By Patrick Sand and Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
“We’re making a dent in the crime issues in West Seattle.”
If you go to monthly meetings such as the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council or West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network – and/or if you read our regular coverage of those meetings – you’ve seen/heard Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis say that repeatedly lately.
Today, he brought SW Precinct crime trends/updates to a different audience – the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly lunch meeting. He was there with the precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith and newly hired Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Burbridge (read our recent story about her). Here’s our video:
Last year’s property crimes were, he acknowledged, “almost 19 percent over where we needed to be.” So the progress they’re making is to get back down from there. And he talked about how his officers are arresting some repeat offenders “over and over … when my officers arrest these individuals, they don’t want to see (them) back out on the street again” before the ink on the paperwork is dry. There are efforts to change the justice system’s revolving door, he said, as police work with others (including prosecutors).
One recent success story: Car prowls are “down double-digits,” he told the Chamber, as he has told other recent meetings. That’s largely because they’ve gotten repeat offenders behind bars – some of whom are not just car prowlers, but also burglars and shoplifters, generally because they need money for drugs.
Proactive crime fighting includes the newly filled-out bicycle squad (which usually gets going at 10 am, which is the time of day when crime starts to spike, Lt. Smith noted later). And as also comes up at every meeting, he brought up homelessness, and how they are trying to keep camps “out of residential areas” – they rely on tips from the community, he stressed. Asked in the Q/A period about where people are going when their camps are swept: “We’re trying to place these individuals into affordable housing (or shelter) … but a lot of times you see, they move from spot to spot to spot.” If you have an area to report, Community Police Team Officer Todd Wiebke continues to be the main SW Precinct contact – firstname.lastname@example.org is his e-mail address.
They were asked about the woman who lives on the street in The Junction and has reportedly refused offers of help. Officers continue to contact her, Lt. Smith said, but neither she nor anyone else can be forced to accept such offers, he pointed out.
What about the area along Highway 509, downslope from Myers Way and beyond, just east of West Seattle? was another question. Lt. Smith said that while in the past, the overlap of jurisdictions – state, county, city – was a problem, there are now “memorandums of understanding” and “the area is about to be addressed … real soon.”
Other questions included what’s being done about car-prowl problems at specific areas, such as the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) vicinity in The Triangle. He didn’t specifically address that or any other area, but Capt. Davis said they deploy “once we see a pattern develop,” on maps that are created from every report they get. He also stressed that the incidents have to be reported to police – otherwise, they have no way of knowing. (We stress this all the time too. Even if nothing is taken in a car prowl, for example – you can report it online.)
Where is car-prowl loot taken to be sold? was another question. Some of it isn’t sold but used by the thieves. So rather than trying to apply pressure to places that might resell stolen property – don’t give thieves the chance to steal anything – don’t leave anything in the car, Capt. Davis stressed (as police have been doing for years).
Someone else wanted to know about getting unwanted prescription medicine out of the home, gave Capt. Davis an opportunity to pitch again for Drug Takeback Day, coming up Saturday, April 29th, 10 am-2 pm, at the precinct (2300 SW Webster).
Yet another question involved how to deal with door-to-door solicitors, to figure out if they are legit or not, or whether they might just be casing for possible burglary targets. If you suspect the latter, Capt. Davis said, call police so they can check the person out firsthand. And if you’re calling while it’s happening, or when something just happened minutes ago – as was reiterated in a later response to a different question – call 911.
The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce has monthly lunch meetings and other events you can find out about by checking its website at wschamber.com. One good monthly meeting where you’ll hear from, and get a chance to talk with, local police is the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, third Tuesdays, 7 pm at the precinct – next one is next Tuesday, April 18th.