West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
He’s one of a kind.
Det. Christopher Young, the Seattle Police Department‘s lone graffiti detective, made a guest appearance at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, debunking graffiti myths and sharing case histories with more than two dozen people, who identified themselves as being from all over the peninsula, plus White Center. (The detective, for his part, said he’s a former West Seattleite.)
He began with the “top 4 graffiti myths.”
Graffiti vandalism – whether gang-related (most isn’t) or not – is a perennial problem. What’s being done about it? What should you do if you see it? One more reminder is just in from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council – that’s their spotlight topic this Tuesday night:
Most people don’t know that the Seattle Police Department has a detective solely devoted to graffiti crimes. Detective Christopher Young will discuss all aspects of graffiti crimes including the reporting of graffiti, how to identify gang graffiti, the prosecution of graffiti crimes, ways to deter graffiti, and how graffiti is often correlated with more serious crimes.
Everyone’s welcome – 7 pm Tuesday (March 19th), Southwest Precinct meeting room (right off the parking lot, enter from SW Webster just west of Delridge). As always, police will discuss recent crime trends, and there’s time for attendees to bring up their neighborhood concerns too.
(From left, Lt. Pierre Davis; WSCPC president Richard Miller)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
While the Seattle Police Department‘s in-the-works surveillance cameras have drawn lots of attention lately (WSB coverage archive here), another technological tool that’s about to be deployed came to light at this week’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting: New data-crunching technology to be used for “predictive policing” – anticipating crime before it happens, to make sure resources are deployed in the right places.
Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis mentioned the new system almost in passing while answering questions about various neighborhood trouble spots. He described it as something that will enable officers on the street to get “cheat sheets” as crime trends are crunched on a daily basis; other departments around the country use it and in some areas have experienced a significant reduction in crime.
Lt. Davis told WSB after the meeting that the system is expected to be in use around March 24. It’s known as PredPol for short – that’s the name he used, and that’s even the company’s handle on Twitter – but the company that sells the technology is named Predictive Policing. It originated with the Los Angeles Police Department, according to its website, which describes how it works.
The city website includes a brief mention in a news release about last week’s update on the SPD 20/20 project, with which Lt. Davis has been closely involved.
Ahead, what else he mentioned to the council, as well as other toplines from the meeting:Read More
Just announced for the next West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (Tuesday, February 19th, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct) – President Richard Miller says that Seattle Parks‘ resources manager Robert Stowers will be there to “address questions regarding safety and security at park facilities” – an especially timely topic given high-profile cases such as last month’s Roxhill Park robberies. Also scheduled: Sarah Sorensen, Volunteer Supervisor from the Seattle Police Victim Support Team, to talk about upcoming training and how to volunteer with the VST.
(Crowded RapidRide bus boarding downtown 11/20/12, photo courtesy Ben Blain)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“The change we did was big – probably too big.”
So acknowledged Metro Transit planning supervisor David Hull during this month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, which itself swerved back and forth along a list of topics that, too, was probably too big.
The change to which Hull referred was the September 29th Metro service change affecting numerous West Seattle routes, taking effect the same day as the launch of RapidRide C Line, replacing the 54/55 buses.
Metro’s received an earful and then some ever since, and is offering another chance tomorrow (Tuesday, November 27th) morning for West Seattle bus riders to sound off – at four stops along the RapidRide route, as detailed here.
At the WSCPC meeting, the changes’ effects on public safety – on board the buses, at the stations, along the roads with more buses and new features such as curb bulbs – were supposed to be the subject. But some attendees brought up gripes about reduced or changed service, too.
In the end, much was vented, little solved – but the venting itself might lead to something down the road. Metro reps again noted that some tweaks were in the works, likely for the February service change.
Ahead, what came up, what was said, and what’s next:
Just back from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. The transit discussion – which swerved back and forth across just about every imaginable bus-related issue that’s come up recently – will be in a story all its own. So we’ll start this Crime Watch roundup with the WSCPC meeting-opening briefing on crime trends, followed by 5 reader reports we’ve received.
Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen said that a spike in property crimes about a month ago is over because of recent arrests – the rate had dropped back down in the past week or so. He says the year overall remains on track around 20 percent below last year’s property-crime rate – a year that in turn was about 20 percent above the long-term average.
Another “bump” may be ahead, he warned, because it’s “that crazy time of the year, the holidays,” when thieves and burglars are after items you’ve bought for gifts, maybe even before you get them into your vehicle or home: “(When shopping) you become more of a target, so be aware of your surroundings, look around,” Capt. Paulsen warned, adding that there will be more police presence at Westwood Village and The Junction – not on overtime, but by “shuffling around” resources. He also cautioned people to arrange for deliveries in ways that won’t lead to packages unattended on front doors.
Betty asked about the Fairmount Springs break-in reports that circulated one week ago (they’re in this WSB Crime Watch roundup), apparently targeting homes inhabited by women, home alone. The cases were news to Capt. Paulsen and Community Police Team Officer Jonathan Kiehn, who monitor for patterns, but said these hadn’t surfaced as one. Another attendee said she had come to ask about the incidents too, and the perception that there might be a known suspect who hadn’t yet been arrested. Police promised to check into these cases ASAP.
One attendee brought up mail theft and asked if police could “set up a sting.” Short answer: No, since it’s a federal-jurisdiction crime, but if you see it happening, do call 911, the citizen was told, since, Capt. Paulsen said, they have caught mail thieves “over the years.” He was also advised to look into a locked mailbox. Immediately after the exchange, he and Officer Kiehn started a followup conversation.
Now, Part 2 of this roundup: The latest reader reports – five in all, the first two with photos:
Just in from West Seattle Crime Prevention Council president Richard Miller – next week’s monthly WSCPC meeting will focus on transit – safety, in particular:
Our November meeting will focus on how the recent Metro Transit route changes and the creation of a Transit Center in the Westwood neighborhood have impacted West Seattle. Our guests will include Dale Cummings, Senior Transit Planner (Metro); Mike Bergman, Service Planning Manager (Sound Transit); and Christine Alar, Transit Planning and Policy (SDOT).
The meeting is at 7 pm Tuesday, November 20th, in the meeting room at the Southwest Precinct (Delridge/Webster), everyone welcome, with your chance to not only ask questions of the guests but also to bring up community concerns to the Seattle Police leadership in attendance.
Three notes in West Seattle Crime Watch this afternoon. First, two car prowls reported this morning on the south end of Beach Drive – thanks to Whitney for the tip; they’re both listed on SPD’s Tweets by Beat (here’s our list of all West Seattle tweets) – they were in the 6000 and 6500 blocks of Beach Drive.
Second, from Chelsea:
I wanted to let you know about some vandalism happening in the 4800 block of Fauntleroy Way SW. On Saturday (10/6) between midnight and 7:00 a.m. the passenger side mirror was ripped off of my vehicle. The car was parked on Fauntleroy directly in front of my building in a well lit area. I heard two men arguing around 2:30 a.m. but can’t see the street from my unit. No other vehicles on the block were damaged.
This morning (10/10) at 7:30 a.m. I saw that another vehicle had the same damage (mirror broken and hanging from the wires). No other vehicles in the block were damaged. When I took the dog out at 10 p.m. last night, the vehicle was intact, so the damage happened sometime between 10 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.
I have filed an incident report with the police department.
Finally, the official announcement from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council – the special guest for next week’s WSCPC meeting will be Ian Goodhew, chief of staff for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Got a question about what happens AFTER someone is arrested? Why are plea bargains made? Why are sentencing recommendations sometimes seem light? He’s the expert. 7 pm Tuesday, October 16th, Southwest Precinct meeting room, all welcome.
Neighbors brought concerns to tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting – exactly what the meeting’s for. A big one involves a situation that’s been reported and discussed here – a house in Upper Morgan linked to a recent arrest in a neighborhood some blocks north. Read on for that, the latest crime trends, updates on recent cases including last night’s search, and more:
From Tuesday night’s meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, last one until September: With “emphasis patrols” out, burglaries, car prowls, and car thefts have continued at relatively low levels in West Seattle this past month. Currently, according to Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis, this area is averaging 12 car prowls and 9 residential burglaries a week (last week, he said, there were 8). The “emphasis patrols,” according to Lt. Davis, have been in areas that had been hit hard by burglars/car prowlers late last year, and as the seasons change, so will the areas where police are focused – Alki, for example, needs extra attention this time of year.
