From tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meeting – first one since before the holidays:
FIGHTING CRIME: Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis said the new bicycle officers added to the precinct, mentioned at other recent meetings, will help police patrol proactively. They’ll be patroling outside the purview of 911 response, which means they can be deployed in areas that have been hot spots for problems such as car prowling.
Capt. Davis also said SPD is continuing to work with prosecutors and judges to help get repeat offenders sentenced to more time behind bars.
DEALING WITH HOMELESSNESS: Special guest was SW Precinct Community Police Team Officer Todd Wiebke, who is the CPT point person on homelessness-related matters.
City rules only allow SPD to do so much, Officer Wiebke explained – it’s up to nonprofits to deal with directly helping those in need. Police, ultimately, are there for the security of the public. A few minutes into his talk, someone brought up the campers and vehicles along Myers Way. Wiebke stressed that he and other officers do arrest people who are breaking the law, but it’s not illegal to be homeless, and not all unsheltered people are breaking the law. The people at Camp Second Chance, which is slated by the city to become an authorized camp, are overall “clean and sober” as per their rules, Wiebke said, but that’s not necessarily the case for the people living elsewhere along Myers Way. He, by the way, said CSC has about 30 residents, with a similar number of people living on the slope across the street.
RV residents, he continued, are not all law-breakers either. Some are employed and the RV just happens to be the only place they have to live. Some vehicles, meantime, had been associated with crimes, and they had been investigated, with, in some cases, Wiebke said, property seized. Overall, though, the city has a lot of rules on the books to be followed when police and other agencies deal with campers, and the discussion at the meeting veered into some of those details (here’s some of what’s on the books).
Some attendees also wanted to know how to help the people at Camp Second Chance; Officer Wiebke said water is always needed, but that people could visit and talk with camp leaders to see specifically how to help.
The West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network meets on fourth Tuesdays most months, 6:30 pm, Southwest Precinct. Watch the WSBWCN website for updates between meetings.