Forum Index > Trail Talk > Spring 2022: Solutions to Trail head break ins. Are there any?
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Sculpin
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Sculpin
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PostSat Jul 16, 2022 7:36 am 
Here is a thought on reducing trailhead crime: what if the police responded to the crimes committed against us the same way they do for multi-national corporations? https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/15/business/hertz-rental-arrests/index.html

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir

Cyclopath
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Randito
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PostSat Jul 16, 2022 9:38 am 
Sculpin wrote:
Here is a thought on reducing trailhead crime: what if the police responded to the crimes committed against us the same way they do for multi-national corporations? https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/15/business/hertz-rental-arrests/index.html
Interesting, a friend of mine had her car stolen from outside her aparment in Alki three times and the SPD's resonse was always "Let your insurance company know" Her car (a 1999 CRV) always turned up abandoned and trashed in several days.

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breadcrumb
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PostSat Jul 16, 2022 10:56 pm 
Sculpin wrote:
Here is a thought on reducing trailhead crime: what if the police responded to the crimes committed against us the same way they do for multi-national corporations? https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/15/business/hertz-rental-arrests/index.html
How many privately-owned cars which have been stolen from trailheads had GPS tracking devices installed in them? All of the rental cars did, which made it trivial for the police to find the 'stolen' rental cars.

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Secret Agent Man
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PostSat Jul 16, 2022 11:36 pm 
breadcrumb wrote:
How many privately-owned cars which have been stolen from trailheads had GPS tracking devices installed in them? All of the rental cars did, which made it trivial for the police to find the 'stolen' rental cars.
I know of many people whoíve had gps chipped things stolen - cars, bikes, phones, etc, and I donít know of a single case where the police have tried to recover their property. In every case I know of, the police have asked folks to stand down and do nothing despite gps evidence being available. I have gone with friends as backup to do that ourselves, walking up to a bike chop shop and saying weíll give cash and no questions asked for the bike back, since the police claimed they were unable to help. I donít know why police care so much more about corporate property than public property but itís indisputable in my eyes that they do. Perhaps they shouldnít be surprised when some people think that crime prevention funding could be invested better in other ways.

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Randito
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PostSun Jul 17, 2022 12:22 am 
Secret Agent Man wrote:
I donít know why police care so much more about corporate property than public property but itís indisputable in my eyes that they do.
We have the finest government that money can buy.

Cyclopath, Malachai Constant, SpookyKite89, Chief Joseph
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domaz
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PostMon Jul 18, 2022 4:25 pm 
breadcrumb wrote:
I've managed to get the attention of a Washington State Senator regarding trailhead crime and the possible connection to the bill known as HB 1054. This particular Senator voted in favor of HB 1054, so in my opinion they deserve credit for being open-minded and willing to hear us out. HB 1054 is the bill which changed the police's rules of engagement for vehicular pursuits (car chases) of suspects. So that we are all working with the same set of facts, the part of the law relevant to this group is RCW 10.116.060, which is pretty short and can be read here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=10.116.060 I have heard from many people who believe that HB 1054 is partially or mostly responsible for the huge surge in property crime in general, including trailhead crime. I've written this post to gather data which I can use to communicate to the state senator. For my part, I did some quick statistical analysis of the trailhead incident tracker vs. official police crime statistics. The screenshot below is what I came up with. So... here's my ask of the group: what data can we point to, in order to justify a specific, constructive, and actionable request to an open-minded member of the legislature?
This is very interesting data. If I'm reading it right vehicle break-ins at trailheads were 15% of total break-ins in King County in 2018, but that number has now dropped to 5% in 2021. At the same time numbers of break-ins not at trailheads went up 10 fold. So basically trailhead break-ins are a symptom of a wider problem, and most of the thieves are probably in the city looking for easy pickings.

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breadcrumb
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PostWed Aug 24, 2022 2:07 am 
Update: I just received a very healthy set of data from the National Park Service. I've imported about 90% of it into my incident log for WA statewide trailhead crime going back to 01/01/2015. Links: Interactive Crime Map: https://datastudio.google.com/s/tRgYXQY9tPc Trailhead-Specific Crime History: https://datastudio.google.com/s/paUIiokdl74 Raw Data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1EupY8H1FiRBz9_xj7Ud7e6UpZsQFSqKMvysyZo3BCis/edit?usp=sharing I'm still waiting for the USFS to provide records in response to a request I submitted several months ago. My data now lists 5,370 known vehicles affected by trailhead crime, statewide, from 01/01/2015. The number of known crimes against personal property at trailheads, statewide, from 01/01/2015 to present is now at 7,646.

Cam, hikergirl1234
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Kim Brown
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PostWed Aug 24, 2022 9:40 am 
Has anyone organized volunteers at any trail heads this summer, or was that idea nixed ?

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert
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Cyclopath
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PostWed Aug 24, 2022 1:06 pm 
Spring 2022:† Solutions to Trail head break ins. Are there any? Summer 2022 is almost over. Did you find solutions to trailhead break-ins?

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Schroder
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PostWed Aug 24, 2022 1:13 pm 
breadcrumb wrote:
I'm still waiting for the USFS to provide records in response to a request I submitted several months ago.
Why would the Forest Service have any data? People don't report trailhead crimes to them and they aren't responsible for law enforcement. It's the local sheriff.

