Seattle Times talks CD crime statistics, another recent E Cherry gun incident

Danny Westneat of the Seattle Times, himself a “Madrona dad,” crunches some numbers in the wake of the Justin Ferrari shooting:

According to police records, there is a shooting in the blocks around Garfield nearly once a month. In the past year, there have been 10, including some in broad daylight with people around. The only difference this time is that a bystander was hit.


Just last weekend, a pot deal next to the Garfield baseball fields went bad, ending with one man running down East Cherry Street blasting four rounds from a 9-mm Luger at a known gang member who goes by the nickname “Loco.” This didn’t make the news.

But it does make the Central District News. Westneat doesn’t note that the SPD public information system takes several days before a full report on a crime becomes available. Before then, CDN often hears about things from the police scanner, email tips from readers and our community posts from neighbors sharing information. Here is the SPD narrative report on last weekend’s armed robbery made available this week:

Westneat’s other datapoints are easy enough to check out against the SPD report records here on the Seattle My Neighborhood map provided by the city. You can find “Weapons Violations” under the blue “Miscellaneous” heading. Assaults, drive-bys and homicides are filed under the red “Crimes Against Persons” section. Looking at the map for the year-long timeframe referenced by Westneat certainly paints a picture of a war zone:

What we’d really like to see is timelier access to SPD’s reports and better statistical analysis of the situation in the Central District and across Seattle – four drive-bys in South Seattle on Saturday, by the way. SPD’s “hot spot” policing is reportedly built atop this kind of analysis. As Westneat points out, many of the datapoints are publicly available. But this view only shows part of the picture.

49 thoughts on “Seattle Times talks CD crime statistics, another recent E Cherry gun incident

  1. What I’d really like to see isn’t statistics, I’d like to see more police officers walking the beat. Park a couple of those mobile police stations on 23rd and MLK.

  2. Definitely not trying to say stats are the only answer — but if SPD has data that shows trouble spots, let’s find a better way to make that public so we can understand where we live and make sure things are getting better. Anecdotes and a subset of individual reports only go so far.

  3. Data shows the hot spots. It’s a small number of people that are responsible for a large proportion of these incidents. Unpopular idea with some, but I’m all for cameras along Cherry at 23rd, 24th, & MLK. If you don’t like them, turn them off when the drug and gun crime calms down. Also, we as neighbors can demand increased emphasis patrols when obvious activity heats up. The vibe at MLK/Cherry has shifted noticeably over the last 3 weeks; as has 21st/Union.

  4. always call 911 when you see the gang activity heating up. it will only be a matter of time before this happens again. maybe it will be you next time, walking home from the twilite, or your kid at seattle u or garfield walking home from class.

    and write our worthless city council and tell them to work on this asap, instead of bs things like the edible forest or their other pet projects.

  5. Cameras are the best idea I have heard out of everything everyone has been saying in the last three days. This is a practical, cost effective solution that everyone could really get behind. It makes so much sense and if had been in effect already, the guy behind this latest tragedy might already have been found.

    How do we lobby for this? Has it been tried before and shot down?

  6. Yeah! cameras! more surveilance! that’ll make up for the racial distrust, lack of community, and lack of opportunities!

  7. “more surveilance! that’ll make up for the racial distrust, lack of community, and lack of opportunities!”

    Exactly what “lack of opportunities” are you talking about? The lack of opportunity to execute killings, drug deals and assaults?

    I feel that any part of the community that doesn’t have anything to hide would feel a lot safer if assailants could be caught on camera. I might even start walking down to Assimba again at night.

  8. And many many gunshots in South Seattle last night, all apparently gang-related according to the news this morning.

    What ever happened to the idea of gang-free zones, similar to drug-free zones and related restrictions?

  9. CDNews (Scott) did a couple of pieces on 23rd/Cherry cameras back in 2009 – search “cameras” to see the posts. The Capitol Hill News blog also did some work on this issue related to the cameras that were installed in Cal Anderson park under the Nickels Admin. I believe the Council axed the funding for these citing cost, diminished use and “Big Brother” concerns from some quarters of the public.

