15th and Holden ‘resolution’ soon? Neighbors face police @ West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting

March 28, 2013 at 2:48 am | In Crime, Highland Park, West Seattle news | 28 Comments

(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.”

28 Comments

  1. My mother lives on this block and we don’t drive past this apartment building because there are always aggressive kids running/playing in the street, people standing in the road almost daring you to try to drive past then they stare you down, garbage everywhere, cars creeping up and down the block, etc. The neighbors are scared of these people.

    Comment by L — 7:21 am March 28, 2013 #

  2. This is the same block where in 1992 a young girl was crushed to death, and others injured, by a car that a group of unsupervised children where playing in; they proceeded to take the parking brake off where it rolled down a slight incline and hit other children. Shortly after this happened I made the decision to move away, as I observed that there were always lots of young children, and teens, without any type of adult supervision running around at all hours…looks like things haven’t changed much.

    Comment by Livin' in West Seattle since '91 — 8:33 am March 28, 2013 #

  3. was it better when zippys was there?

    Comment by JoB — 8:48 am March 28, 2013 #

  4. Athena’s is a good restaurant — terrific food. I would love to walk there from home more often, but I strongly dislike walking past that building. I wonder if Athena’s suffers from having bad neighbors. I’d like to see that business succeed.

    Comment by Hilari — 9:13 am March 28, 2013 #

  5. Back when Zippy’s was there I remember many occasions of walking to/from my car and thinking that this building and many of the people hanging around outside of it (a generalization, I know) seemed pretty sketchy.

    Comment by Rick Steel — 9:14 am March 28, 2013 #

  6. I have lived on this block for 4 years, and grew up in the area. I have called the cops several times over these few years and it actually seems to be getting worse. At one point, I called 911 after several cars came speading down the alley (spinning tires and such) between 15th and 16th- only to be told by the 911 operator that if their not threating me- I shouldnt be using 911 to make the report. So, yes, we are afraid of them and whats going to happen next- but some of it is just not knowing what we’re supossed to be doing.
    There are also 2 other houses– one further up on 15th (closer to Kenyon) and another house right on 16th, and the same people frequent these houses. I see the same cars and see people walking back and forth between the three houses. I wish I had known about the meeting last night- I would have been there.

    Comment by Concerned — 9:16 am March 28, 2013 #

  7. I’m assuming that all houses/apartments involved are rentals. As a neighborhood you need to join forces putting pressure on the property owners. We had several homes in the 13th & Thistle area that we’ve had to do this. And it has worked. It isn’t an overnight solution but with some work and follow thru it can bring peace to your neighborhood.

    Comment by Put pressure on property owners — 9:34 am March 28, 2013 #

  8. Hey Concerned, Just booby trap the ally. A few flat tires an this will stop. It worked in my alley.

    Comment by boy — 9:47 am March 28, 2013 #

  9. This is what I don’t get…the police Captain says call 911 “if something doesn’t seem right”…so cars are screeching their wheels in an alley – not a normal activity as far as I’m concerned – and the 911 operator says “don’t call 911 for something like this”. Every time I’ve called 911 (2 or 3 times) to report something, it makes me feel like I’m the criminal for doing so…I’ve gotten “grilled” as to what’s happening, where, this, that. By the time you get done, the “activity” is over and the perps are long gone. I don’t call 911 to waste the police’s time…maybe the police should reconsider how they handle their 911 answering criteria.

    Comment by onceachef — 9:49 am March 28, 2013 #

  10. I owned a house in the 7900 block of 15th SW from 1996-2007, directly behind the one on 16th mentioned in “Concerned”‘s comment. This crap drove me out, couldn’t even keep it as a rental in good conscience. The final straw? Waken one night at 1:am by people in the back yard openly smoking crack, drinking malt liquor and yelling at each other; called 911. Called again at 3 because they were still carrying on, and was assured there would be some cops sent by, which never happened. One other thing – that area is full of people who think it’s OK to let their dogs bark all night long. Trying to get any satisfaction from Animal Control was a sick joke, miles of bureaucratic red tape. To say I don’t miss living in Highland Park is a bit of an understatement…

    Comment by Former Neighbor — 10:07 am March 28, 2013 #

  11. According to blockshooper: Insurance defense lawyer lists in Southwest Seattle — Gregory P. Turner and Kelly Turner have listed for sale a 16-bedroom, 8-bath apartment complex at 7701 15th Ave. S.W. in Southwest Seattle for $750,000.
    Turner is a shareholder at Lee Smart, P.S., where he practices insurance defense litigation

    http://seattle.blockshopper.com/news/story/700141134-Insurance_defense_lawyer_lists_in_Southwest_Seattle,

    Comment by Mark — 10:19 am March 28, 2013 #

  12. Thugs are thugs. Can’t make em care about their neighborhood.

    Comment by cr — 10:36 am March 28, 2013 #

  13. That was noted in comments on the story about the response last week, although at the meeting the other night, the landlord was referred to repeatedly as “she” – I do not know if that means one half of the couple that is on record as owners (Blockshopper is a hack firm that outsources offshore and their practice of looking up people’s places of employment, easier these days via LinkedIn but I don’t know how they verify when it’s a common name) or a property manager. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:44 am March 28, 2013 #

  14. Hey Concerned, Just booby trap the ally. A few flat tires an this will stop. It worked in my alley………………

    when they are driving stolen cars they don’t care what happens to the tires.

    if they are on section 8 housing and are breaking the law then it’s time to remove the all you can eat buffet of free crap these people are on.

    our tax money is paying for their crack and their pipe

    Comment by joel — 10:55 am March 28, 2013 #

  15. We have thought about doing something in the alley- but I doubt it would do anything and there are others that use the alley, although infrenquently.. Right after the shots were fired last week, It was amazing how fast the cars came flying down that alley.
    I feel terrible for the young kids.. They have no choice in this– they’re out playing until all hours of the night- even on school nights.. Loud music, gambling, and who knows what else going on. That cant be a safe or secure environment to grow up in.