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breadcrumb
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PostFri Aug 26, 2022 3:24 pm 
Schroder wrote:
breadcrumb wrote:
I'm still waiting for the USFS to provide records in response to a request I submitted several months ago.
Why would the Forest Service have any data? People don't report trailhead crimes to them and they aren't responsible for law enforcement. It's the local sheriff.
That isn't necessarily true. The USFS seems to do things on a per-National Forest basis. For example, the sheriff handles trailhead crimes in the Colville NF. But in some national forests the USFS has either primary or secondary responsibility.

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breadcrumb
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PostFri Aug 26, 2022 3:25 pm 
Kim Brown wrote:
Has anyone organized volunteers at any trail heads this summer, or was that idea nixed ?
There's a guy up in Bellingham who organized patrols there. I organized some patrols in the Issaquah Alps.

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PostFri Aug 26, 2022 3:51 pm 
Cyclopath wrote:
Spring 2022:† Solutions to Trail head break ins. Are there any? Summer 2022 is almost over. Did you find solutions to trailhead break-ins?
I'm still gathering data and won't have my formal analysis done for a few months. Preliminary observations: - From a statewide perspective, it is clear that "debit/credit card fraud" and "selling catalytic converters as scrap metal" are major motivations for trailhead crime. "debit/credit card fraud" is often associated with buying gift cards at stores like QFC, Target, Walmart, etc. There are many things to prevent that, things which could be done but are not. The most logical solution is for the USA to follow Canada and Europe when it comes to payment card transactions, and require two-factor authentication (such as a PIN) before any transaction is authorized. This would benefit not only hikers, but anyone with a credit card. American banks and CC companies don't want to pay for this extra security and instead are willing to eat the cost of fraudulent transactions. That (mostly) solves the problem of fraudulent transactions for the consumer. But does NOT compensate the consumer for the damage to their car, the inconvenience / lost time dealing with repairs, other items stolen during the crime, ruined vacations, etc. Another, perhaps radical, option, is to ban or massively restrict the sale of gift cards. Banning the sale of gift cards would in one stroke completely eliminate the idea of buying them as a motive for smash and grabs. Restricting them could take many forms. (a) Maybe buying gift cards could be like buying sudafed at the pharmacy. You have to provide ID, the government maintains a centralized database of how many gift cards you've bought, and limits you to a certain number or dollar amount per month. (b) Separate from any restrictions on purchasing, the legislature could enact a law requiring retailers to obtain high definition photos of unmasked faces in order to purchase a gift card. If someone is unwilling to show their face for their camera, no gift card for them. These are just two options; there are certainly more. I tend to like both (a) and (b). I think there is at least some evidence that some employees at some stores which sell gift cards are in on the action. Having a centralized database would make it easier to identify the people involved. - The overwhelming majority of crimes do not have suspects because there is no evidence an investigator can use, so my mind instantly thinks about ways to increase evidence available for investigators to work with. Besides my ideas above (about creating evidence related to purchases of gift cards), surveillance video at trailheads is an obvious solution. It is not realistic to put cameras at all trailheads; there are simply too many. But it seems like a no-brainer to me to put cameras at the trailheads with the most crime. I am so focused on gathering data because I want to be confident I've left no stone unturned when it comes to figuring out which trailheads should get extra security (cameras, increased patrols, volunteer lookouts, bait cars, etc.). - Contrary to popular opinion, I have not been able to find any evidence whatsoever that the new law (HB 1054) is any way a contributing factor to the rise in trailhead crime. If anybody has any evidence, I'd love to see it so I can address that in my proposal. My best guess (and this just a guess) is that the rise in trailhead crime is correlated with the surge in the number of people hiking. - Contrary to popular opinion, I have not been able to find any evidence whatsoever that homeless people commit most trailhead crime. I'm sure they commit some, but to the extent I've been able to gather info about known suspects, none of them were homeless. Some were/are drug addicts, but what I'm seeing is evidence of very sophisticated criminal operations. - Data sharing needs to be made much easier than it is now. (1) All LE agencies, including the NPS, the USFS, WA State Parks, WA DNR Police, all county sheriffs, city police, WA state patrol, should be sharing summarized crime data through a website like https://communitycrime.net or something similar. (2) To search records, it would make things considerably easier if all trailheads, or at least the major ones, had assigned addresses as if you could send mail there. Many trailheads don't have addresses at all. LE databases are very difficult to search when you don't have an address. - There should be an easy way to correlate case report/incident numbers from LE agencies, with case IDs assigned by the courts, so that the public can monitor which arrests resulted in prosecutions. Right now, there is absolutely no simple way to figure this out. Therefore, I have not even tried (and not intend to try) to figure out, for those known cases which resulted in an arrest, the % (by prosecutor office) which resulted in plea bargain, trial and conviction, or decline to prosecute. - Sites like WTA.org and AllTrails.com, which offer the ability to indicate trail conditions (such as "Muddy" or "Bugs") should add the ability to indicate suspicious or criminal activity (such as "Suspicious Person" or "Theft" or "Vandalism"), and it should be easy to search their data for Trip Reports / Trail Reviews which checked those boxes. This is off the top of my head, not a comprehensive summary.

Anne Elk, Cyclopath, zimmertr
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Kim Brown
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PostFri Aug 26, 2022 4:50 pm 
That's some mighty comprehensive research, right there.

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert

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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Aug 26, 2022 6:54 pm 
Breadcrumb I thing you cracked the code. This is not a political matter no matter how hard some want it to be. The restrictions on gift cards could help with a lot of on line scams like grandparent, IRS, and lottery ones also. I think cat thefts seem to be going downhill at least I hope so.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn

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