West Seattle, Washington
So confirmed Lt. Dorothy Kim during tonight’s online West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, a short and sparsely attended gathering. It was led by precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner. Precinct commander Capt. Kevin Grossman was unable to attend, so the meeting-opening update was brief, just a quick recap of some of the 2020 crime stats we reported last week.
#1 – The one-week-delayed (because of the holiday) Camp Second Chance Community Advisory Committee meeting is tomorrow (Sunday, September 13th), 2 pm, online. If you have questions or concerns about West Seattle’s only city-sanctioned tiny-house encampment, or if you want to hear updates firsthand, be there. Link here; password 9701; access code 858 5523 4269; or, call 253-215-8782.
#2 – No West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting this month, says WSCPC president Richard Miller, because precinct leaders are unavailable. (The meeting otherwise would be this Tuesday; instead, next meeting is October 20th.)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Hours before a protest group gathered outside the Southwest Precinct, its new commander was talking about police reform at the first online meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council.
Capt. Kevin Grossman and his second-in-command, Operations Lt. Sina Ebinger, had a lot more to say – from West Seattle’s crime drop, to police staffing.
The WSCPC, rather than an organized group, has long been a monthly gathering of whoever shows up, coordinated by community member Richard Miller, often with special guests as well as local police leadership. Meetings went on hiatus after February because of the pandemic; last night, the WSCPC returned, with the help of SW Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner.
Capt. Grossman opened with a recap of his background (which we’ve covered at other community meetings, as well as in our interview with him). Then – the trends:
“We currently have crime rates much, much lower than 2019,” he said, while making it clear that the pandemic and bridge closure were undoubtedly major factors.
Last time the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council met, it was mid-February, pre-pandemic (WSB coverage here). But this group is ready to get going again, online – as we first noted in last week’s District 1 Community Network report – and will do so one week from Tuesday, at 7 pm
August 18th. The WSCPC has always been a chance for community members to hear from, and bring concerns to, local police. At this meeting, you’ll get to “meet” the Southwest Precinct’s new commander Capt. Kevin Grossman and operations Lt. Sina Ebinger. It’ll be conducted via Microsoft Teams. at this link (we’ll be checking on a call-in option).
After the holiday, the first community meeting of the week will be your monthly chance for Q&A with local police at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm Tuesday (February 18) at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster). After Q&A with, and updates from, police, you’ll hear from this mnnth’s spotlight guest, from the SPD Victim Support Team (which is currently recruiting new volunteers).
Here are the toplines from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council‘s first meeting since October:
CRIME TRENDS: Southwest Precinct crime overall was down almost five percent in 2019 from 2018, said the precinct’s operations commander, Lt. Steve Strand. They’re hoping to repeat that in 2020. Lt. Strand stressed the importance of reporting all crime so they know what’s happening and where to focus patrols. (If it’s happening now, call 911; if not, most crimes can be reported online – go here.)
Three months have passed since the last West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting (WSB coverage here), and tomorrow, it reconvenes after holiday hiatus. Who is the WSCPC, you ask? President Richard Miller has long worked to keep it going – but otherwise, it’s really whoever shows up. A centerpiece of each meeting is an update from Southwest Precinct police leadership and a chance to bring up questions and concerns. There’s often a spotlight guest, too; tomorrow night, you’ll hear from a rep with the state Corrections Department. It all starts at 7 pm Tuesday at the precinct meeting room right off the parking lot, 2300 SW Webster (next to Home Depot).
Burglary is down, but not out, in the Southwest Precinct jurisdiction (West Seattle and South Park). So the last West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting of the year got in-depth advice on how to make homes as burglary-resistant as possible.
First, those in attendance Tuesday night got an update from precinct leadership. Operations Lt. Steve Strand said burglaries are down eight percent this year compared to last, but had a spike a few weeks back. He acknowledged that many people are catching prowlers or thieves on security video and sharing that with neighbors, but not reporting it to police, so if they get a call such as “hey, that guy who’s been prowling (a specific area) is here now,” they have no idea what you’re talking about – so report everything to them too.
