am

    I think it’s really sad that people on here are attacking them for a simple blog post. Calling someone racist is pretty offensive. I agree in that they should have got a thorough description of the person from their neighbor – not just gender & race.

    However, the people on here calling them racist don’t know anything about these people. And by calling them racist, they are making assumptions about them, including their race. In my opinion, that kind of makes you a racist. Would you be attacking them if the person caught on their property was Caucasian? Probably not – that also makes you a racist. And I don’t believe for one second that these people saying they are racist wouldn’t be suspicious if they saw someone they didn’t know snooping around their property for no reason.

    This blog is suppose to be a great tool to keep the neighborhood informed – good or bad. It’s a tool to help aid in preventative measures. Preventative being the key word! Maybe this was harmless but maybe their neighbor just stopped their house from being broken into. There are a lot of break in’s, car thefts, packages being stolen from peoples property, kids starting fires in the creek, and who know’s what else….all they were trying to do was keep the neighborhood alert.

    If you don’t think it’s worth reading then stop reading it. But don’t attack our neighbors and make assumptions as to who they are based off a blog post. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. If that’s what this blog is going to be, why post anything?

  • 19 Lance Legstrong // Jul 9, 2014 at 10:24 am

    Seriously… get over yourselves. This isn’t racist. There was no intent of racism. You all look really stupid for saying that it is racism. Whether it was a helpful description or not doesn’t really matter — it was a description never-the-less.

    Had the post used a derogatory term for African Americans, then yes… racist.

    Being that I live near this area, I’m glad the post was made. More detail would be great, but the poster is just trying to raise awareness of shady behavior in our hood. Just because the cops know about these guys doesn’t make me feel any better.

    Geesh… everyone is so touchy.

  • 20 anotherEric // Jul 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

    “What’s racist about it is that you wouldn’t have mentioned the race of the three men had they been white.”

    I think you’re projecting your own racism by raising this overly PC trope to make you feel good.

  • 21 MPLN // Jul 9, 2014 at 11:02 am

    How do you know they wouldn’t have mentioned the race of the people if they were white? That’s absurd. Once again, you and everyone else are just making assumptions and that’s horrible.

    And if the people were white, and they said as much, would you all be attacking them right now and calling them racist? Probably not which makes you racist right??

    I agree with @another concerned citizen – why even post on this blog?

    @Lance Legstrong is also right -everyone is way too touchy. Grow up people and help keep the neighborhood safe. Everyone here has the same goal. Stop attacking innocent people.

  • 22 Thomas Paine // Jul 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    And once again we get diverted from crime into race. We shouldn’t assume our neighbors are racist. It’s fine to assume that trespassers are criminals. Let’s stop the political correctness and protect each other instead.

  • 23 Annie // Jul 11, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Wow. I am thankful for this post as I live near this area too. I am the mom of the mugged boys. There has definitely been shady activity on our street including an over-turned stolen car recently. I am appreciative for watchful eyes and believe if we all unite, many things can be accomplished. This is silly to argue about so many levels of non-important issues. If I saw three humans I did not know approaching a neighbors home, I would be inquisitive as well. My hats off to a watchful neighbor.

  • 24 Roger // Jul 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    is there a forum or other means to keep track of things so that they can be linked together or discussed in line instead of fragmented comments? Does this place have an online forum?