In Q/A, a question about graffiti led to a vigorous discussion:Read More
(Parks boss Christopher Williams, left, and WS Crime Prevention Council president Richard Miller)
How safe are West Seattle’s parks, and can they be made safer?
Those questions – stirred by last month’s unsolved murder of Greggette Guy, who police have said they believe was killed at Emma Schmitz Viewpoint – led the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council to invite acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams to its April meeting. (Here’s our separate update on the murder case itself.)
Williams, who grew up in West Seattle and is a Chief Sealth graduate, spoke and answered questions – as did two Parks managers who accompanied him – for more than 45 minutes in the Southwest Precinct meeting room on Tuesday night.
No big announcements, no “aha” moments, not even any extensive discussion of (nor questions about) Schmitz Viewpoint – but here’s how it unfolded (including video, if you would like to see and hear for yourself): Read More
First update from tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis had wrapped up his crime-trends update without mentioning last month’s Beach Drive murder, but during open Q/A afterward, he was finally asked about the case. Still an active investigation, he said, adding that detectives are following up “specific leads,” though he had no details to share. Five weeks have now passed since 51-year-old Greggette Guy of Kent was found dead in the water south of Cormorant Cove Park, a half-mile south of where she had apparently left her car the night before to go for a waterfront walk; we checked with key figures in the case at the one=month mark (here’s our April 11th story). The case was a major reason acting Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams spoke to the group tonight; nothing revelatory in his remarks, but toplines and video are coming up in our full meeting report.
ORIGINAL 7:42 PM REPORT: The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council seldom draws citywide media coverage, but a crew from channel 7 dropped in tonight to hear what Seattle Police had to say – and what citizens wanted to ask – about the Beach Drive murder case. Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen spent about half an hour talking, and answering questions. We have it all on video so you can see for yourself if you couldn’t be here; topline for starters – no breakthroughs to report, but Capt. Paulsen reiterated that if there was something the public needed to know to be safer, they wouldn’t hesitate to share it, and that the department “is putting everything we have” toward solving the case. The only bit of information about the case itself that he revealed, in response to a question, is that they do believe Greggette Guy was killed at or “very close to” the lower level of Emma Schmitz Memorial Viewpoint, during “evening” hours (the night before her body was found half a mile north). The meeting is still under way; more to come.
ADDED 9:36 PM: Added the video atop this story. It begins when Capt. Paulsen started speaking about the case, after spending about a minute and a half discussing other crime trends (major topline: car prowls are down dramatically), but otherwise is unedited, running 26 minutes, until no one had any more questions and he yielded the floor. Along the way, you will hear him address a few unrelated questions, including one about the recent Westwood Village gunfire (bottom line, no one arrested yet, but the Gang Unit is handling the case, and they don’t believe it was a random occurrence). (Still more to add from the meeting, re: other topics. P.S. We have created a coverage archive for all stories about this case, while it remains unsolved – find it here, with, as always, newest stories first.)
ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: In case you can’t view the video, we have transcribed Capt. Paulsen’s opening statement about the Beach Drive case, before he invited Q/A, which focused on safety questions overall. Read on for that and notes from the meeting’s other speaker, an insurance-fraud expert with some eye-opening insights into car theft:Read More
(From left, Melissa Chin from Seattle City Attorney’s Office, Cheryl Bishop from ATF, Jill Otake from U.S. Attorney’s Office)
From tonight’s meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council at the Seattle Police Southwest Precinct, toplines on topics from the latest property-crime rate, to last fall’s White Center-area raids, to an impromptu primer on the criminal-justice system, with three guests (above), all ahead & more:Read More
The only public meeting not canceled last night was the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, which proceeded with its usual agenda of crime-trend updates from Southwest Precinct leadership, followed by a guest speaker.
