West Seattle, Washington
(SPD’s Lt. Pierre Davis (left) and Lt. Darin Chinn talk with community members at the SW Precinct)
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
West Seattle residents and Block Watch leaders gathered Tuesday night at Southwest Precinct for the monthly meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, to hear positive news about recent crime trends – but also to hear a presentation that served as a sobering reminder of ongoing drug problems facing communities as a whole.
SW Precinct Lt. Pierre Davis (pictured above, at left) reported that in the past month, there has been a “39% decrease in property crimes” in West Seattle, following a “spike in activity” in January in which burglaries and car prowls were more frequent.
Lt. Davis said that SPD “mobilized more patrols” in response to that spike, and worked closely with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and community members to identify troublesome individuals and “basically take them off the streets.” He cited yesterday’s arrest of an “active car prowl suspect” as a major success story in these ongoing efforts, which include a crackdown on catalytic converter thefts from parked cars.
A major goal, Lt. Davis said, is to build strong cases against the repeat offenders to keep them behind bars longer – more like “25-50 months” versus much shorter sentences.
“Welcome to 2011!” With that, West Seattle Crime Prevention Council president Dot Beard opened last night’s meeting at the Southwest Precinct, the first WSCPC meeting in two months – and her last one as president. As the meeting began, more than 15 people were on hand, not counting three uniformed SPD reps – Lt. Pierre Davis and Community Police Team Officers Jonathan Kiehn and Ken Mazzuca – plus soon-to-retire Crime Prevention Coordinator Benjamin Kinlow. Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen joined in time to deliver his assessment of the latest West Seattle crime trends – which included at least one surprise. That and other meeting toplines, after the jump:Read More
As this MLK Day holiday Monday winds up, we’re looking ahead at some of what’s in store for the rest of the week. Tomorrow, for the first time in 2 months, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets (7 pm Tuesday, Southwest Precinct, Delridge/Webster). In addition to police updates on local crime trends, WSCPC has a guest speaker on the agenda; Robert Gant, who works with local youth as part of the staff at Southwest Youth and Family Services.
First topline from tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct: Crime is notably down. If you’ve noticed we’ve had fewer crime reports lately, it’s not that it’s going unreported – it’s just not happening, according to Capt. Steve Paulsen. Last week, only one burglary was reported in all of West Seattle, he said – bringing the total for the month so far to 11, compared to what would usually be 27 to 30 by midmonth. (We crosschecked with the online police reports – indeed, only one listed from last Wednesday through today.) The precinct commander cited “significant recent arrests” – people suspected of burglarizing homes by day and prowling cars by night, arrested thanks to what Capt. Paulsen described as “outstanding detective work” as well as alert citizens and timely reporting by victims. West Seattle is getting a reputation among thieves as a bad place to do business, he suggested – while promptly cautioning that an uptick in theft is likely within the next month as holiday shopping begins. Time-honored advice: be aware of your surroundings; don’t leave purchases visible in your car while you go from store to store. In one unsolved case, Capt. Paulsen said there’s no arrest yet in last night’s Highland Park armed robbery. Meantime, he introduced “three-quarters of (his newly aligned) command staff”:
At right, Lt. Pierre Davis is the new operations lieutenant – second in command for the precinct – the job Capt. Paulsen had before leaving the SW Precinct early this year for a short stint at the West Precinct (where his SWP successor, Lt. Norm James, now works with former SWP commander Capt. Joe Kessler). At left, Lt. Alan Williams is third-watch commander (night shift); that’s the job from which Lt. Ron Smith, center, moved into the second-watch (day shift) role. Lts. Davis and Williams are new to the SWP. He also noted that the Community Police Team now has three officers (as reported here when one of them, Officer Ken Mazzuca, visited the Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting last week). CPT Officer Jonathan Kiehn, also at tonight’s meeting, praised citizens for providing improved info when calling 911 lately – a topic on which he spoke at the last West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network meeting. In particular, Officer Kiehn said, they’re giving better descriptions of suspects and the direction in which they’re heading.
Special guest at the meeting: Detective Suzanne Moore, who works on abuse/neglect cases, especially those with elderly victims. She shared two hotline numbers that can be used to report suspected cases – if they involve a residential facility, 800-562-6078; if they involve a private caregiver or home, 206-341-7660.
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets the third Tuesday of the month, but they’re skipping December, so January’s the next meeting; keep an eye on www.wscpc.org.
At last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Paulsen mentioned the ongoing search for a suspect believed to be responsible for at least half a dozen recent local burglaries. Just got word from Lt. Ron Rasmussen that the suspect is now in custody:
Through the excellent work of the Southwest Precinct Detectives and Patrol Officers, we arrested a juvenile male last night who we believe is responsible for the series of burglaries that have occurred in West Seattle area over the past couple of weeks. The investigation continues as detectives continue to follow-up on leads developed during the investigation.
