Crime drop, bog progress, park future @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Some promising news emerged on multiple fronts at this month’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meeting.

CRIME DROP: WWRHAH was briefed by Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The area covered by this community group, he said, has had 56 incidents in tracked categories compared to 119 a year earlier. That includes one fewer robbery, one more aggravated assault, 7 crimes against persons compared to 5 – but property crime is down dramatically – one more burglary, one more commercial burglary (3 compared to 2), but larceny (much of it shoplifting) is down dramatically, about a fourth of what it was. Also: 15 car prowls compared to 17, 8 car thefts compared to 13. 49 property crimes in all – less than half it was at this point last year. Police continue working harder to get repeat offenders kept in jail – including for example making sure the “(law enforcement) objects to release” box is checked on reports.

The subject of the arrest of officer-assault suspect Jorge Cruz-Benitez two nights earlier came up; he was allegedly first spotted doing graffiti vandalism in the area (Delridge/Henderson). Lt. Smith echoed what we noted in a previous discussion, that not all tagging is gang-related. (This meeting was on Tuesday night; one night later, on Wednesday night, Cruz-Benitez was released from jail, according to the KC Jail Register.)

(Southwestern side of Roxhill Bog – WSB photo from 2014)

ROXHILL PARK AND BOG: WWRHAH has been pushing forever to get the bog water-flow fixed –
here’s an extensive report we published in 2014 – and is making progress. Your involvement can accelerate things. First:

Rory Denovan recapped a wetland tour on a rainy day a week and a half ago that included city reps from Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Parks, plus Duwamish Alive!, Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, and Councilmember Lisa Herbold. He said they took a look at areas of settlement and other problems such as camping and drug use. “We didn’t really get the chance to start talking about solutions,” he said, but a project plan has been drafted and the next steps are to apply for grants, so some proposals will be written for that. The city is pursuing green stormwater infrastructure on 29th SW just west of the park, but he feels that there needs to be a bigger-picture plan for the area first – more of the diverted stormwater could be channeled into the bog, for example.

More advocacy is needed to solve the bog’s woes – and WWRHAH needs another point person to advocate and communicate as a liaison between the various agencies. Get involved and help make sure the progress continues! Contact WWRHAH if that resonates with you.

9201 DELRIDGE DESIGN REVIEW: As we’ve reported here, a storage building is proposed to replace the automotive business at 9201 Delridge Way SW, and its first Design Review Board meeting is coming up next week (see the design packet here). “Something’s wrong in orienting the building the way they have, where they don’t have eyes on Delridge,” WWRHAH co-chair Kim Barnes said. She plans to be at the hearing to share her concerns. Eyes on the street are vital in “a developing neighborhood,” she said. In ensuing discussion, it was noted that this area of Delridge is supposed to become pedestrian-friendly, with walkable businesses, as it densifies, and it’s unfortunate that this project – while allowed by current zoning – isn’t going to enhance that. The meeting is at 6:30 pm February 15th; more info here.

HALA APPEAL: WWRHAH is among the community groups involved in the appeal of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability, so Barnes updated the group on what was going on. “We have a really good case,” she believes, while saying she can’t elaborate. She also noted that, as has been discussed at other community meetings recently, the appeal hearing is expected to be delayed until June, because preparations will take longer. She also noted that the appeal coalition is continuing to raise money. WWRHAH and other participating groups want the city to address neighborhood-specific concerns in the Environmental Impact Statement, which has been alleged to have been published as a “one size fits all urban villages” type of plan instead.

ROXHILL PARK COMMONS: WWRHAH continues to be involved with the concept of getting Roxhill Park involved with the Parks Commons Program, “to help increase park usage and enrich the life of the neighborhood.” A kickoff meeting is planned 6:30 pm February 27th at Southwest Library – all welcome.

SOUTH DELRIDGE COMMUNITY GROUP: Home Depot to Roxbury, three blocks on either side, is the area for South Delridge Community Group, which is relaunching meetings – they will meet on second Tuesdays at 7 pm at Two Fingers Social (9211 Delridge Way SW), starting February 13th.

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition meets first Tuesdays most months, 6 pm, at Southwest Library. Watch wwrhah.org for updates.

19 Replies to "Crime drop, bog progress, park future @ Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition"

  • Jethro Marx February 8, 2018 (8:59 pm)

    Gee, say it ain’t so, WSB, how could property crime be down when so many West Seattleites tell us they feel like it’s way up?

     There you go again bringing hard facts to a baseless-claims/anecdotal feelings fight.

     That Delridge building is weird-looking, what?

  • jissy February 8, 2018 (9:27 pm)

    Wait, did I just read he was “released from jail”?  Are you kidding me???  This man takes a knife to a police officer after a home-invasion burglary a few months prior?  What in all the WHAT IS GOING ON????

  • Not all crime Reported February 8, 2018 (11:13 pm)

    Not all crimes are reported. So what the meeting is sharing along with WSB is that crimes reported is down. I know for a fact as a victim that four in my area alone were not. Sometimes you just have to handle things yourself. 

