West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network: Summer plans; incident updates; SPD’s online expert

(SPD Mounted Patrol officers photographed by Faith on Barton by Westwood/Roxhill last week)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Roxhill Park/Westwood Village, a more-troubled area than ever lately, is getting beefed-up SPD attention, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske told the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network last night.

In his briefing at the start of their monthly meeting, he addressed both current problems and concerns about the approaching summer.

Regarding the latter, the area is one of three at the heart of the summertime emphasis plan he has drafted, along with Alki (for the usual reasons) and Lincoln Park (primarily for its car-prowling problems). “Exactly how much (of the requested resources) I’m going to get in terms of what I’m asking for, because it’s fairly significant, I haven’t heard that yet,” he said. He’s said before that he is hoping for Mounted Patrol resources and added on Tuesday night that he hopes some officers will be able to patrol the area on bicycles.

As for the current situation at Westwood Village, where incidents have ranged from recurring shoplifting to an assault on an officer, Capt. Wilske says officers are assigned to be in the area more regularly so that if a call comes in, they can get to it quicker than ever. Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn added that right now there’s a strategy of working on a big-picture fix for a “lot of little things” that require increased communications, security, and procedures on businesses’ part at Westwood, as well as help from police.

ALSO COMING UP THIS SUMMER: “We’re going to be doing traffic emphasis along 35th SW for the summer,” looking for “speed and distracted driving,” said Capt. Wilske. “If you are driving on 35th SW you probably want to be driving the speed limit and you want to be using your hands-free devices.”

Ahead (if you’re reading this from the home page), updates on notable incidents, plus the night’s featured guest:

INCIDENT UPDATES: He noted high-profile arrests recently totaling six burglary suspects, plus the cell-phone-robbery arrest last weekend near Lincoln Park. The recent South Delridge home-invasion robbery that included a stabbing is being investigated by detectives; “the victim’s going to be OK, he’s going to recover.” Finally, the fire death near the precinct “appears to be just an unfortunate death.” One attendee asked about the car theft after the locker-room theft at the YMCA and wondered if the captain had heard of it. He also mentioned that detectives are still investigating the South Park luring attempts – no repeat incidents since that one day three weeks ago, but they still want to find the person. And he mentioned the ongoing investigation of prolific tagging vandalism in the Admiral District, including the Admiral Theater, handled by SPD’s dedicated graffiti detective. One non-incident note, in response to a question: Noticed the new SPD SUVs? Two are in use and 120 are on order, as part of a longrunning process to replace the department’s aging fleet, said Wilske.

COMMUNITY POLICE TEAM OFFICER BACK: By the way, Officer Kiehn (at right in the photo with Wilske) returned to duty today after months on leave following a line-of-duty injury that required surgery.

SPD ONLINE: Featured guest was Shanna Christie, a civilian employee of SPD who works with their online initiatives including social media and the Web.

She says they’re interested in not only what you think of what they offer, but what you use – if it’s not a city source – to get information about SPD and what it does.

She mentioned/showed the following (most of which have been mentioned here repeatedly before – but check them out if you haven’t already!):

Block Watch Tool Kit (with the caveat that it needs an update)
Online Reporting (with the caveat that it “goes to a pretty bad third-party system” that she’s hoping will be improved – Officer Kiehn explained that “just because an officer’s not going to come out doesn’t mean it’s not going to help us in the future” – he might notice trends for example that might be linked to a particular nuisance house. Neighbors might say “This has been happening for years,” but there is no record of it. “This is for the kind of thing that if you say, well, do I really need to report it, please do,” Wilske said.
Police Report Map (incidents for which reports were filed) and Incident Response Map (shows what incidents were dispatched as, not necessarily what they turned out to be)
Crime Data page
SPD Blotter (two or three items a day)
Tweets by Beat (automatically posted Twitter links to incidents, by type/time/street/block, broken out by sector)
(Officer Kiehn reminded that they can be frightening – the tweet is not always what was found, it’s what was dispatched – questions included, how can you associate the tweets so that the same call’s update is identifiable – as we can point out, look for two tweets with the same incident number. We aggregate all the WS Tweets by Beat in a box on the WSB Crime Watch page, by the way.)
SPD Twitter feed (general information about major incidents, links to SPDBlotter stories as they’re published, etc.)
Get Your Bike Back Twitter feed (stolen bikes recovered by SPD)
Get Your Car Back Twitter feed (stolen vehicles reported to SPD)

She previewed some features in the works – making the precinct home pages more dynamic, for example – the police-report/incident-response map icons would show up on pages by beat. They would also break out into monthly stats, and resources by area such as who to contact about what.