  10. If the victims refuse to cooperate in these sort of clearly gang related incidents, how are the police to do their jobs? In each thread someone complains that the police show a color preference in doing their jobs of investigating violent crime. Could it PERHAPS be more likely that it’s nearly impossible to investigate, file, or prosecute a crime with an uncooperative victim?? Try taking such a case to trial, even if a K9 were to catch the suspect. We can’t have it both ways, saying the police should catch the bad guys but don’t help to the police when you see something, or are victimized, because then you’re breaking the don’t snitch code. By the way, that same code is for suckers. It just disgusts me that such a huge portion of our neighborhood, a generation it seems, is convinced in to a credo that supports their own victimization.

  11. Poi was promoting calling the Anarchists in another thread. You know, the ones who keep trying to create divides between neighbors who’ve lived in the CD since before the supposed anarchists were born, rather than doing anything productive.

  12. Desperately need cameras at Powell Barnett Park. It’s maddening the amount of illegal activity goes on around the park.

  13. Cities all across the country have bought and have employed this relatively new gun-shot locating surveillance.

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/7331331-oakland-polic

    I know for a fact that SPD was approached with a presentation some time ago because I know the presenters. After the reports from last night of many gun-shots all over the city, and esp. the south-end – why are our Mayor, city council and SPD still behind the curve when it comes to utiliing city funds for something that we really need?

    Arggggh.

  14. Looks like it could be a good tool for particular circumstances. Do you have insight into why it was not embraced by SPD?

  15. “Do you have insight into why it was not embraced by SPD?”

    They decided to spend money on aerial drones for crowd control.

  16. Go to the Seattle Police web site: http://www.seattle.gov/spd/

    From there click on data and information and look at your neighborhood and the rest of the city. You can hide some things if you want to see just certain types of crime. It isn’t perfect but interesting.

  17. I hear a lot of talk about what should be done but I have yet to hear anyone stepping up to demand (and organize the community around this horrific event) for more police on the streets? Who is going to take the lead on organizing us to DEMAND that something be done about this immediately. If SPD can’t put more dollars to the problem because they are under investigation by DOJ then who do we need to contact at DOJ? How about more anti-gang dollars? How about a community effort to fund cameras? How about community members walking the streets EVERY single day/night?

    Talk is cheap. Who is going to take action? This event is unacceptable and demands all of our intention not just talk.

  18. Shot-Spotter: Now this is a truly excellent idea. I’d support cameras if necessary, but this is even better. All it watches out for is gun violence.

    I still think we need more police patrols, but the Shot-Spotter would be a great aid.

  19. oh never mind!!! Quit hiding behind your keyboards, go outside, speak, say hi, smile it confuses people, show your presence as a neighborhood citizen!! Quit thinking the police are going to change anything, the people responsible for this are clearly not worried about jail time. They are however not really liking the idea of being put on notice for what they are doing by you and me.

  20. Leon’s right. It could also take the form of a neighborhood council that actually accomplished something.

  21. Na. Were done. That incident is so yesterday. Why do you keep going on and on and on about it. Forgive and forget. We need to help all these poor misguided people in our city. Not keep harping about how one time some rich guy got shot. Who cares.

  22. True upD. We seem to agree on the status. Question is what do you mean by “put on notice.” I know what I mean – it involves the threat of citizens actually doing something about it. A little quid pro quo.

  23. Maybe I don’t know how to use the map. I’ve played with it a number of times.

    So I narrowed it down to drive by shootings in the last six months. There was only one! I’m pretty sure we have had more than one.

    Therefor, we can assume that it is like rats. If you see one – there is probably a whole lot more.

  24. This recent shooting of Justin Ferrari hit a little too close to home for all of us; I was 5-10 minutes behind the shooting as I was driving my young daughter back from gymnastics to Madrona (home). How is this allowed to happen? Why aren’t there more police in the area?? I will no longer take my daughter to Powell Barnett Park on MLK because there are people dealing drugs and congregating above the Park nd I have always wondered why the police are nowhere to be seen.It’s very discouraging and completely unacceptable.

  25. It is very difficult to find someone to lead a neighborhood or community group. it requires much time and much effort. The thanks you get is what you give yourself and maybe what a few(very few) volunteers send your way. Everytime we have a shooting folks feel like organizing and when things die down nobody wants to put in the time. maybe you would like you organize and lead? you sound like you have a bit of a fire in your belly. How about it? I’m happy to give you some of my time. Just remember you have to keep it up even when there isnt something specific to rally around.

