(March 19th photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
Police are often heard to exhort neighbors to get involved – because they ultimately can have more effect on the crime situation in their neighborhood than can police. And so, neighbors from Highland Park’s 15th/Holden vicinity (map) came to the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting on Tuesday night to show their intensifying concern about a neighborhood trouble spot.
Ongoing problems started coming to something of a head on March 19th, when the big police response shown in our photo responded to what Lt. Pierre Davis told us at the time was a case of cell-phone theft – but at Tuesday night’s meeting, pressed for information by neighbors, precinct commander Capt. Joe Kessler admitted it was something more: “Ten police cars don’t show up for a stolen cell phone.” (Toplines in the police-report system later indicated the call also involved “threats.”)
Four days after that, on March 23, a shots-fired report brought police back to the area. Nobody got hit, but that wasn’t the point.
Frustrated neighbors told police on Tuesday night that in their view, the landlord of a particular building is the problem. They were assured that city agencies are working with the landlord, even while police focus on the area too. Capt. Kessler said the “Anti-Crime Team has been out there every night, our patrol guys are out there on a constant basis …” but, he also said, they might not be there at the moment an incident is playing out, so calling 911 every time a neighbor see something “that is not right” is the best order of business. As with other crimes and problem areas, the captain added, even if another call gets in the way and police don’t arrive in time, it helps them “analyze what the trends look like” among other things.
Lt. Davis said the City Attorney’s Office precinct liaison Melissa Chin is in contact with the landlord “and I think we are going in the right direction with that and I’m looking at a resolution in the very near future.”