Now that he’s had two weeks to settle in, new Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman is making the rounds of community meetings. This past Tuesday night, he introduced himself to the Fauntleroy Community Association.
After sharing some of his background – which we reported here last month – he outlined his three top priorities for the precinct:
1. Violent crime (though he acknowledged it’s relatively low in West Seattle). That includes pre-emptive action – he said he tells his officers, if you can legally take a gun from someone who shouldn’t have it, do that. He also promised that shots-fired calls will be investigated thoroughly.
2. Auto theft – the city is in the top 25 nationwide for this crime, and though local numbers aren’t horrible, he wants to reduce them, as it’s a “very impactful” crime. He has a crime-analysis detective mapping for preventive action.
3. Burglaries – Also not high here but this is another “impactful” crime. So if there are hot spots, he wants to get resources on top of that..
West Seattle’s crime trends right now: Overall, 16 percent down from this time last year, “no other part of the city is looking as good as West Seattle right now” – and of course he acknowledges COVID-19 and the bridge closure are major factors. Violent crime is down 15 percent, auto theft down 5 percent, burglaries are down 22 percent. For Fauntleroy in particular, violent crime is almost non-existent, burglaries are down 38 percent, but auto theft is up 18 percent over this time last year.
In Q&A, he was asked who’s doing all the car-stealing. Mostly people who use the cars to commit other crimes, such as mail theft. He was also asked about the current political battle between the mayor and council over “defunding” SPD (the council discussed this further at its Wednesday budget meeting but has not yet voted on anything). He said he has spent several days reassuring officers at roll calls who are “wondering if they’re going to get a pink slip any day now,” while also hearing older officers wondering “how soon can I get out.” He’s hoping “the rhetoric calms down a bit” – he agrees that there’s an overreliance on 911 to solve our society’s problems, and acknowledges that police have traditionally ben asked to do a lot of things they shouldn’t do. “There’s room for a bigger conversation about what police should be doing, shouldn’t be doing.” but he hopes there’s room for a rational conversation, though he says 50 percent would be too big a cut – “a cut like that would be devastating and would seriously affect the level of service we would provide.” As for specific types of change, Grossman offered support for the CAHOOTS model. “That would take a lot of work away from us – that’s all right, but that’s not in place yet. … Would probably save the city a bunch of money and might turn out better than some of our calls.”
One other question – about the whereabouts of Steve Strand, since Grossman has a new second-in-command, Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger (the position Strand previously held). He noted that Strand has been promoted to captain and is now one of three citywide night captains.
Capt. Grossman is scheduled to be a guest at tonight’s Alki Community Council meeting, as noted in our morning preview.
Also discussed at the FCA meeting – the recent Washington State Ferries online community meeting (here’s our report), the recent District 1 Community Network meeting (here’s our report), and planning for the next annual community survey to be conducted by FCA.
The Fauntleroy Community Association will next meet in September; watch fauntleroy.net for updates.