West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
What did dominate the evening was a wide-ranging discussion on various neighborhoods’ problems and what can, can’t, and – in some neighbors’ view – should be done about them.
First, the crime-trend update:
LOCAL CRIME TRENDS: Auto theft has remained the same – a high level, but “we’re starting to make some arrests.” Car prowls are “down drastically.” So said precinct operations Lt. Ron Smith, representing precinct leadership at the meeting – he said car prowls are down to 11 in the past week, compared to 18. A new way of handling the data is being implemented soon, he said, so that could make a change. Nonresidential burglaries are down; residential burglary is down 40 percent from an average week, 6 compared to the average of 10. “We’ve made a couple arrests, and that might have made a difference – names known to the community.” Strong-arm robberies, usually 1 a week, this past week we’ve had two (both reported here).
Asked about the strong-arm robbery, Lt. Smith mentioned – without specifying the location – the Sealth student who was walking to school when her phone was stolen. They don’t know yet for sure whether the robber is a student or not, though “similar age group” to the victim. Sometimes the response time is hampered by the fact the robbery isn’t reported until they tell their parents hours later. He says this type of robbery has now been dubbed “Apple-picking.”
Asked about shoplifting, aggravated assault, drug-dealing arrests, Lt. Smith said he doesn’t have numbers on those categories but can get them. He says the Anti-Crime Team is going after drug crime right now, though, and that drug dealing is being addressed “through other methods” – CPTED, such as lighting, removing phone booths, cutting back shrubbery, and talking to businesses to let them know it’s their responsibility to keep watch on what’s happening on their property.
NUISANCE HOUSES: A question is asked about a South Delridge block and a particular house on 17th SW. Lt. Smith says they’re aware of several trouble houses. Precinct liaison Matthew York from the City Attorney’s Office, seated next to Lt. Smith (photo at right), gives his card to the asker. Another man says there’s a similar problem in his neighborhood – stolen cars dumped, an unregistered sex offender who they say had a teenage girl in his house, someone else who was wanted on warrants and “had a sawed-off shotgun.” The house in question had “constant turnover,” troublemakers in the back yard – they would report the problems, police would show up, and be deterred by a locked gate and people going into hiding. “With (houses like this) you can look at the 911 calls – 197 on that block – (people have) called constantly.” Someone else says “it’s kind of like we’re at war” but it has quieted down a bit with the involvement of the Community Police Team.
(All photos in this story are by Mark Wangerin. Above, rhinoceros auklet)
A glimmer of good news about the health of Puget Sound and some of its wildlife. This news release arrived via NOAA, but much of the work was done by volunteers:
A new analysis of seven years of bird sightings by volunteer birdwatchers from the Seattle Audubon Society has found positive trends in several Puget Sound seabird species that had been in historic decline.
The study tracked the occurrence of 18 seabird species at 62 sites around Puget Sound and found increased presence of 14 species, including cormorants, loons, rhinoceros auklets, and harlequin ducks. It also documented local hotspots for certain species, which may reflect especially important habitat or prey the birds depend on.
“This means that all other things being equal, if someone goes out now they’re more likely to see these birds than they would have been seven years ago,” said Eric Ward, an ecologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle and lead author of the research.
Many seabird species are thought to have declined around Puget Sound since the 1960s and 1970s but the new results suggest the trends have turned up for many species.
(WSB photo, taken Saturday)
We noticed those sandbags at Alki Bathhouse over the weekend, apparently awaiting the next round of “king tides,” the very-high high tides that happen a few times in winter. They’re coming up later this week; according to our favorite tide chart (aside from the short-range one on the WSB Weather page, that is), they are:
* 12.8 feet, 5:54 am Wednesday, January 21
* 13.0 feet, 6:31 am Thursday, January 22
* 13.2 feet, 7:10 am Friday, January 23
* 13.2 feet, 7:50 am Saturday, January 24
* 13.0 feet, 8:32 am Sunday, January 25
The Alki/Beach Drive/Harbor Avenue shores are classic places to go see the high water in West Seattle; you can also see the tides’ effects on the Duwamish River by joining either or both of two events, Friday and Saturday mornings – details are on our partner site The South Park News. Right now, the forecast is rainy, but not windy, so you’re not likely to see anything too dramatic, certainly not like last November!
New details about Saturday morning’s Morgan Junction street robbery/carjacking attempt are in the official police report we have just obtained, as well as the reason for the subsequent search in Gatewood. Until now, as weekend WSB readers are aware, most of what we knew came via comments (here and here) plus a bit of information we procured by finding an SPD sergeant at an unrelated scene post-search. So far, no word of any arrests, but we hope to hear more directly from Southwest Precinct police during tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. Ahead, we’ve transcribed the report’s narrative, since this is a high-interest incident, the third street robbery in three days in West Seattle at the time (no reports of any since Saturday):
PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) has just announced a new CEO – and she is a West Seattle resident. Cate Hardy joins PCC this week from Starbucks, where she has worked for 9 years, most recently as vice president of operations, according to the PCC announcement, which says she “brings more than 15 years of retail experience in general management, retail operations, supply chain, growth and store development, and strategy” to her new job. The Seattle-based food-store company had been led since last May by Randy Lee, its chief financial officer, serving as interim CEO. The full announcement, with more on Hardy’s background, is on PCC’s website, here. PCC has 10 markets around the metro area, including one at 2749 California SW here in West Seattle. (Photo courtesy PCC Natural Markets)
(Photo by Jim Clark, taken Monday at Lincoln Park)
Some of what’s up today/tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
STUDENT AID: West Seattle High School seniors and parents/guardians are invited to an event to help them finish the FAFSA (the standard application for financial aid for college), 6:30-8:30 pm, drop in – open labs with volunteers ready to help. (3000 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: 7 pm, Southwest Precinct meeting room right by the entrance from the parking lot. Questions/concerns to bring up to West Seattle police leadership? This is the time and place. Tonight’s meeting has no other guests – you, SPD, WSCPC – and you’ll hear about the latest crime trends as well as plenty of time for Q/A. (Webster/Delridge)
(WSB photo from August 2014 – Chief O’Toole with Karen Berge & Deb Greer of the WS Block Watch Captains Network)
Shortly after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole started her job last summer, she visited last summer’s Delridge Day/Picnic at the Precinct festival. She has not, however, been to a formal community meeting here – but that’s about to change. Just announced:
The Southwest Precinct Advisory Council (SWPAC) and the West Seattle Block Watch Captains are pleased to announce a community conversation with Seattle’s Chief of Police Kathleen O’Toole.
The West Seattle community is invited to come to the Southwest Police Precinct on Tuesday, February 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 pm to participate in this community conversation.
There will not be a formal program as this is an opportunity for the citizens of West Seattle to come out and meet Seattle’s new police chief.
If you would like more information or have any questions, you can contact Pete Spalding at SWPAC@comcast.net.
The precinct is at 2300 SW Webster, on the NW corner of Webster/Delridge.
(WS high/low bridges and Highway 99 views; more cams on the WSB Traffic page)
6:07 AM: Back to school, back to work, back to regular transit schedules, and probably back to “regular” traffic as Tuesday gets going. One alert for today: As announced last week, city crews plan to clean the Admiral Way medians between Olga and 39th SW today and tomorrow, 8 am-3 pm, closing the inside lanes both ways. Also worth noting: The same city/port measures that helped avert a third day of truck backups last Friday are supposed to be continuing today. But if you see any sign of a backup, please let us know.
8:24 AM: Backups on 4th because of a crash at Main should be improving as the scene is clearing.