Capt. Paulsen said last night that a search warrant had been served even before the suspect’s arrest, and stolen property had been recovered. Meantime, he also said police are actively looking for a suspect in connection with two recent “indecent liberties” incidents involving females walking alone, and he suggested extra precautions – read on:Read More
Tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting was the first one since Capt. Steve Paulsen‘s return to the Southwest Precinct as its new commander. And he took the occasion to announce changes in the ranks of those who directly report to him – Lt. Norm James, who had been SW Precinct Operations Lieutenant – the position Capt. Paulsen held until a 10-month tour of duty downtown prior to his promotion – is now at the West Precinct with Capt. Joe Kessler, the former SW commander. His help is vital “with the challenges they’re facing downtown,” Capt. Paulsen explained. The new SW Operations Lieutenant – second-in-command for the precinct – will be Lt. Pierre Davis, coming from SPD’s Traffic section, arriving in West Seattle around November 10th. And the lineup of watch commanders will change, too – Lt. Ron Rasmussen is moving from days to mornings, Lt. Ron Smith is moving from nights to days, and Lt. Alan Williams is moving from the West Precinct to oversee nights. (According to this item on the SPD website, Lt. Williams is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel.) Capt. Paulsen says this is all also concurrent with some lieutenant-shuffling citywide, which he says tends to happen every few years. More from the WSCPC meeting in a bit.
Big group at Tuesday night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting – so big that president Dot Beard exclaimed not once, but twice, how great it was to see them all. No special guest on the agenda, just an hour-plus of information about crime trends, questions/answers about crime concerns, an update from the local State Liquor Control Board officer, and word that West Seattle’s police force is growing – highlights ahead:Read More
Tonight’s highlights from the WSB West Seattle Events calendar page:
SOUTHWEST HEALTHY YOUTH PARTNERSHIP: As noted in a much-discussed WSB report last week, this group will talk about neighborhood concerns regarding the plan for a state liquor store to move into the side of Westwood Village closest to Southwest Athletic Complex. SWHYP’s fight against underage drinking also will get a big showcase this Friday night at the West Seattle High School–Chief Sealth High School football game, when coordinator Renae Gaines says the players’ helmets all will display red ribbons. Plus – can you help the SWHYP? Here are ways to pitch in. Meeting’s at Madison Middle School (map), 6 pm.
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Get the latest crime-trend toplines directly from Southwest Precinct leadership; ask questions, voice concerns, and/or just listen to what’s being done to make the peninsula safer. 7 pm, Southwest Precinct (parking lot’s on Webster just west of Delridge, meeting room entrance is right off the parking lot).
ALKI STATUE OF LIBERTY PLAZA: Phase 2 of work on the 9-month-old plaza is scheduled to start today; as announced last week, fencing will go up (for about 2 weeks) as new bricks and tribute plaques go in.
EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF SOUTHWEST POOL: As the Parks Department announced yesterday , Southwest Pool has to shut down noon-5 pm today for emergency repairs on its main circulation pump. They’re expecting to reopen at 5 pm for “evening programs.”
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Main item on the agenda tonight – YOU, and whatever concerns you want to bring up to Southwest Precinct police leadership, who also will share their latest toplines on crime trends. Find out what’s happening and how best to keep your family safe, 7 pm, SW Precinct meeting room (map).
Some of these factoids might surprise you; they surprised us, when we heard the infobursts presented by the featured guest at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, Steve Freng, who is a manager for the Northwest HIDTA (pronounced HIGH-tuh – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area). Read on for those infobursts, in bullet-point form:Read More
From tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (last one of the year – the group won’t meet in December), not only the latest crime-trend toplines from police, but also citizen reports – including a store reportedly selling troubling merchandise – read on:Read More
So many times in recent weeks, we’ve seen the power of neighbors banding together to do what needs to be done – including fighting crime – and that task gets easier when you have the latest info on what’s happening in our area. Tonight, it’s your last chance of the year to get that info, and answers to your crime/safety questions, by attending one of the most worth-your-time monthly events in West Seattle, if you’re at all concerned about neighborhood safety: The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct meeting room (Google Street View above shows where you’re going). See you there.
We see this list at every West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting we cover … and today it just turned up in e-mail, with tonight’s agenda. It’s not just about crime – it’s about safety. If you want the numbers for the graffiti hotline, abandoned vehicle hotline, Public Health rat reports, Parking Enforcement, street-light repairs, etc., all on one sheet you can tuck into your wallet or slap on the fridge – print this and snip off the agenda part. (Thanks to Seattle Neighborhood Group, which provides staff to assist groups like WSCPC.)