Operations Lt. Pierre Davis summarized the wave of burglaries that “hit hard” in West Seattle toward the end of 2011 – and the 17 arrests (as of last week) that he said have made a a dent in the trend. He says regional agencies connected it all to a “burglary ring” that had been working in South King County as well as Seattle (and not just WS), possibly even Portland. The resulting (albeit temporary) explosion in burglaries was so big at one point, he said, that in the first week of December, there were 25 burglaries in this area – but by the first week of January, that was down to five, closer to the usual average. Lt. Davis said arrests were possible largely thanks to good evidence and good witness descriptions – which led to another reminder, if you see something suspicious, call it in.
The night’s special guest was Officer W.J. Witt, who worked with the Aggressive Driver Response Team before moving recently to the new Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Squad. He spent much of his time fielding specific questions – including, what can be done about “aggressive drivers” who aren’t in the usual places often staked out by police. His answer: Call 911 if it’s a problem happening *now*. Otherwise, you can also leave a message with the Traffic division – ADRT is part of that division (not based in WS) – at 206-684-8722. Regarding the CVES – you can get a taste of what they’re up to, by checking out this recent report from SPD Blotter.
Just got word from leadership of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council that they are NOT canceling tonight’s 7 pm meeting – during which, besides getting updates on local crime trends from Southwest Precinct police, they also are scheduled to hear from a representative of the Aggressive Driver Response Team. The meeting’s at the precinct, Delridge/Webster, all welcome (door’s on the west side of the building, by the public parking lot).
Meantime, we promised to follow up on the helicopter seen over Highland Park for a while last Saturday night. Took a while to get the answer because of the holiday weekend, but King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says it was a search for two people who had stolen from a White Center store and ran across the city/county line into West Seattle. Full story on our partner site White Center Now.
Last but not least, another car break-in reported – this one by Kristina:
Not only was our car broken into, they knocked over our snowman and our trash can. A video camera and a parking pass were the only things stolen also the insert inside the console . No damage to vehicle either. We live in North Admiral.
*Residential burglaries, up 2 percent
*Non-residential burglaries, down 6 percent
*Auto thefts, up 10 percent
*Car prowls “way down” thanks to some recent arrests that “led to others”
Overall, Lt. Davis’s assessment: “We’re getting our bad guys, but there are still a lot more out there.” He stressed that “if you see something, say something” – call 911 if what you see is happening now; don’t worry about possibly “bothering” them with a non-emergency, as the operator’s job is to figure out the best way to route your call. Report #2, coming up – highlights from Metro Transit Police Chief Lisa Mulligan‘s presentation on what her team is all about. (Side note: WSCPC won’t meet in December, so its next meeting is January 17th.)
Story and photos by Katie Meyer
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Can termite damage really cause a fire in your wooden home? A baseboard heater that is turned “off” stays off, doesn’t it? Just how can something “spontaneously combust” (which started the fire at right, in Arbor Heights in August)?
Many questions related to fires – and fire safety – were answered Tuesday night at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting held at the Southwest Precinct. A late but informative addition to the agenda: The Seattle Fire Department provided guest speakers – education specialist Dana Catts and investigator Ronald M. Ready from the Arson and Fire Investigation Unit.
First, Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis gave an update on current crime rates, stressing that recent success in reducing certain crimes was bolstered by “the efforts that have happened with our citizens here and their fantastic job they’re doing in reporting crime to 911, saying the right things to the 911 operators, giving the right information.”
From tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting:
CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis described it as an “up-and-down-type summer,” with burglary “spikes” at times. He said Community Police Team officers (including Ken Mazzuca and Kevin McDaniel, who were also at the meeting) were tasked with helping solve the puzzle, and that led to “very, very favorable arrests” of the “more prolific individuals out there in the West Seattle community” that put a “big dent” in burglaries, car prowls, and similar crimes – including suspects he says were to blame for more than half the burglaries.
He says there were no particular neighborhoods being hit harder than others – it would differ widely “as if a salt shaker were sprinkled all over (the map)” – and so crime analysis was done over and over again, yielding “fantastic arrests.”
