Alki and High Point included in Seattle Police late-night patrols

(Pete Spalding, Asst. Chief Mike Sanford, Chief John Diaz, Mayor McGinn pre-briefing)
Just back from the briefing at Don Armeni about this summer’s Seattle Police Citywide Late Night Public Safety Emphasis patrols. While the patrols will target what the announcement one-sheet refers to as “Designated Night Life Zones,” that doesn’t just mean places where you’ll find nightclubs: The two areas singled out in West Seattle are Alki and High Point (specifically, 35th/Graham and a one-block radius in all directions).

The new patrols – which Mayor McGinn and Police Chief Diaz repeatedly stressed will be taken from “on-duty resources,” not overtime or special call-ins – will start this Friday night, and continue Friday and Saturday nights through the summer, until a not-yet-determined date in September. Those on-duty resources, up to about 25 citywide on any given night, will come mostly from the Anti-Crime Teams, SWAT, and DUI officers who are on duty. They will not necessarily be in all the areas on the citywide “emphasis zone” map on each of those nights – if it’s raining, Assistant Chief Mike Sanford quipped, you won’t see them on Alki. And conversely, they might be deployed to areas not among the “emphasis zones,” if trouble seems to be brewing, Sanford said.

Pete Spalding of Pigeon Point has long been on the Southwest Precinct Citizens Advisory Council, and that was his reason for joining McGinn, Diaz, and Sanford in the brief speeches/Q-A event at a portable podium, set up at one of the lookout spots at Don Armeni’s north half, while numerous other SPD reps – including two Southwest Precinct Community Police Team reps on bicycles – looked on. “Extra officers patroling our neighborhoods is a good thing,” Spalding declared. (In the photo above, that’s the West Seattle section of the “emphasis zones” map – with Alki and High Point in red; full map added after the jump below.)

We asked Sanford why High Point, when it doesn’t have any conventional “nightlife.” He explained they are focusing on areas where “people are out,” not just places with nightlife-related businesses.

The point, Diaz said, was to meet one of his goals – to reduce fear of crime. While crime is down overall, he says, fear is up, and he believes seeing more officers on patrol can combat that.

(4:57 pm) The mayor’s office just sent the official news release – the text is after the jump (also, 5:57 pm, added our video of the entire briefing above, and the citywide map):

Today, Mayor Mike McGinn, Police Chief John Diaz, Assistant Chief Mike Sanford and Southwest Precinct Advisory Council Chair Pete Spalding were at West Seattle’s Don Armeni Park to announce the return of the Citywide Late Night Public Safety Emphasis. The emphasis calls for the redeployment of on-duty Seattle Police officers throughout the city to promote uniformed police visibility in areas with high concentrations of people enjoying Friday and Saturday nightlife opportunities.

This emphasis fits within the goals set forth with the Seattle Nightlife Initiative, which include increasing public safety, growing the local economy and improving urban vibrancy. People travel from all over Puget Sound to Seattle to visit restaurants, theaters, shopping centers and nightclubs. They bring with them their entertainment dollars keeping our local businesses strong and providing valuable tax dollars to fund important city programs that serve all Seattle residents.

The Late Night Public Safety Emphasis is simply a recalibration of priorities that puts more uniformed officers on the streets without sacrificing any existing missions within the police department. Police personnel assigned to the program will be taken from other non-uniformed on-duty resources – specifically Anti-Crime Teams, Traffic and SWAT. The end result is more uniformed officers on the streets deterring crime and promoting public safety in areas with high concentrations of people enjoying Friday and Saturday nightlife opportunities. It is flexible and scalable for every neighborhood in the city.

On any given Friday or Saturday night, the additional 15-25 uniformed officers will be patrolling designated nightlife zones, usually in two different precincts at any given time. During the course of the summer, each precinct will get a fair share of these resources. Having additional patrols in areas where people gather makes sense. People feel safer when they see uniformed officers on patrol.

Mayor McGinn says, “I’ve visited many Seattle neighborhoods since becoming mayor and if there is one thing that is universal regardless of where they live, people want to feel safe in their communities. I’ve heard from the folks that run our restaurants and entertainment venues that keeping Seattle a diverse, vibrant and safe nightlife destination is beneficial to everyone – citizens, neighborhoods and businesses. So we’re taking action – the Late Night Public Safety Emphasis is a cost effective, smart way to achieve both of these goals.”

