Early this morning, we covered the Alki incident in which two 19-year-old men were shot and wounded. This afternoon, we’ve received a message from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman, not so much about the incident’s specifics as about the state of local policing:
Dear West Seattle Neighbors (and Alki Residents, specifically):
As reported on WSB, there was a drive by shooting on Alki early this morning. Following a response from patrol officers, the Gang Unit responded to initiate a follow up investigation. The most recent information about the incident can be found here, on the SPD Blotter.
I am concerned about a recent uptick in shootings in West Seattle and have made violent crime–and gun violence–one of my top priorities. I have directed my officers to deter gun crimes whenever possible, take illegal guns off the street, make arrests for gun crimes, and conduct thorough investigations in shots fired incidents.
I also want to be transparent about SPD’s current resource situation. It is not unusual to have a total of eight officers working in all of West Seattle at any given time–usually four on the west side and four on the east. And during our most busy times, all of those officers are literally running from 911 call to 911 call, based on priority. I recently had to make the difficult decision to eliminate the full-time bicycle squad in West Seattle and to incorporate the officers back into the 911 call response rotation.
Last week I spoke with a frustrated resident who called the non-emergency number several times about some issues at the Don Armeni Boat Ramp, seemingly without a response. I did a little research to find that his call held for almost an hour because officers were busy responding to a rape, shots fired, threats to harm with a suspect on scene, a stolen car, and a stolen license plate. Once officers were finally free and able to respond, they arrived within 16 minutes of being dispatched.
I hear often from residents who make a request to have an officer stationed on their block or in their neighborhood. We simply do not have the resources to fulfill those requests. In past years, SPD had the budget to have officers work emphasis patrols in certain designated areas–like Alki–on an overtime basis. Unfortunately, our budget no longer permits us to do that, and we must work with the available on duty resources.
Please continue to call 911 for emergencies, the non-emergency number for all other complaints (206-625-5011), and officers will be dispatched according to priority and availability. I also encourage you to reach out to the Crime Prevention Coordinator assigned to the Southwest Precinct, Jennifer Danner, about crime prevention strategies. I also encourage you to join SPD in working with other city agencies–like SDOT and Parks–on problem-solving approaches (like the creation of Stay Healthy Streets) that may curb vehicle and pedestrian traffic that lead to other problems.
We clarified with Capt. Grossman that by “uptick in shootings” he included the recent non-injury shots-fired incidents. This is the first injury shooting incident since he took over the precinct a month ago.