As for specific types of crime, Lt. Davis said that car thefts are currently running “a few up from our norm,” which is 10/month, currently running at 13. Burglaries? “They’ve gone way down and we’re particularly happy about that.” Lt. Davis thanked alert community members and advice from Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon, “which has paid off greatly … we’ve gotten some fantastic tips” from people who provided helpful information that assisted them in arresting suspects. He says they’re also working to link suspects to more cases, if applicable, so they can be prosecuted under the Repeat Burglary Initiative and potentially get tougher sentences.
IDENTITY THEFT: Angela Kaake, senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, was the meeting’s special guest, with a presentation featuring lots of data about its prevalence, as well as advice on prevention and protection, plus a window into what it takes for successful prosecution. (She’s also on the Greater Puget Sound Financial Fraud and Identity Theft Task Force.)
Want to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft? She had specific advice – for prevention and for what to do if it happens anyway – read on:Read More
Low-key meeting for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council tonight, and its last one till September (bylaws passed last year enable them to skip July and August) – but there was the usual crime-trend briefing, plus informational, albeit casual, presentations about the Seattle Police Foundation and the SPD Explorers program, as well as news of a new graffiti-paint-out program this summer – read on for summaries:Read More
(4/30/11 photo by Katie Meyer from the Admiral Way Viewpoint drug-takeback dropoff)
The drug-takeback events on April 30th netted 256 pounds of prescription drugs in West Seattle alone, according to the local DEA office. But if you doubt that matters – check out the toplines from last night’s presentation to the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council. While drug-abuse expert Steve Freng talked about all categories of drug abuse, over and over again, he reiterated that it’s legal drugs, not illegal drugs, causing the most problems these days.
Freng is with the team focused on the Northwest HIDTA – high-intensity drug-trafficking area. He also spoke to the WSCPC at the Southwest Precinct two and a half years ago (here’s our report from that meeting), at which time he warned that prescription-drug abuse was on the upswing. His information is not West Seattle-specific, but it’s regional and likely a good indicator of what’s happening here:Read More
First of two reports from tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct: The burglary “spike” reported last month by Capt. Steve Paulsen is over, according to operations Lt. Pierre Davis. He presented one specific statistic as evidence: The second full week in April, this area had 23 burglaries. Second full week in May, there were five. (We doublechecked the online police-reports map, which shows even fewer, if you configure it for 5/8-5/14.) Lt. Davis attributes the drop to more arrests: “We went out and corralled a bunch of our bad guys – we really knocked ’em dead.” But don’t let your guard down, he said (and while he didn’t mention them specifically, yesterday’s Arbor Heights incidents underscored that) – keep an eye out in your neighborhood, particularly as vacation season kicks in next month and more people are away, and when you see someone or something, get as much descriptive information as you can – car descriptions, suspect descriptions.
Speaking of keeping an eye out, Karen Berge from the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network announced at meeting’s end that their next meeting is next Tuesday, 6:30 pm, also at SW Precinct. Coming up later: Current drug-abuse trends, from tonight’s guest speaker, a regional expert who spoke to the group 2 1/2 years ago (WSB coverage here).
From tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at Southwest Precinct:
“We’re really concerned with our burglaries, car prowls, and auto thefts, said Operations Lt. Pierre Davis. But for the past month, he cited a “significant drop” in those categories. “We are at pretty much an 8-month-to-a-year low, compared to a year ago.” Regarding our “more active individuals in the community – we’ve gotten them recognized,” and arrested and prosecuted, “and they’re out of our hair for a long, long time. … We hope to keep that trend up.” He quoted precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen as saying “We’re doing really good now, but we want to get that down to zero … if you see something out there, let us know.” And toward that, Lt. Davis revealed, an informational campaign is ahead to alert the community to ways to help reduce the chance of auto theft and other car-related crimes. WSCPC president Richard Miller asked Lt. Davis about any current hot spots for auto theft, and the lieutenant replied that “It’s pretty random right now.”
Other toplines from the meeting, including a presentation on a volunteer-staffed program that helps some of the community’s most-vulnerable victims, after the jump:Read More