Timely topic at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council — a briefing from Sergeant Jim Dyment, who leads the Seattle Police Gang Unit. Just a day earlier, we had shared the story of the latest wave of gang-related (or at least gang-inspired) tagging in Highland Park (photo at left), so tagging came up as well as many other topics, including what kind of gang activity is most prevalent in West Seattle. Southwest Precinct reps had something to say about graffiti, too. Read on:Read More
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council is always on our list of must-attend meetings. We strongly urge you to be there too, if you have any kind of crime/safety concern in your neighborhood (that includes “nuisance properties”), since Southwest Precinct police leaders are always in attendance and you get the chance to bring up questions/concerns – and tonight features a special guest of timely interest, from the Seattle Police Gang Unit. See you at the SW Precinct meeting room, 7 pm (off Webster, just west of Delridge, parking lot’s on the south side of the building, steps away from the meeting room).
Just announced by the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council: Special guest at its next meeting (next Tuesday 8/16, 7 pm, Southwest Precinct meeting room) will be Sgt. Dyment of the Seattle Police Gang Unit. The WSCPC staff liaison from Seattle Neighborhood Group, Jennifer Duong, is inviting those who plan to attend to send questions in advance, to help make sure the sergeant can pre-research specific West Seattle gang-related issues. Anything in particular you’d like to know about? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org – and be there one week from tonight.
We weren’t sure whether to chuckle or cry when we found out last night’s Seattle Police Department Citizen Appreciation Awards event would keep us from visiting the Southwest Precinct to personally report on the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, which we consider a monthly must-cover. Luckily, we were able to draft previous WSB contributor Evan Baumgardner into service for the occasion – and he brought back important info, including an update on a recent business break-in, other West Seattle crime trends, and a request for ideas from YOU – here’s his report:Read More
That’s what organizers told us when we returned to the Southwest Precinct tonight during the final half-hour of the first-ever Police Appreciation Day organized by the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council — by then, the board you see above was covered with dozens and dozens of handmade thank-you notes and cards (we photographed it in the early going, for our first report). Organizers’ running count tallied up more than 170 people participating in the daylong event — some of course were the appreciation recipients themselves:
Community appreciation is also well-deserved by the organizers – including leaders of the WSCPC, whose president Dot Beard (below left) took a moment to pose for us with Seattle Neighborhood Group staff liaison, Jennifer Duong:
WSCPC vice president Kay Newton worked hard to line up sponsors/donors to make this a festive event with everything from food and beverages to fun kid stuff, enjoyed by young visitors including these (thanks to Kacy for these next two photos):
Those with a few more years in the rear-view mirror made cards and shared sentiments – from serious to whimsical:
This event was in lieu of the Crime Prevention Council’s regular meeting for July – they’ll be back in session August 19th. Two other related events in the meantime: Night Out August 5 (register your block party here, so you can close off your street!) and Picnic at the Precinct August 16.
In the community room at the Southwest Precinct, that’s the big sign you can attach a card or note to (or just sign another one nearby) during Police Appreciation Day today — organized by the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council — continuing till 8 pm tonight. Free food, too:
A long list of West Seattle businesses and other community members donated food and beverages for the occasion, from Bakery Nouveau to Casa Feliz and beyond (we’ll publish the whole list a bit later) – it’s being rotated in and out throughout the day; we just had lunch before visiting an hour or so ago, or else we could have dined quite royally. Activities for the family, too:
That’s Kathleen Voss from Highland Park helping her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Gretchen with the kids’ art supplies that are set up on a table at the event – here’s one creation Gretchen produced already:
Kathleen says Gretchen described that as “a police car with the woo-woo lights.” It’s a relaxed atmosphere at Police Appreciation Day – you can go into the community room from either door facing the parking lot on the southwest side of the building (Delridge/Webster; here’s a map) — still not sure where you’re going? Here’s the precinct sign at that corner (look for that little handmade sign shown at the right side of the photo, with a balloon attached; there’s one at the parking lot entrance too):
Till 8 pm tonight – drop by. You never know who you’ll meet; the precinct’s Crime Prevention community liaison Benjamin Kinlow (who helps set up Block Watch groups and is currently working on Night Out – coming up 8/5; go here to register your block party!) was mingling when we were there, along with community members and the Crime Prevention Council’s staff liaison from Seattle Neighborhood Group, Jennifer Duong, plus her predecessor in that role, Lois Grammon-Simpson. We’ll be checking back later for another report.
It’s the last time we’ll be able to tell you about the West Seattle Community Safety Partnership … because its monthly meeting tonight at the Southwest Precinct ended with a new name. That and other info from the meeting, ahead:Read More