    Comment by Concerned — 11:41 am March 28, 2013 #

  16. AMEN Joel! Keep in mind that the section 8 check is garenteaed money for the landlord.

    Comment by boy — 12:17 pm March 28, 2013 #

  17. AMEN Joel! Keep in mind that the section 8 check is garenteaed money for the landlord……

    Yes I was duped into a section 8 housing rental some years ago. the person with the ‘disbility’ then went to their native country for many months while their kid and ‘wife’(not legally thru the state), who was an RN at a hospital and drove a new Maxima, lived in the home rent free (and free utilties and food for the fridge). oh and then granny came to live with them too.

    I had direct deposit thru the county and guaranteed rent. once the year was up I found real tenants not scamming the system.

    Comment by joel — 1:03 pm March 28, 2013 #

  18. Sad to see our neighborhoods deteriorating. Our city and our police department needs new leadership.
    When I moved to WS, High Point and Delridge were the worst areas, but now there are so many other areas that are getting just as bad.

    Comment by West Seattle HIPster — 2:21 pm March 28, 2013 #

  19. Joel, if you rented to these people and didn’t report the “wife” as extra income then you shouldn’t complain because you COULD have ended the lease earlier…

    Comment by helridge — 3:50 pm March 28, 2013 #

  20. NOT EVERYONE THAT IS ON SECTION 8 IS A BAD PERSON. I LIVE ON SECTION 8.I GO TO SSCC AND WORK PART TIME. SOME PEOPLE JUST NEED HELP IN LIVE

    Comment by West Seattle Student — 6:54 pm March 28, 2013 #

  21. WSS, thank you – that is true. Generalities seldom do anyone much good. Many people need a little help sometime; when we bought our house, we qualified for a low-down-payment loan through the Federal Housing Administration because of our household income. Not quite the same as Section 8 but government help (we have long since refinanced to a regular loan) nonetheless – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 7:34 pm March 28, 2013 #

  22. Just sat a that light and watch a drug deal go down just a few hours ago! right in the open. cops don’t care?

    Comment by westman — 7:45 pm March 28, 2013 #

  23. U didnt stab out anyones tires lol
    Quit lying u scared to walk down that alley and we all know it
    That buildings been on zillow for almost a year
    I wonder why noone has bought it???
    Maybe cause its not the building that needs work??
    From a landlords point of view you can get stuck with poor tenants and have few options
    Its bad but overall this area is much better than the 90s at least

    Comment by Jeff platt — 8:11 pm March 28, 2013 #

  24. Hey Westman, did you call 911 when you watched the drug deal go down? Sounds like they would love to have a reason to contact some of those folks.

    They need all of our eyes on this kind of activity.

    Comment by low bridge — 8:18 pm March 28, 2013 #

  25. concerned: if you get a 911 operator that doesn’t take you seriously, ask to speak to their supervisor, s/he will call you back and deal with your complaint.

    onceachef: it’s the operators *job* to grill you and get all the information they can so that the dispatcher can prioritize the hundreds of calls they manage each shift.

    dispatchers and call takers are human – they make mistakes – they also do an amazing job that most of us can’t do.

    Comment by was 911 — 9:51 pm March 28, 2013 #

  26. “There are also 2 other houses– one further up on 15th (closer to Kenyon) and another house right on 16th, and the same people frequent these houses.” Which ones, exactly?

    Comment by Dave — 7:10 am March 29, 2013 #

  27. I live in this neighborhood too and just a block away. I constantly see folks hanging out on the street and in the alley. They stand around with their heads inside car windows parked on the street and alley. I don’t actually see anything specific happening, but I’m not stupid and know what these people are doing. Since I don’t actually see anything particular, I don’t call. But these folks are a nuisance to this neighborhood. They beg for money at the corner store. The same guy always asking for my change. I feel terrible for the folks trying to earn a living at the little market and Athena’s. It most certainly effects them. The children living in this environment are most certainly not getting the attention they need and deserve, which is the sadest part. Thankfully they don’t really hang out down our street, but we get the occasional speeder down our side. I yell at them. Or a few months ago a couple guys were hanging out in front of our house at about 10pm where we had to tell them to leave because our dogs kept barking since we could hear them talking out there. I hope that the neighborhood can rally together to make some changes. Who cares if they stare you down, do it back. Stand up for yourself and let them know you won’t take it anymore!

    Comment by westsidemegan — 11:59 am March 29, 2013 #

  28. I walk or drive past this complex almost daily. Some of the residents seem to be perfectly nice people. Others, yes, seem like thugs. I’ve wondered if they’re mooching off of relatives who can pass a background and credit check…? Asking responsible people to boot out irresponsible or criminal family members is a pretty optimistic proposition.

    Regardless, the place is a mess. The street is full of trash. Because I live on 15th, I go around that corner EXPECTING to need to stop for a six-year-old playing in the middle of the street. I’m grateful that nothing tragic has happened because of people speeding through that block to avoid the light at 16th.

    It would be really nice to see that complex razed in favor of some businesses that would increase the ‘walkability’ of the neighborhood.

    Comment by rockhills — 9:46 pm March 30, 2013 #

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