Toplines from Tuesday night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting at the Southwest Precinct:
CRIME TRENDS: Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis presented the report. As always, property crimes are the main problem in our area. Car prowls are ticking upward but a bigger spike is in burglaries; as noted in a recent precinct bulletin, outbuildings (such as sheds) are a big target, and thieves are also going into fenced yards, looking for bicycles and other items that can be fenced quickly. If you store anything outside, be sure it has some kind of unique marking so it can be matched to you if it’s taken and subsequently found. He also said there’s some investigation around the growing number of what he called “RV hubs” – central places where multiple RVs are parked. Police are checking to see if there’s a correlation between “hub” locations and criminal activity nearby. As always – if you see something, say something.
BIAS CRIMES: The meeting’s featured guest was Detective Elizabeth Wareing from this unit. She presented an overview explaining bias crimes, which fall into these categories:
– Malicious harassment – Harassment of person or group based on religious, racial, or sexual bias, for example (see the full list of protected groups/statuses here).
– Crimes with an element of bias – e.g. an assault, but during the assault, the attacker called the victim names. She said that these are investigated to see whether or not the attacker is troubled with mental issues or addiction, which can sometimes factor into this kind of crime
– Non-criminal bias – People may have seen or heard something and become concerned, though a crime might not have been committed.
Det. Wareing said she works out of the homicide and assault division and last year more than 400 incidents were reported to her branch. She said a large portion of her job is to do outreach to communities who could be affected by bias crimes, to talk about how to report those crimes and what avenues people have to redress problems, not only with the police, but with other city agencies.
The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets third Tuesdays most months, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct. Next month’s scheduled guest is Jim Curtin from SDOT’s Vision Zero team.