One attendee asked about where to look for real-time emergency information. Christie pointed out that if there was something like an earthquake, the city Emergency Operations Center would kick in.

How do you find information? (We advise using a search engine – for example, one attendee reported trouble using the SPD website to find a contact for Parking Enforcement; a Google search with the words Seattle Police Parking Enforcement brought it up immediately.)

Why can’t information be put out like “police are looking for a red car (in a certain incident)”? Capt. Wilske explained, “We need to know what WE are looking for. Officer Kiehn said, if descriptive information is given to me, I know how to handle it – if that information goes out to the public, they’re not trained to interact with that information. “I am interested in using you guys as eyes for me but we have to assess …”

SIDE NOTE: Neighborhoods represented at the meeting (as announced in the traditional go-around-the-room-and-introduce-yourself) ranged from North Delridge to Highland Park to Alki, Sunrise Heights to Fauntleroy, and beyond. (WSBWCN leaders Deb Greer and Karen Berge are Block Watch captains for Hansen View, which is south of Providence Mount St. Vincent.) An HPark resident who identified himself as a neighbor of the 15th/Holden apartment building that used to be a magnet for trouble says it’s “pretty mild these days” – they worked with the property owner as well as police/city attorney reps.

Follow the West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network online at wsblockwatchnet.wordpress.com. Meetings are usually on 4th Tuesdays.

8 Replies to "West Seattle Block Watch Captains' Network: Summer plans; incident updates; SPD's online expert"

  • westseattledood April 23, 2014 (10:55 pm)

    The Friends of the Seattle Mounted Patrol have a Facebook page with regular updates and lots of photos of the teams working for those who are fans of the Unit.

    BTW – SPD is currently looking for two new horses for the unit, so if anybody has connections with horse owners who might be interested in selling a good horse to serve, let them know!

    Here is a copy from the Facebook Friends page:

    “The Patrol is still looking for two more horses. Again the general criteria are geldings, 5-10 years old, broke to ride at walk, trot, canter, and not spooked easily.

    They don’t need any special training.

    They should be at 16 hands-ish but not much over 17 (imagine mounting when on patrol).

    They have had a preference for stockier type horses such as quarter horses, quarter/draft crosses.

    Yes, they do pay for the horses.”

  • miws April 24, 2014 (7:19 am)

    Thanks for the heads-up on FotSMP Page, ‘dood!


    “Like”ed and set to get Notifications!



  • iggy April 24, 2014 (9:30 am)

    Thank you Capt. Wilske. As an older (frail) person and a long-time West Seattle resident, Westwood Village, especially, has been getting scary. Looks like you are trying very hard, with the limited resources available, to make all three of our summer hot-spots (Alki, Westwood, Lincoln Park) safer for all ages. THANK YOU.

  • enough April 24, 2014 (9:58 am)

    Why can’t vandalism to cars be reported on line? I’ve called non emergency and they wont file a report. Seems like broken windows on vehicles is something reasonable to report..

  • LJ April 24, 2014 (1:14 pm)

    Thank for the upcoming traffic emphasis on 35th SW I live on 35th and it’s ridiculous how fast some people drive. Thank You

  • enough April 24, 2014 (3:32 pm)

    I like emphasis patrols but they have done them in the past and the problem persists. Maybe they need to do them consistently to get the message across or change the road configuration but I know that’s a whole other (controversial) issue. I don’t know what the answer is but something needs to be done. What has been done in the past has failed. 35th has had too many pedestrian and cyclist deaths, car accidents, rollovers, etc as I’m sure WSB readers already know.

  • West Seattle Hipster April 24, 2014 (7:34 pm)

    Nice to see a police presence, but not nice to see the infamous wall of buses.

  • Resident of West Seattle Roxbury neighborhood April 29, 2014 (3:24 pm)

    I have witnessed two incidents in my neighborhood of blatant police intimidation, harassment and violation of civil liberties against both Men and Youth of Color. During both incidents police were upset and agitated that I bore witness to their targeting and discrimination of people of color in our neighborhood – I am adamantly opposed to the “gang units” and other blatantly militarized fascist police units & force that perpetuate violence, stereotypes and patriarchy/hierarchy in our neighborhoods. I stand for the abolishment of ALL police. Not everyone in our neighborhood(s) will stand in fear of them OR feel the need to submit to their bully tactics. FTP ALL Day and ALL NIGHT. Protect our children and neighborhoods by keeping the police out!

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