Chief Diaz says, “This is about redeploying existing assets so that the right people
are in the right place at the right time. This will be done without sacrificing any
existing missions within the police department. This is the type of effort needed
when the city has fewer dollars to spend than in the past.”

The emphasis will begin this weekend and run until sometime in September.

21 Replies to "Alki and High Point included in Seattle Police late-night patrols"

  • Recall McGinn June 6, 2011 (5:06 pm)

    I appreciate the fact that the mayor has taken time out of his side project to work on keeping the citizens of West Seattle safer. I hope to see more of this.

  • DF June 6, 2011 (5:17 pm)


  • Paul June 6, 2011 (6:01 pm)

    in this wether they should be alowed to wear shorts and t-shirts

  • JimmyG June 6, 2011 (6:24 pm)

    This does nothing to solve the underlying issues in these hotspots.

    This is window-dressing, nothing more.

  • ab June 6, 2011 (7:35 pm)

    It’s a good start. Window dressing is better than nothing as the presence of uniformed police adds a psychological state of safety. What would really help is if the police had better community and customer service like the old days….. beat cops. They got involved with the community and vice versa. They didn’t hide in their cars and were anti social. Human interaction is always important no matter what day and age it is.

    Also, the police need to get involved whenever there is something happening in these hotspots in order for the issues to be solved. We don’t need another Christopher Kime incident where the police just looked on. The Seattle Police Dept has been declining in and lacking professionalism for awhile now so hopefully it can start with something like this to bring a sense of safety and community back.

  • SomeGuy June 6, 2011 (8:01 pm)

    While I commend the gesture, I wonder about the wisdom of publicly stating such a defined area for these patrols (e.g. “35th/Graham and a 1-block radius”). Not sure how many criminals read WSB but wouldn’t it be better to just state “High Point area” and be a little more vague about where exactly you might run into the police???

    • WSB June 6, 2011 (9:27 pm)

      It’s in the police department’s news release. I don’t think they are trying to keep it a secret. Kind of like speeder emphasis patrols – believe it or not, they WANT you to know (or so they say).
      Also, take note, this isn’t about criminals so much as about rowdiness. Last summer we wound up driving through Belltown many a late Saturday night for various reasons, and you’d see the emphasis patrol very conspicuously hanging out outside almost every nightclub that had people spilling into the street. This one is interesting, as the only trouble magnet of sorts that I’m familiar with in that immediate area, fitting the “one-block radius,” is the market at 35th/Morgan – 35th/Graham mostly just gets crowded Saturday middays when the food trucks are on hand … or maybe there’s someplace just off 35th that groups hang out, don’t know, will certainly be checking it out (unobtrusively as we can) on Friday night – TR

  • Karrie June 6, 2011 (10:12 pm)

    Right, WSB, the point is that it is not secret. You want the police presence seen to let people know to chill out and have a good time, and not start fights and throw beer bottles.

    In response to “ab”, I must say, the police at the SW Precinct are exactly what you describe. I have had my beat cops, Officers Bass and Ross (Andy and Jason), over to my house to meet neighbors. They are very friendly and certainly do not hide out in their cars.

    And CPT officer Jon Kiehn is super involved in Delridge and the other neighborhoods where he is assigned. He comes to our community meetings, he replies by email and phone to neighbor concerns and I’ve met with him in person more times than I can count.

    Seriously, if you want old school, get-to-know-the-community-and-really-care type of cops, SW Precinct is it. I hear from people in other areas that is not necessarily the case, but here it is.

    If this is genuinely something you want (and you are not just griping about cops like so many people do out of habit) then start a Block Watch and invite your beat cops. I think you’ll be surprised at how much they too want to be connected to the community–it makes their job easier.

  • wakeupseattle June 6, 2011 (10:46 pm)

    @ab if you haven’t noticed this isn’t 1945 anymore violent crime has increased tenfold along with the population. Yet SPD has the same staffing levels as the 70s.