Also in precinct updates: Police met earlier in the day with the new Westwood Village Business Block Watch … The Anti-Crime Team had been out looking for a “prolific three-county auto thief” and “almost had him” when a chase and crash ensued; an attendee asked why the suspect’s photo couldn’t be distributed so everyone could be on the lookout, and precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis explained they didn’t want to tip their target about the search … Davis also noted that “shots fired” incident are down this year, 32 so far.
One community concern was brought up – drug dealing near Solstice Park. Capt. Davis invited the resident to call him and get a “long-term project” started. That sort of exchange is what the WSCPCC meeting is all about – come to this meeting, get your questions answered, “this is why we do this.” They’d like to see better turnout, too (Tuesday was single-digit, not counting precinct/police personnel).
One reminder: Drug Take-Back Day is next Saturday, October 26th – 10 am-2 pm as usual. Bring your unwanted/expired prescription medication to the precinct (2300 SW Webster).
BURGLARY PREVENTION: Detective Jon Flores spoke first. He’s in his 12th year with SPD, all in Southwest Precinct, previously patrol and Community Police Team. Here’s what should happen if you’ve been burglarized:
-Report it. Even if it’s something like, your neighbor’s out of town and you think they’ve been broken into.
-Leave the scene undisturbed. Police will be searching for fingerprint evidence, DNA evidence. “When our officers are there, we need it to be as undisturbed a possible.”
-Video is a big deal. Not that it’s going to prevent you from being victimized but it’s a “great tool for identification.” Check with neighbors whose cameras might have caught the suspct – officers will canvass but might not get to everyone.
-Case gets assigned to burglary/theft unit. When it arrives on his desk, he’ll review – evidence? fingerprints? video?
Something you can do now just in case:
-Document serial numbers. It might help police recover stolen property. Highly recommend – model numbers, photos of valuables like jewelry. That too might help them find it.
Print cards – or items with prints – go into evidence. Not a guarantee it’s going to lead to a match but they get examined. Can you get prints from, say, a candy wrapper? asked WSCPC president Richard Miller. Generally no, says Flores, adding that 206-233-2623 is the SW Burglary Unit, if you have a tip. Got video of someone behaving suspiciously? Doesn’t necessarily have to be a confirmed crime for SPD to possibly be interested in it.
Also: Cases labeled “inactive” don’t mean closed forever. Cases can be fluid. May be reopened.king cou
And then – Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner and her North Precinct counterpart Mary Amberg took over. Here’s the slide deck from their presentation (or here in PDF):
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Post-summer hiatus is over for the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council. Here’s what happened at WSCPC’s meeting Tuesday at the Southwest Precinct:
POLICE UPDATES: Precinct Commander Capt. Pierre Davis and Operations Commander Lt. Steve Strand were there. Capt. Davis said “summer was very good for us – fairly quiet – we had a big game plan going into it – with emphasis patrols … in South Park and on Alki. It was fruitful.” That was with the help of added resources including help from the Traffic Unit. “They put a dent in a lot of the activity early on. … We’re hoping to resurrect that again next year.”
Community input is key to making extra resources possible, he stressed. If you don’t report crimes/concerns, they can’t do anything about it, much less push for extra resources from citywide units. “Please …let us know what in the heck’s going on.”
That also can lead to community partnership, too; Capt. Davis said Westwood Village has a Business Block Watch going (following the trailblazing one in The Junction).
This past Tuesday’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting was its last one before fall. No headlines, but here are the toplines:
CRIME TRENDS: Same stats Southwest Precinct commander Pierre Davis brought to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce five days earlier: Down 13 percent overall year to year. One point of note, emphasis patrols have helped quiet things at Westwood Village.
