Seattle residents believe dilapidated RVs in neighborhoods linked to property crime increases

SEATTLE -- Rundown RVs are parked on streets all over Seattle.

“This is a huge problem,” Magnolia resident Harley Lever said Wednesday.

Despite tickets and notices,  many RVs don't move.

“They’ve been here as long as I’ve been here and I’ve been here five months,” Margot Schwartz said.

Schwartz added that she doesn’t feel safe working next to suspicious vehicles in Fremont.

“I always carry my pepper spray in my purse,” Schwartz said.

“Businesses around here are getting eaten alive,” Lever said.

Lever is making even bolder claims. He says the frequent car and home break-ins could be linked to criminals using some of the RVs as a home base.

“You will see two or three cars pull up to the RVs, putting stuff into the under bellies,” Lever said.

Lever believes it’s not a homeless issue but a criminal one.

An SPD map shows a concentration of property crime in certain parts of town where RVs are stationed.

Last year, neighborhoods near Thorndyke and West Dravus had dozens of property crime reports compared to just two to four reports a few blocks away.

And near NW 45th and 11th in Ballard, there were 58 police reports regarding property crime, a staggering number compared to many other streets nearby.

“It’s shocking, Seattle has decayed so much and it’s just heartbreaking,” Lever said.

Lever says the problem started two years ago and it’s getting worse.

“Piles of trash, piles of needles, piles of human waste,” Lever said.

And frustrations are mounting because some say calls to the mayor's office haven’t been returned.

“Criminals are taking over and it’s going unchecked,” Lever said.

Residents, city leaders and police attended a community meeting on the issue Wednesday night at Magnolia United Church of Christ.