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:
By Evan Baumgardner
Sgt. Jeff Durden gave the Southwest Precinct report at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting last night, noting that the precinct is fortunate because it is fully staffed on paper, but numbers on the street are low right now because of injuries. Members of the Community Police Team are helping to cover patrol on the streets right now until the injured officers can go back to work (previous WSB coverage here).
Police provided an update on the recent Delridge Mini-Mart burglary and how they found two suspects: A witness observed a couple of teenage boys breaking in. They stole around $15,000 worth of merchandise and caused extensive damage to the store, including destroying an ATM machine and the surveillance system. However, even though the surveillance system was destroyed, they left the video. There was great coordination by patrol officers in canvassing the area. A K-9 unit was brought in but not able to track the suspects. Then a patrol officer remembered taking a runaway report earlier in the night, and went back to the same address — close to the mini-mart — to find two teenagers sweating profusely from running from the K9. A lot of merchandise was recovered.
City Councilmember Jean Godden did a ridealong with Officer Ralph Wilson on the 12th. Usually when a city council member does a ridealong, it is only for about 4 hours. It turns out that this ridealong happened to be four of the slowest hours they have had. Nothing was going on that night.
Police also mentioned the recent case of weapon-brandishing after ferry-line-cutting at the Fauntleroy dock (WSB coverage here), and mentioned an upcoming special report in the Seattle Times (expected September 14th) featuring an article on the Community Police Team (CPT) and what they do, including a special focus on Officer Ralph Wilson’s efforts in South Park.
The police report at the meeting also included a couple of unusual recent burglaries, including the one with the missing pugs (WSB coverage here); police are still not sure whether the dogs were stolen during the burglary or if they simply got out during the burglary. There was also a report that a World Series Ring was stolen, but it was reported to be a 2002-2003 World Series Ring from Pittsburgh, which is odd since Pittsburgh hasnâ€™t made it to the World Series since 1979 and hasnâ€™t even made it to the playoffs since 1992.
The officer assaulted at High Point recently, Jason McKissack, is not back to work yet. Sgt. Durden said, â€œIt has become a very, very complicated case.â€
A couple of residents had concerns about drug dealing happening on Edmunds between Delridge and 25th, near Bubbles. These deals have been happening at least 3-5 times a day, and usually right out in the open in broad daylight. The Block Watch group has been maintaining a license plate log, and has noticed that traffic going to the suspected drug house is now different than the traffic that was going there prior to arrests that were made at the end of May. There was frustration expressed that it seems like this has been going on for a very long time and that nothing seems to change. This can be attributed to narcotics investigations taking a very long time in order to build up the evidence needed for charges to stick in court. If you suspect that a house in your neighborhood is an active drug house, call 911 and ask to fill out a NAR, which is a Narcotics Activity Report A NAR is generally tied to an address, where if you witness street dealing, only patrol units will be dispatched to investigate.
It was also mentioned that crime in the High Point neighborhood has continued to increase. Summer seems to have brought more crime out in that area.
Every year, the Crime Prevention Council tries to hit a hot spot in the community and get an idea of how to tackle the problems, and they would like to get some ideas from the community on potential hot spots and what the council can do as a group to help tackle these issues. Last year, some of the hot spots included the Delridge Triangle, the Roxbury Corridor from 9th to 28th Ave SW, Puget Ridge, 24th/Brandon and Delridge Way SW Neighborhood, and South Park, with problems listed such as street prostitution, drug-dealing, problem property landlords, loitering and disturbances, burglaries, and auto theft/car prowling. If you have any ideas for new hot spots or problems, feel free to contact the West Seattle Community Safety Partnership Program Coordinator, Jennifer Duong, at 206-322-6134 or e-mail Jennifer@sngi.org with your ideas. Community participation is very important for this program.
The next meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council will be September 16th at the Southwest Precinct.