(SPD’s Lt. Pierre Davis (left) and Lt. Darin Chinn talk with community members at the SW Precinct)
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
West Seattle residents and Block Watch leaders gathered Tuesday night at Southwest Precinct for the monthly meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, to hear positive news about recent crime trends – but also to hear a presentation that served as a sobering reminder of ongoing drug problems facing communities as a whole.
SW Precinct Lt. Pierre Davis (pictured above, at left) reported that in the past month, there has been a “39% decrease in property crimes” in West Seattle, following a “spike in activity” in January in which burglaries and car prowls were more frequent.
Lt. Davis said that SPD “mobilized more patrols” in response to that spike, and worked closely with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and community members to identify troublesome individuals and “basically take them off the streets.” He cited yesterday’s arrest of an “active car prowl suspect” as a major success story in these ongoing efforts, which include a crackdown on catalytic converter thefts from parked cars.
A major goal, Lt. Davis said, is to build strong cases against the repeat offenders to keep them behind bars longer – more like “25-50 months” versus much shorter sentences.
He’s encouraged that in addition to the drop in property crimes, burglaries are down and that “we’re near an all-time low” in the last couple of weeks, with a very small number of reported incidents.
He urged citizens and blockwatch leaders to “keep up the good work” because with 600-some officers on Seattle’s streets at any given time, help is always needed. He mentioned an upcoming “technology initiative” that has the goal of quickly sharing information with West Seattle Block Watch captains and community leaders, and said to stay tuned for details.
The featured presenter for the evening was SW Precinct Lt. Darin Chinn, who specializes in drug-related crimes as part of his role as an ACT (Anti-Crime Team) officer for SPD:
Lt. Chinn showed a presentation titled “Drugs and Kids,” detailing many of the primary drugs that are abused the most – everything from street drugs like heroin and crack cocaine to prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Meeting attendees took particular interest in asking questions about the drugs that they see being abused in their own communities – most notably, methamphetamine and its variants.
Several attendees asked if Lt. Chinn’s presentation would be offered again in the future – he noted that Tuesday was “the first time I’ve done this” but that he’d work with Lt. Davis and their SPD colleagues to determine future plans for getting the information to citizens who would like to hear it.
Lt. Davis reiterated that if citizens see anything suspicious in their neighborhoods, they should call 911 first, and give a detailed description of what they see. If the issue is ongoing, call the precinct at 733-9800. “We do make house calls,” Davis said.
Tuesday marked the first WSCPC meeting that was led by Richard Miller, the group’s new president (elected last month, and pictured below):
Miller has taken over for outgoing president Dot Beard, who was in attendance Tuesday night – “just for support,” she said. Also in attendance was Betty Wiberg, who is serving as secretary/treasurer. Not present was new vice president Larry Ruda.
The group is still looking for help, primarily in the secretary role – if you’re interested, contact info is listed at wscpc.org.
Wiberg reminded attendees that there will be a retirement party and potluck (which we mentioned last week) for Ron Angeles, on Thursday, February 24th, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center from 6-8 pm. Angeles is retiring from his longtime job at the Department of Neighborhoods.
Block Watch leader Karen Berge handed out a flier with contact information for the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains’ Network, which is having its next meeting at SW Precinct next Tuesday, February 22nd, at 6:30 pm. The group has a website, Facebook page, e-mail address (email@example.com), and new phone number: 206-424-0040.
Miller also reminded attendees that the WSCPC group’s next meeting will be March 15th at 7 pm, with their Executive Committee meeting sooner (March 1st) – these meetings will also be at SW Precinct.
Miller also asked if “pedestrian and vehicle accidents” might be a good topic for future meetings, and several attendees responded that it would.
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct meeting room. That’s also where the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network will meet at 6:30 pm next Tuesday (February 22).