We’ve said it dozens of times and want to say it again today: West Seattle Blog works because of you. The photos, the information, the tips, the rumors, the questions, the comments, the announcements, or even simply reading WSB and using the info to become more involved in community events and concerns … thank you to everyone who contributes in every way. That said, we have a big shoutout today to someone who agreed to cover the White Center/South Delridge Community Safety meeting for WSB last night, when we realized neither WSB editor could go. Here’s his report, full of information that might be of value to you even if that’s not your end of WS, including more on the latest West Seattle crime trends:
By Evan Baumgardner
This was my first time attending a Community Safety Meeting. I have to say, it was a real eye-opener for me, and I highly recommend checking one of these out if you haven’t yet. …
At first, a large chunk of the meeting was spent talking about King County code enforcement, so anyone that falls into the King County jurisdiction (not city of Seattle) that has a code enforcement complaint can call 206.296.6680 to submit a complaint, or you can point your browser to www.metrokc.gov/ddes/ce to file a complaint online. Remember, this is just for unincorporated King County, not Seattle. If you are in Seattle (aka anywhere north of Roxbury), and want to report a complaint regarding noise, abandoned vehicles, illegal home occupations, abandoned vehicles, land use, housing building and maintenance code violations, contact the DPD at 206.684.7899 or 206.615.0808.
One thing that is important to note is that the city can only eyeball from the street. So if you call in a complaint and they can’t see it from a public right of way, there is nothing that can be done. It is very important that you have an address when you call so they know where to go. If for some reason there is no address, such as people dumping on a vacant lot, etc. give them the address of an adjacent property.
Lt. Steve Paulsen from the SPD reported that the West Seattle area is at a two-year low for crime trends: “It’s like dropping off a cliff, the crime trends in West Seattle.” However, SPD is anticipating that those numbers will go back up as we go into the holiday season. Gang recruiting has been a problem. Not as much as in South Park, which sounds like they are struggling with some major problems, but a lot of schools in this area have been targeted to recruit gang members. SPD is working with various outreach groups to stay on top of this problem as well as the ongoing tagging problems.
There has been an unusual spike in car prowls in the Highland Park neighborhood as well as at Westcrest Park. SPD is well aware of the problems, and this is big on their radar. There are now detective units housed at the SW Precinct, and there is a horse patrol at Westcrest Park as well.
This was all that was really mentioned of the problems at Westcrest Park. The joke among attendees at the meeting was you have a choice of parking lots: the south lot if you want to stumble over people having sex in the park or the north lot if you want your car to be
vandalized. It does sound like SPD is well aware of the problems, especially with car prowls, and will be stepping up patrols in the area.
A lot of concerns were regarding gang activity in the area. Again, most of this is happening in the South Park area right now, and the majority of gang activity in Seattle is on Capitol Hill and the Rainier Valley area, but it is a concern. Most gang members seem to live in the south end i.e. Kent, Auburn, Renton, Des Moines, and then come to Seattle on the weekends to “do the violent business” as well as recruiting. A lot of the crime that used to be on 35th Ave SW has shifted from there towards Westcrest and 16th Ave SW, though recently there has been an increase in the High Point community. Lt. Paulsen reminded everyone that the SPD is well aware of what is going on, but reminded people to stay vigilant, especially as we go into
the holidays and to call if something doesn’t look right.
In White Center, there are a few ongoing issues. The 16th Ave. Grocery, which has had past issues with drugs and loitering has not had anything new reported on it, but the liquor license that the new owners applied for was not approved. The owners did not appeal, so they won’t have a liquor license at that location. Club Evolucion has had issues with gangs, etc. outside of the club. Deputy Hancock from the King County Sheriff’s Office had updates on the situation. This past Saturday the Sheriff’s Department stepped up patrols in the area, and they arrested 13 people. This was the first Saturday in three weeks that there were no gang related incidents with a firearm. It was reported that Club Evolucion is run great on the inside; the problem comes from the people who frequent it. The Neighborhood Group got together in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office and took a walk as a group down 16th from 10 pm to 2 am just to get a firsthand look at what was happening. Even with the increased police presence, it was still a tense, angry environment. Even though the club does not sell alcohol, a lot of people sit in the parking lots and drink, then go into the club. The combination of drunks and gang members contributes to the tense atmosphere. It was reported that the violence is pretty much contained to Saturday nights and to patrons of Club Evolucion, most of which, again, travel up here from Kent, Auburn, Renton, etc.
Another club in the area, Entourage, which is an all-ages club that does not serve alcohol, has also had problems with fights. The owner is planning on applying for a liquor license when he turns 21 (he is currently only twenty), and turning it into a 21+ club, but based on the past issues there and the fact that there have been more than 40 objection letters so far regarding Entourage getting a liquor license, it probably will not happen. If more people want to get together and organize another Saturday late night watch, e-mail Meg from the Seattle Neighborhood Group at email@example.com so everything can be coordinated as a group. It’s not recommended to just take a stroll through there by yourself. Make sure you have support from the neighborhood group so they can also coordinate with the Sheriff’s Office.
The only other crime-related issues discussed were two prostitution arrests in White Center, right on 16th Ave SW at massage parlors, one which was right next to the Sheriff’s Office storefront.
A timeline was laid out for neighborhood residents to take over facilitation duties from the Seattle Neighborhood Group, who would still be involved in co-facilitation, but is interested in transitioning the majority of those duties to the community for sustainability purposes. The goal is to have these neighborhood meetings be resident led by this time next year. They are looking for 4-5 residents to get involved to be trained and prepared for co-facilitation. If you are interested, e-mail Meg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that was all from this meeting! Normally, these meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month, but due to the holidays, the next meeting of this White Center-South Delridge group will be December 13th. The next West Seattle Community Safety Partnership meeting will be held Wednesday, November 14th at 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct.
WSB editors’ note: Thanks again to Evan Baumgardner for reporting on this meeting!