By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Crime trends and an update on the Alert Seattle system were the focus points of last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting:
The dozen-ish people who showed up were from neighborhoods north to south, Admiral to Puget Ridge to Morgan Junction.
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told participants that more than a dozen neighborhoods in West Seattle have “micro-policing plans,” and they’re developing “targeted responses” to the issues.
In general, around West Seattle, auto thefts, robberies, and car prowls are the high-focus issues right now, he said.
The Westwood Village area is seeing a lot of activity, “a lot of cars getting broken into there,” as well as the North Admiral area. “Our officers are instructed to collect as much evidence as they can so we can put a face to who’s doing those bad things.” In The Junction, robberies are up, motor-vehicle thefts are down, year-to-year – a precinct-wide trend, Davis said, with 45 percent fewer in 2015 than the year before.
He mentioned last summer’s emphasis on 20+ suspects, with more than half of them found, arrested, and “given good solid time.” As a result, crime plummeted. “But when those individuals serving time get out of jail, (crime) shoots back up.” So, as he has mentioned at previous meetings, they work with prosecutors to make sure they’re campaigning to keep the suspects in jail. And “the more crime they can tie to an individual, the more time they’ll get. … One individual can go out in the course of one night and steal 5, 6, 7 cars” – a burglar can be that prolific too. He also reiterated that they share information with King County Sheriff’s Deputies – “their bad guys are our bad guys too.”
Using the city’s various data offerings, an attendee said she had pulled stats for the area around the Super 24 at Delridge/Findlay and noticed a “huge increase.” Capt. Davis said “it ebbs and flows but it spikes.” The precinct works with the DESC’s Cottage Grove Commons and works to have them do some self-policing, since some of the incidents for which police are called turn out to be little more than squabbles.
Regarding last month’s nearby 30-shots-fired case, the specific house – no relation to DESC, Capt. Davis said – was targeted (as reported here days after the incident). He said the new Mobile Precinct now is frequently parked in that area. But the Super 24 vicinity “always has been lively,” Capt. Davis pointed out. The attendee said that she wanted to use the stats to help make the case for more SW Precinct officers. Capt. Davis said that she might offer them to Councilmember Lisa Herbold, for starters.
Regarding the recent window-shooting incidents around West Seattle – most seeming to involve BB guns – Capt. Davis said the investigation continues. “We don’t exactly know their identities, but we have pretty good photos” from various surveillance cameras, he said, so it’s considered to be just a matter of time before suspects are found. “If that does happen to you, please be sure to report it ASAP,” he added.
A South Delridge resident asked about noise ordinances – music, vehicles. She said she was loathe to call 911 but wondered if maybe after 10 pm that would be OK, or … “If it’s loud and raucous and you can hear it, call 911,” said Capt. Davis. He said officers generally would be sent out to “chat” with whomever’s responsible. And yes, he said, they do talk to landlords, eventually, if “it’s an ongoing-type issue that seems to linger.”
One more issue: Needles found in areas such as the Delridge P-Patch. Asked for an opinion regarding “safe consumption sites” for drug users, Capt. Davis said he would defer to department policy and that it would take a lot of research. “Some folks would look at that as a type of blight after a while,” he said cautiously.
Overall, the message remained, if you see something, say something, and call 911 when it’s happening: “We want to know what’s going on, so we can jump on it.”
ALERT SEATTLE: Matt Auflick from the city’s Office of Emergency Management presented this update. About 19,000 people have opted into it so far; you can choose how you want the information to be sent. The sign-up page currently offers information in 19 different languages, but the messaging is only sent in English, though they’re working to add more languages. They were going to use Microsoft Translate “but it doesn’t work that well,” Auflick said, so they’re figuring out what to do next.
Asked if the system might be usable in situations where a major crime investigation is under way and neighbors should be alerted, Auflick said that’s a possibility somewhere down the road.
You can find out more about Alert Seattle – and sign up – by going here.
LANDLORD TRAINING: Capt. Davis mentioned an April 21st training session with the Seattle Neighborhood Group.
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets third Tuesdays. President Richard Miller says that he’s working on pedestrian safety for the 7 pm March 15th meeting, with SDOT’s Jim Curtin booked.