COMMUNITY CONCERNS: The recurring gatherings at 24th/Kenyon in memory of murdered musician JuiceThe God (whose downtown killing remains unsolved) are still a concern for nearby residents, as voiced a month earlier too. The night before the meeting, people had gathered there for the victim’s birthday. Capt. Davis said Community Police Team officers had gone out earlier in the day for some cleanup, but he and City Attorney Precinct Liaison Joe Everett said some other approaches might be needed in the long term, such as trespassing enforcement and ensuring the right of way (streets/sidewalks) remains clear. As for the gunfire on that corner in mid-May, Davis said the Gang Unit has identified a few potential suspects and continues to investigate. … A concern about camping in Me-Kwa-Mooks Park had arisen a few days earlier; Davis said officers went to the park earlier Tuesday but didn’t find anyone. He promised to continue patrols. (Later in the week, we heard from an area resident who had CC’d us on her letter of concern to various officials; she said she had been notified “that the City’s encampment crew removed the camps” on Thursday.)
NEXT MEETING: WSCPC meets on third Tuesdays and is expected to resume that schedule in September.
Every month, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting brings the chance to talk with local police about neighborhood concerns. Tomorrow night brings the last meeting before the WSCPC’s summer hiatus, and leader Richard Miller tells us there’s no featured guest – though local police leaders will be there as always – so that means more time than ever to ask questions and bring up concerns. Be at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster) at 7 pm Tuesday.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Last Friday’s 24th/Kenyon gunfire was a major community concern discussed at the May meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, which regularly provides a chance to tell local police leadership what’s on your mind.
We also asked what had transpired since news at last month’s WSCPC meeting that the precinct planned to deploy the SPD observation tower in this area.
Present from the precinct – where the WSCPC met last night, as usual – were commander Capt. Pierre Davis and city attorney’s office liaison Joe Everett. A featured guest from Seattle Fire spoke later in the meeting.
That’s what Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis told the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting last night.
The tower recently turned up in a Rainier Valley supermarket parking lot, but not for long. In West Seattle, police intend to use it in the expansive parking lots at Westwood Village and the Delridge Home Depot – both hot spots for theft, with strong-arm robberies also a problem at the former. Capt. Davis said the tower, sold as SkyWatch, will be backed by emphasis teams on the ground including the bicycle squad. No time frame yet.
Also at the lightly attended (five members of the general public) meeting:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Street robberies remain a top crime concern for the Southwest Precinct.
That’s what attendees heard at this past week’s monthly meeting of the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council, which also featured a Q&A opportunity with a manager for the SPD 911 center.
The robbery trend has continued since the meeting – with officers dispatched to three more robbery reports this weekend, one in The Junction, one in North Delridge, one on Harbor Avenue. We have no details on the latter but we know the first was for a purse and the second for a phone, which is what police say most victims are being targeted for. Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis and operations Lt. Steve Strand told the WSCPC that more than two dozen such robberies had been reported since the start of the year, often teens robbing other teens.
One attendee then spoke up to identify herself as the mother of a victim of a phone robbery and assault.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Hours after a shoutout in the mayor’s State of the City address, the city’s Navigation Team was in the spotlight at last night’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.
Sgt. Eric Zerr, who’s been the SPD team leader since the team started its homelessness-focused work two years ago, was the featured guest, as you can see in our video above and toplines below. But first, Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis gave a crime/safety update:
We first met Sgt. Eric Zerr shortly after the city’s Navigation Team was launched two years ago. Since then, its work with homeless people has continued to gain attention. If you have a question about that work, you have a chance to hear from, and talk with, Sgt. Zerr and other Navigation Team members at this Tuesday’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting. WSCPC president Richard Miller tells WSB that he’s confirmed them as guests at the monthly meeting. As always, you’re also welcome to bring neighborhood crime/safety concerns to Southwest Precinct police who’ll be there too. Tuesday’s meeting is at the precinct, 2300 SW Webster, 7 pm.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you have a crime/safety trouble spot to surface to local police, the monthly West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting is the place. Just a handful of community members showed up tonight. Here’s what they heard, and said:
CAPTAIN’S UPDATE: Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis gave the “2018 synopsis” including a reduction in crimes against people, but a small increase in property crime – +2.8% – that would have been worse if not for stepped-up action. As he does at every WSCPC meeting, he pleaded for community members to “help us help you,” including by not leaving items in cars, reporting everything that does happen, and surfacing “ongoing issues.”
