You deserve a vacation. Unfortunately, there is a problem. Or two. Or three. If you fly somewhere, you’re faced with airline fees for everything from bathroom breaks to cabin pressurization. Driving isn’t much better, as the cost of gas remains so high that you’ve even considered the unthinkable—taking the bus to work. And oh yeah, thanks to the housing crash and the economy, you’re broke.
Thankfully, that’s why God gave us the staycation. Of course, even sticking around the Sound isn’t without its troubles. Your neighborhood is safe and friendly, but who knows what dangers lurk in the more… shall we say… “exotic” corners of the Pacific Northwest.
To answer that question, we turned to local police departments around the greater Seattle area. No one knows better than the police* which nefarious schemes the lowlife criminal scum are using to prey on unsuspecting Ballardites, Bellevuicans and Magnoliards.
Carnation – It’s pretty safe to stroll around most of the main tourist areas (watch out for Spilman Ave.), but be on your guard of strangers who are a little too “friendly,” says a police spokesman who was not “authorized” to give us his name. For example, if someone makes eye contact with you or says hello, hold on to your valuables tightly: pickpockets use techniques like these to throw you off guard.
Bainbridge Island – Hippies selling trinkets on the beach will say or do just about anything to get you to buy their wares. Officer Mike Gerard says that you should be skeptical of their claims—but feel free to ask them for a little dance if you want. Trinket dealers often tell tourists that their knick-knacks are made of high-quality plastic and then quote prices starting at around $5. But Gerard points out that the do-dads are almost always made from nothing more than discarded seashells gathered at low tide. “Tourists from the ‘mainland’ are always looking for a bargain,” Gerard says.
Mount Vernon – Police commander George Ford says that the theft of pretty much anything shiny from unlocked cars is a huge problem. Cars on East Division Street are often targeted, and Ford says you should put your belongings in one of those fake shaving cream cans or something.
Port Orchard – A common scam in Downtown Port Orchard goes something like this: A man approaches you and says “Bet you fifty million dollars I can tell you where the radio octopus sleeps at night!” Whether you accept the bet or not, he adds, “In the tinsel town on the far side of the moon,” and demands the money. Authorities say some people pay up just to avoid a confrontation.
Puyallup – Be wary of discounted, multiday fair tickets sold at shops on Pioneer near the fairgrounds or underneath the big sign that says carpet carpet carpet, says Detective Dwayne Peters. Farmhands moonlighting for some shops wait outside the fairgrounds when they close and leer awkwardly at pretty much everyone leaving the fair. They also scrawl “thri-day pas” on crumpled-up pieces of notebook paper and try to sell them to people as they exit. Nobody has fallen for the ruse yet, “but you can never be too careful,” says Detective Peters.
*(Except the criminal scum themselves, but as cowardly newspaper reporters that spend 90% of our waking hours behind a desk in a cushy office, there’s no way we’re meeting those hooligans.)