West Seattle Crime Prevention Council: Myers Way, auto theft, noise, school officers…

Toplines from last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, which turned out to have a featured guest after all:

CAPTAIN’S UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis spoke about Myers Way and says the city’s Navigation Team is “ready and willing” to remove the unsanctioned camp in the woods on the east side – outreach is under way now, posting is next, and “hopefully by the end of October that (area) will be cleaned and repurposed.” (Operations Lt. Steve Strand had said at another recent meeting – as we reported – that a big cleanup was coming up.) They have been trying for two years to get to this point, Davis said, adding that they have a small window of opportunity coming up before rainy weather and muddy conditions make it unsafe for heavy equipment. He said they’ve made the case by talking with SPD/city brass about the items found there and who’s been arrested there. Davis said, also, “the state is on board” with clearing and repurposing that area – much of which is state-owned.

Regarding area crime problems in general, Capt. Davis singled out auto theft, saying it continues to run high (you can check crime stats here). Since it’s a regional problem, not just within city limits, Davis said they’re partnering with other law-enforcement agencies to get detectives involved and tie cases together “and we go after either the ring or the individual” – and he repeated something he has said time and time again, once repeat offenders are behind bars, there’s a big dent in crime.

Capt. Davis was asked by WSCPC president Richard Miller about staffing status. He and Lt. Strand have been making their case about shorthandedness to top department leaders, and they say the reply is always that everyone is shorthanded. SPD recruiters are even working in other states to recruit officers for “lateral” – department to department – moves. They’re still working just to “catch up to attrition,” Davis said. The SW Precinct, whose jurisdiction includes West Seattle and South Park, is assigned 85 officers, he said, while wishing he could have 95. As always, he also credited watchful community members for helping solve crimes.

First community question – How has the summer gone, patroling Alki, noise enforcement?

Capt. Davis: This year “we spent a little bit of extra money and besides our walking officers …we put together a team focused specifically on traffic … I know we wrote a lot of tickets (and) a lot of parking tickets … a lot of people who came here to act up got their cars towed (and/or ticketed) … an arrest or two too. It was all good. Community members loved it. We’re going to try to do the same next year, and enhance it.” Regarding noise, he mentioned the new ordinance enhancement is “a tool” that they “haven’t used to its fullest yet” but “next summer” they hope to.

Next, a comment – a person said she was at Westwood Village about six months ago and encountered a person who was behaving erratically and aggressively, so she found police who were there on patrol, and they dealt with him, which she appreciated.

After that, another comment of gratitude, from a person said she came to thank the precinct for intervening in a drug/camping problem at the Delridge P-Patch. “We’d been picking up so much drug paraphernalia, I was just so happy” that something was done. Lt. Strand said Community Police Team Acting Sgt. John O’Neil had been marshaling that over the past week or so. The resident said there were up to 15 people camping there at one point; Lt. Strand said that there had been some connection with the camping on the slope behind Louisa Boren STEM K-8. The woman said she volunteers at Camp Second Chance and there’s a “real difference” between those living at that clean/sober sanctioned encampment and the camping they found at the P-Patch.

The police recommended Find It, Fix It as a good way to report problems/concerns from illegal camping to graffiti vandalism.

GUEST SPEAKER: School Emphasis Officer Tre Smith, who started in the Explorer program, talked about what he does at Washington Middle School – one of four middle schools in the city (including, in West Seattle, Denny International Middle School) that have these officers. The program has evolved with the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative – they are not there to enforce (unless a serious crime occurs) – school security will handle everything from drugs to fighting. His job is to pinpoint kids who are at risk, connect them with resources, get them into programs with rewards for success. Maybe 10 to 15 kids at higher risk are eligible for incentivizing like that.

When the bell rings, Officer Smith is in the hallway connecting with kids. He even does some teaching (“just got done teaching constitutional rights to 6th graders”). The SEOs are assigned to middle schools – focusing on the formative years when kids “are deciding who they are, who they want to be … becoming young adults.” He works with school counselors to be sure that the kids who need services get them. And he’s mostly there as a resource – “as a human being, to have a conversation.” He said many students refuse to believe he’s a full-fledged police officer (he is, and he’s 25 years old) but think he instead is a security guard. (The school has one of those, too, he said.)

They’re seeing less gang affiliation in middle school; he said his presence has helped cut through the fake-tough veneer that some kids put up – “hey, this guy kind of cares about me.” A lot of them have reduced adult involvement in their lives because their parent(s) are working two jobs just to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Asked about school violence, Officer Smith said they are always watchful about students who might need help, might have shown warning signs.

So what’s the danger time at school? asked Miller. Varies kid by kid, said Officer Smith – depends on whether the child faced trouble as their day began at home, or if trouble built during the day at school. He keeps close tabs on “20 to 30” kids, knowing that “if we get them off to a good start in the morning, they can have a good day.” It’s important that kids “feel they can tell an adult anything, and they’re not going to face retribution for it.”

The West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets at 7 pm third Tuesdays most months, at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). Watch the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar for agenda info once it’s announced.