    • WSB February 8, 2018 (11:43 pm)

      And if you don’t report a crime, you are doing a great disservice. Anyway, by that logic, it’s still a drop – “crimes reported” so far this year compared to “crimes reported” so far last year.

  • JRR February 9, 2018 (7:05 am)

    If you feel like our meetings don’t reflect your reality, please join with us. We need all views and perspectives to make change.

    • KM February 9, 2018 (8:03 am)

      If you had residents show up in support of HALA, would you drop out of the appeal?

      • JRR February 9, 2018 (11:14 am)

        People interested in shaping our neighborhood and making connections to address issues are always welcome. The appeal of the EIS that we signed on to is just one of the many ways we’re asking city leaders to pause and actually plan for broader impacts instead of hope they’ll naturally be addressed, such as school capacity and pedestrian and stormwater infrastructure. We have open and honest conversations with leaders every month, on a range of issues that impact everyone. 

      • DH February 10, 2018 (1:39 pm)

        Excellent question. The short answer hidden is JRR’s response is “No.”

        • KM February 10, 2018 (2:50 pm)

          Indeed.

          • JRR February 10, 2018 (3:13 pm)

            Is the condescending snark necessary? Actually doing the organizing and the work necessary to improve our communities requires showing up in person, not just commenting on blogs. The issues are more complex than the way you’re presenting them. We’re not anti hala. We want a better EIS and more investment in communities that will be disproportionately impacted by displacement.

          • KM February 10, 2018 (5:24 pm)

            JRR, if my one-word agreement with DH ‘s point is “condescending” and snarky–I’d be interested to hear what you consider your own response above. 

  • Kimbee February 9, 2018 (7:57 am)

    If you don’t report a crime you lose not once, but twice. No record the crime occurred, then no police resources allocated. 

  • Sarchka February 9, 2018 (9:48 am)

    I noticed recently on the SPD’s website form to fill out a crime report —  they actually state that they won’t followup on most crimes reported that way. 

    “I understand that most online reports do not receive follow-up investigation because they are primarily intended to gather valuable statistical data, and I acknowledge that I have no expectation of follow-up investigation for this report.”

    Other than for insurance purposes, what is the incentive to file an online report if you know there will be no followup by the police?  I agree that crimes should be reported and gathering stats is important but… to most people it feels useless.

    • WSB February 9, 2018 (9:59 am)

      I wish they didn’t have that disclaimer. The point of reporting crime goes beyond whether an individual case might be followed on.

      #1 – As you quote – DATA. This is MASSIVELY important. SPD and other departments are increasingly data-driven. Plans, resources, budgets, etc., depend on data.

      #2 – AWARENESS. We ask for reader reports because it’s the only way we get details (very few report narratives are just popped up on the SPD website due to the onerous redaction process), but even without that, reports at least generate map spots, tweets, etc., saying that a burglary was reported here, an armed robbery was reported there, etc. (see our Crime Watch page for what the Twitter log for local sectors looks like)

      #3 – GET YOUR STUFF BACK/GET A SUSPECT CHARGED. If police recover stolen items, there is zero chance of getting them back to their owners if they’ve never been reported. Often they’ll pull over a stolen car and find a bunch of stuff in the back seat, for example. Or maybe a dumped bicycle turns up on a street corner. Etc. That also can factor into charges against the person found with the loot (possession of stolen property).

      Probably more if I could sit here and think for another few minutes but an overdue story awaits. The reporting process really doesn’t take that long. I’ve been through it; our cars have been prowled, nothing taken, reported it anyway.

      • Mickymse February 9, 2018 (12:17 pm)

        EXACTLY.  If you come home after work to discover that someone broke into your house and stole a few items, SPD may not respond because there’s no active danger to anyone or any suspect to catch. Resources may be deployed elsewhere. File online to have a report, and something to file with your insurance company.

        BUT if a couple other neighbors all report the same thing over a short time period, this is important so that:

        1) SPD can track the actual crime stats in the area.

        2) More resources can be deployed, if needed.

        3) Officers could be sent to patrol the area more often.

        4) Officers in the area know to keep an extra eye out for burglars in the area, or connect it to other crimes being perpetrated by the same individual or group.   

        If you don’t report it at all, then no one knows it’s happening, and it shouldn’t be surprising that SPD has a different awareness of what is going on than the community does.

      • Sarchka February 15, 2018 (10:18 am)

        Thanks for responding, I appreciate and agree with your points… and would LOVE there to be a piece on this specifically!  As you say, it’s unfortunate that they include that text and it would be helpful for people to understand the reasoning behind it  – and why they should of course still report!!

  • Concerned February 9, 2018 (1:40 pm)

    I was in Big 5 Wednesday and was talking to a couple of employees and they said that not they long ago someone tried to shop lift and when the female employee told them to stop the guy came back and punched her.

    I don’t recall hearing about this anywhere

  • Not all Crime Reported February 9, 2018 (9:06 pm)

    Been there done that! The first time robbed we did the leg work combed surrounding pawn shops etc. located the surveillance and turned it over to police. Well they obviously need the help this go around because if they were following up on the crimes that were reported in this area recently they’d put two and two together. We will take care of it this time. 

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