    While it seems that everyone wants to turn police officers into warm and fuzzy public PR tools like firefighters wouldn’t you rather have them patrolling your neighborhood looking for burglars or simply be in their cars ‘at the ready’ for your potential 911 call? I guess that is what you are calling ‘hiding’ in their cars.

    And regarding the Christopher Kime incident you can blame that on former SPD Chief Stamper who told them to hold on line during the Mardi Gras melee. The officers there who watched that were traumatized and extremely angry that they weren’t allowed to do their jobs that night.

    While obviously patrols on Alki in the summer are a good idea remember that the resources that are taken from other areas will affect those areas. So if you go to the areas the Anti Crime Teams usually handle you might want to bring some protection since the ‘weeds won’t be getting pulled’. This city will learn the hard way again like they did in the late 80s when the Crips and Bloods took over the CD. Then everyone will be wailing about how the police aren’t doing anything but walking foot beats, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

  • Kermit June 6, 2011 (11:29 pm)

    Re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic…

  • Mike June 7, 2011 (12:54 am)

    We don’t get to see much news on the good cops, only the shady ones that need to be fired. For every bad cop I’d bet there’s a lot more good cops in SPD. I had a good reminder today that even the best and most honest cops get shot, luckily he’s ok. I too get frustrated when I see stories of bad cops doing bad things and getting away with it, but we all need to remember there are so many more good ones that put their lives on the line and work extremely hard to keep us safe.
    I look forward to more SPD being around Alki on Fri/Sat when it’s nicer out. When the weather is bad I go to Alki, it’s just safer.

  • jsv June 7, 2011 (7:34 am)

    As a Highpoint resident, this makes me both happy and sad. Happy we’ll have some extra protection, sad we need it. I question why they name the focal point as 35th and Graham. I realize they will go a block in either direction, but clearly the booze mart on Morgan is the epicenter of trouble, not Hans VW.

  • Lulu June 7, 2011 (7:46 am)

    I live half a block from 35th & Graham, and I agree that the problem area is not centralized on Graham, but rather Morgan. I leave for work at 4:15am and purposely take Graham to avoid Morgan. Hopefully the police will see that during their 1-block patrols.

  • skeeter June 7, 2011 (8:49 am)

    jsv and Lulu have it right. I walk the highpoint area all the time. The only problem is that mini mart. Very, very seedy folks around there all the time. Just park a police cruiser right there and I bet half the problem would be solved.

  • Beth June 7, 2011 (11:09 am)

    ab, well said!!

  • Beth June 7, 2011 (11:09 am)

    ab, well said!!

  • foy boy June 7, 2011 (3:48 pm)

    AB your right. But first you have just have to get SPD to get out of there cars for other things then to just get coffee. If there were a drive thru at alki they would never get out an walk around. Bring in the horse patrols.

  • Cascadianone June 7, 2011 (4:57 pm)

    I live right by 35th Ave and Morgan. There are always a few youngsters hanging around the corner market. I know a couple of them are my neighbor’s kids. I’ve never had any negative interactions with any of them- They are polite when spoken to and look me in the eye. So I think SOME of these kids might be being lumped in because of their urban style and dress. They live here and have every right to hang out within 500 feet of their own house on a public street. Likewise, all the local cops I’ve interacted with were total professionals, very nice. They don’t seem too worried about those neighborhood kids either, by the way. I would say the area is much safer than it LOOKS, but I could just be crazy.

  • Anonymous June 8, 2011 (4:58 am)

    How about a class for new cops on how to write reports with correct information in them.

  • JW June 8, 2011 (7:08 am)

    Glad to see more concentration of patrols in the “High Point Area” There has been a recent surge in burglaries and also heard some gun fire early morning around 2:30AM one morning.Today’s High Point is a far cry from old High Point and is a very nice place to live.Hopefully, with these added patrols we will return to the secure and peaceful existence we have come to know.

  • James June 11, 2011 (1:04 pm)

    I would love more cops on Alki.. I can remember like 5 years ago when I was younger Alki was actually a safe place to hang out.. Now it’s just a bunch of thugs with cars with oversized wheels. I think we all know who they are. I hope the cops can recognize the locals and leave them alone, like they should. Maybe we could funnel all these people black to Rainier beach or South Central LA.. What they also really need on Alki is more parking police, those same people seem to struggle with simple tasks, like parking legally.

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