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Ballard mom terrified of second burglary, says city changed in four years

A homeless man sleeps in Ballard. (MyNorthwest)

It was a typical Friday at 7 a.m. Ballard resident Av* was walking out the door, getting her daughter off to school — when she noticed the garage doors were wide open.

“There’s that moment of, ‘What the heck is going on?'” Av said. “I just went into ‘mom mode’ and told my daughter we needed to make a mad dash for the car.”

Not knowing what she was about to encounter, Av got 911 on speaker-phone as she went into the garage.

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“At that point, I didn’t know if anyone was still in the garage,” she said. “We just didn’t know what we were dealing with.”

Thankfully, no one was in the garage. But Av feared that the burglars would come back.

With her husband in Dubai on business, Av was home alone with her first-grader — a reality that left her feeling terrified and vulnerable.

Av and some of her friends spent the day emptying the garage of any valuables and hiding them with the attitude, “Let’s beat [the burglars] to it.”

“We’re just thankful that we have a core group of friends who rushed over,” she said.

The Old Ballard resident had reason to be scared — she said that this is not the first time that criminals have targeted her home. A drug addict tried once tried to break down the French doors to her bedroom. On another occasion, a prostitute came to the door.

She believes the reason for this uptick in crime on her street lies in the city’s decision to demolish three homes surrounding her house. That opens up opportunities for squatters, she said.

“It just seems like, once the city puts up that yellow sign in the yard that says, ‘Hey, here’s a property’ … it’s like advertising for crime,” she said. “And it just seems to work like clockwork.”

The concerned mom said that the streets of Ballard were not always like this — in fact, it is just in the past four years that crime has become so rampant.

“I’m a freelance writer, so I used to camp out at Bauhaus [a coffee shop on Market Street] until midnight and walk home and not think anything of it,” she said. “But boy, a lot has changed in the last four years.”

She wants to be clear that “it’s not all of the homeless people who are doing this — it’s a small percentage, and they’re making our lives miserable.” Av would like to see drug addicts and homeless people get the rehab and housing they need, but worries that until this happens, because of city policies, Seattle’s law-abiding residents are the ones who are most at risk.

“What about the families just trying to raise kids in the community?” she said. “Our community is just falling apart because of this.”

When Av’s worried husband returned home this past weekend, there was no time for a joyous reunion — they spent the entire weekend putting heavy locks on the garage, taking inventory of what had gone missing, and “battening down the hatches.”

Av and her husband originally moved to the neighborhood because it seemed like the perfect urban community — walking distance of restaurants, shops, and schools. Now they’re rethinking it all and considering moving away — a decision that she said would break their hearts.

“Where do you go from here when you love the neighborhood you live in — or at least, you think you still do?” she said, adding, “It seemed like a good community to build a family in … I think every day we’re sort of torn with, ‘Where do we go from here?’ There’s no easy answer to that.”

*Name has been changed for safety. 

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