UPDATE ON HAMILTON VIEWPOINT ASSAULT: Capt. Davis was asked about the assault we reported last Saturday at the North Admiral park. It wasn’t a random attack, he said, but instead was an altercation with a “specific story line” and the person who wound up with a “bump on his head” had been “drinking heavily.” No arrest reported.
Home safety was the spotlight topic at the final West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting of the year, Tuesday night at the Southwest Precinct, so we’re starting with what the ~15 people in attendance heard from Jennifer Danner, the precinct’s crime-prevention coordinator:
She began by going around the room and asking people what they wanted to know about. Most had questions about video and cameras. Danner reminded everyone that she can do home-security assessments. She started with some myth debunking – “when a door is kicked in, it’s not the door that breaks, usually it’s the frame.” Changing the length of the screws with which your door is fastened is an easy, cheap way to help secure it, Danner said. When it comes to locks, exterior doors should have deadbolts – there too, the length is important; an inch-and-a-half throw is even better than the more-standard inch.
Window security – “You always want to add one more thing to your window,” since most windows can be broken into from the outside.
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.
Tuesday night, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council resumes monthly meetings after summer break – and it’s all about you. WSCPC president Richard Miller tells WSB the agenda is simple: Updates from local police, followed by open time for you to ask police questions and voice crime/safety-related concerns. It’s a unique chance to talk with police face to face, 7 pm Tuesday (September 18th) at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster).
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.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With the scheduled guest out sick, this month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting was all about questions and concerns brought by those in attendance – from tagging to harassment to park problems.
First, the regular update from Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, who as usual lauded community members for “seeing something and saying something.” Property crime remains West Seattle’s biggest problem – “always has been” – right now, all categories are spiking, and he says police suspect that’s because some “prolific offenders” are out of jail again. He vowed “to get back out there and … round them all up,” noting that police circulate weekly, sometimes daily bulletins about particular suspects, “especially if they have warrants.” If they suspect they know where specific offenders are re-offending, they “saturate the area.”
Sometimes they can get “more time for these individuals” if they can be linked to multiple crimes. “That can be the difference between having a safe and sane six or seven months and a chaotic six or seve months.” He said he knows car prowls for example “are a pain in the butt” and once they get people arrested, they see what they can do to get them kept in custody. He mentions the value of letters from individuals about defendants facing sentencing, saying those letters can be “hell on wheels,” impressing judges.
Then he opened the floor to questions.
In West Seattle Crime Watch tonight – two reader reports, plus a reminder:
CR-V STOLEN FOR THE THIRD TIME: We’ve shown you Joe‘s 2001 red Honda CR-V twice before – it was stolen, spotted by a WSB reader, then stolen again the day it was picked up from the repair shop, found again, this time in the county. Now, Joe’s mom Linda e-mails to say it’s been taken for the third time in three weeks from outside his residence near 16th SW/SW Thistle. When last found, it was drivable, but with “trash strewn inside,” Linda says, including “a female’s ID card and a letter from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office addressed to a guy with a record.” Then on Saturday night, the car was stolen again. He has since purchased a used car and she’s given him a “Club” for that one. But if you see the red CR-V – call 911.
MUSICAL EQUIPMENT TAKEN IN CAR PROWL: From Clipper:
I would like to report that in the early hours of Sunday morning February 18th, I was victim of a car prowl. The back window of my van was broken and musical equipment stolen from the vehicle. The incident occurred near 48th Ave. SW and Andover. Items taken were:
-15 inch Bag End speaker Model S15-N, Serial # K10678. Purple colored exterior.
-Peavey 112M Wedge floor monitor speaker w/volume control
-2 black duffel bags with small items such as pedals, mike cords, speaker cables, stand lights, power cords, direct box and a SM58 Beta microphone.
A police report was filed. If anyone has any info, the case number is 18-61429. Thanks!
WEST SEATTLE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL: Concerns/questions for police? Want to hear about local crime trends firsthand? The monthly WSCPC meeting at the Southwest Precinct is tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 20th), 7 pm. Along with the community update and Q&A, there’s a special guest this month, SPD Bias Crimes Unit Detective Elizabeth Wareing. All welcome – the precinct is at 2300 SW Webster, and the meeting room is right off the public parking lot.