The only monthly meeting with coffee and home-baked treats (pumpkin crumble this time) is now on hiatus until the new year. Here’s what happened when the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network met Tuesday night at the Southwest Precinct:
CRIME UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis said auto theft remains a big issue. We noticed that earlier in the day, looking at the slides from the most recent downtown SeaStat intradepartmental briefing (MVT = motor-vehicle theft):
(We had asked Operations Lt. Steve Strand pre-meeting if SPD had identified any particular reasons the SW Precinct area – West Seattle and South Park – is particularly hard-hit. Short answer, no.)
Davis also gave kudos to watchful community members doing what they can to “keep the criminal element at bay.” He stressed that reporting crimes is vital. Getting reports from community members allows them to track what’s happening “and see where our issues are.” Without that, they might be devoting resources somewhere they’re needed less than what’s really going on. Also: Lock your stuff up. “West Seattle is unfortunately a target-rich environment” for those seeking to prey on people who don’t. They are continuing to work with prosecutors and city attorneys to do their best to ensure that repeat offenders get the time they’re entitled to. Overall crime is up 3 percent from last year – a year that was 9 percent below the year before – but they’re hopeful of bringing it down even further before year’s end.
COMMUNITY Q&A: Small turnout but still some questions. First one: What do thieves do with stolen cars? If it’s a specialty-type car, they’ll “part it out,” said Davis. If not, they’ll use it to get from point A to point B. One prolific thief could steal 10 to 20 cars a week! So when police can “take a certain person off the grid,” numbers can drop dramatically. “Are there chop shops in King County?” followed up the attendee. “A few,” said Davis, but the use of stolen cars to get around for burglaries, car prowls, etc., is far more common.
Another person brought up the new West Seattle Junction Business Block Watch (noted here last week). “Great stuff,” said Capt. Davis.
He also reminded everyone that Saturday is Drug Take-Back Day (10 am-2 pm, bring your unneeded medication to the precinct at 2300 SW Webster).
PACKAGE THEFT: WSBWCN co-founder/leader Deb Greer told the story of a prowler who had been accessing neighbors’ property via alley, masquerading as a utility worker, stealing items – a major point is that thieves don’t limit themselves to your front porch. She also advocated using the online tools available to track deliveries closely so you can even stop packages from being delivered when you’re not there to pick them up – ask the delivery company to deliver it later, to deliver it to a neighbor, give a neighbor a heads-up to watch for your package and go get it, etc. Co-founder/leader Karen Berge, who noted that their Block Watch has about 75 households, observed that the reality of package theft often doesn’t hit home until it happens to you, so she exhorted people to remind their friends, family, neighbors, and Block Watch members, even if it seems repetitive.
DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOODS: Laura Jenkins spoke about the department and its programs – including the grants for which people can apply, including the Your Voice Your Choice participatory-budgeting program. She also ran through a long list of online resources offered by DoN, including who to contact if you are looking for information about/help with something (Get Informed), how to offer input and learn about city boards and commissions (Get Engaged)
PUBLIC SAFETY SURVEY: Take it if you haven’t already – go here.
NEXT MEETING: Not until January – fourth Tuesdays thereafter, 6:30 pm at the precinct. Watch the WSBWCN website for updates in the meantime.