14 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Prevention Council: Myers Way, auto theft, noise, school officers..."

  • Concerned Parent September 19, 2018 (8:58 pm)

    “We’d been picking up so much drug paraphernalia, I was just so happy” that something was done. Lt. Strand said Community Police Team Acting Sgt. John O’Neil had been marshaling that over the past week or so. The resident said there were up to 15 people camping there at one point; Lt. Strand said that there had been some connection with the camping on the slope behind Louisa Boren STEM K-8. Do we know if the Boren encampment been moved?   I noticed a bike and sleeping bag sitting on the sidewalk above the encampment site yesterday afternoon.  Hopefully people aren’t returning.   If they have, they need to go,-now.    This situation is unacceptable and SPD should make this a priority. 

  • M September 19, 2018 (9:19 pm)

    I wish the police would move the 9 RVs plus tents and cars by the West Seattle Gym.  I am about ready to terminate my membership with the gym. It us unsafe to be there at night. I feel bad as the owner of the gym has been fighting city council on this issue.  Sawant tells him, they have to live somewhere! The maintenance manager has to clean up their mess every morning by the back door of the gym. Disgusting! We shouldn’t have to be working out at the gym seeing drug deals going on from the windows among other things.

    • Mickymse September 20, 2018 (10:40 am)

      I personally support letting those folks be there. They are not near any residences, and they are up against the loud activity at Nucor. For everyone who complains about allowing people to camp near their houses or in parks, this seems like a good place to leave people alone. It is also near bus lines and other services that residents need to access..What I am much less worried about is whether or not people who have the excess income available to spend on gym memberships feel good about looking out the windows at people experiencing homelessness. It SHOULD make you uncomfortable. These are our neighbors who cannot afford to live somewhere because of the choices you and I contribute to every day. Shuffling them along somewhere so that we don’t have to see it doesn’t actually make the problem go away.

      • Under_Achiever September 20, 2018 (2:28 pm)

        Sorry, but I don’t and haven’t make the choice for others to drop out of society with addiction issues or refusal of help to put those others on the path of not living in tents or RVs or boxes.  Yes, it is uncomfortable — it makes me uncomfortable they have chosen to not accept the help we as a civilized society have offered them.

  • MercyMoi September 19, 2018 (9:47 pm)

    So to be clear, the guest speaker does not work at Denny but described work that is probably also happening at Denny?I recognize Tre from the Seattle PD lip sync video to Macklemore’s “Downtown”. He was on the shoulders of his colleague in the alley (I googled him). I remembered being surprised at how young he looked! It’s wonderful to see law enforcement investing in youth and creating relationships with kids who need to know people care about them. They may never see how those seeds grow, but they’re planted!

    • WSB September 19, 2018 (11:39 pm)

      Oh, THAT’S why he looked familiar. Thanks for the cross-reference. And yes, he works at Washington Middle School (which means he’s with another precinct); someone else is Denny’s officer. For anyone who hasn’t seen the SPD video …


      (Officer Smith’s big role starts around 3:05 in.) PDs around the country challenged each other to do these over the summer.

      • Wsprayers September 22, 2018 (12:55 pm)

        Lol 😂 me too-went that’s why he looks familiar-and this is awesome🙋🏻‍♀️ So good to hear early outreach to kids in our Nieghborhood-this is so needed hope and pray he will have a positive impact on many young lives reducing the stigma and the separation of police and youth 🙋🏻‍♀️And prevent violence 

  • J September 19, 2018 (11:16 pm)

    I still think it’s weird that the city can ticket drivers on alki for seemingly being too loud, while their own city vehicles (buses, garbage trucks, utility trucks) are insanely loud and exceed the decibel levels they are ticketing people for on alki. 

    • T September 20, 2018 (12:35 am)

      Excellent point. Also, ticketing the vehicles of people who aren’t or don’t appear homeless, while not ticketing homeless vehicles like RVs for the same infractions.

    • Wsguy September 20, 2018 (6:50 am)

      It’s not weird at all for large vehicles that serve a useful public purpose to be loud and not bother people because they know the difference between this and idiots with modified mufflers being loud just because. 

  • Rick September 20, 2018 (7:46 am)

    My illegal noise is better than yours! Just because.

  • zark00 September 20, 2018 (10:40 am)

    Wow – someone really, non-ironically, complained that service vehicles are too loud and ‘exceed the decibel levels’ where they should be ticketed.  That wins for the most ‘first world problem’ complaint I’ve ever seen on this site.  Unbelievable. 

    • Mike September 20, 2018 (5:34 pm)

      You think that’s a first world problem, that’s funny.  You must not realize it’s an issue in third world countries too.  It’s greed on the part of government and private industry to NOT muffle the noise, it’s relatively inexpensive to do so as well.

  • flimflam September 20, 2018 (5:21 pm)

    interesting article in the Times today about San Francisco starting to aggressively disband tent camp in the city. i was actually shocked to read about it, but their new mayor, London Breed, seems to have a much more realistic idea about “compassion”.very interesting read.

Sorry, comment time is over.