  26. I’m talking about having a posse and hunting for criminals. Something tells me you’re not following.

  27. This is the Containment District. The police are not allowed in here. If the police try anything here they get written up. It all goes back to when we concentrated people here as an effect of red lining. All the other neighborhoods were policed and got stop signs and stuff. The CD is an uncontrolled zone. Eventually they added the affluent lakeside neighbors to the definition of the CD to make it all seem so multicultural. But the CD is reall just a swath of garbage along Empire Way and 23rd. It acually extends all the way to Renton and Kent east hill. Just follow MLK to Renton Ave over skyway up to Benson and keep heading south. There is even a sewer plant thrown in because that’s where we want all that stuff.

  28. Why do you guys not get it? the police are not going to help. They can’t. Take responsibility for your neighborhood! There is a clear misunderstanding amongst neighbors of old, and neighbors of new. I will take my 2 sons everyday to Barnett park. I will continue to walk along cherry, union, and any other street in my neighborhood. Don’t ask for more police activity, go outside and just simply let your presence be felt! They are children, not gang members, which means they are easy to be made uncomfortable! Start going for twilight walks with a neighbor or two, simply speak and say hi when your in line at the store, ask a neighbor how they are doing, just being more active outside of your house will make these kids start rethinking or simply start thinking before they do something dumb. The police in this situation are pointless. If you call the police all the time, doesn’t it sort of become like who cried wolf? Only call in the case of an emergency quit wasting the police time with things you can take care of yourself!

  29. Despite all the comments and cynicism about past redlining and containment zones etc, this area could exercise a lot of political pull and muscle if we choose to. Most people in power/govt were born in the early 60s and didn’t design or decide to make the CD this way – its time to change how this area is treated by ciy hall.

    the violence, if left unchecked, will easily spread to Seattle U, Pike/Pine, and other areas – look at all the money and development going into Madison Ave and Swedish Hospital for example. or that arena – how great to have a bunch of gangbangers shooting up SoDo during the first season of the new sonics? $500 billion for an arena, and not enough police and/or social services on the streets?

    So even at a cynical level, there’s a lot of reasons to get this problem addressed by the city.

    If you have time, go in person to the next crime prevention, council or neighborhood mtg.

    Life is busy, so if you only have time for an email, do that:

    bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
    tim.burgess@seattle.gov
    nick.licata@seattle.gov
    http://www.seattle.gov/mayor/citizen_response.htm

    Mayor’s Office
    P.O. Box 94749
    Seattle, WA 98124-4749

  30. They will also help us apprehend criminal thugs and get them off the street, instead of them hiding out among us.

  31. Leon – Thank you for the contact information of our elected officials. I have sent them an email to try and start a dialogue around driving some change. I have asked them for their insight into what is currently being discussed at the council level specific to making our neighborhood a safer place. What are some of the actionable items that are being considered? I have also asked them for their perspective about how neighbors can most effectively apply their time, energy and resources towards this goal. Do they need to be lobbied? If so, what specifically should we organize ourselves around? I am interested in their input. I will keep this thread posted on any responses.

  32. Thanks Leschi Neighbor. May I paraphrase your suggestions and send them on to the Madrona Moms group?

  33. Yes, thank you, Leon, I will be contacting elected officials. As for other comments, I will not be going back to Powell Barnett Park nor will I be walking that C.D. corridor at night with my family; I have way to much to lose here. Call me crazy.

  34. Drugs like marijuana, herion, cocaine should be legal. Pharmaceutical drugs kill far more people. Why do you suppose our troops are guarding marijuana and opium in Afghanistan and Osama Bid Laden is dead? Don’t you see the connection? Heroin deaths have gone up in King County. We pay for this phoney war on drugs with our children, our troops, our property taxes, cable tv. Holly wood promotes drugs and makes it look so glamarous. No matter how much we spend on it-IT GETS WORSE! Its a cruel hoax! Stop buying into it. Do you really think more cameras and prisons would help? Drug free zones don’t help either, most of the shootings are in drug free zone-stupid idea. Making it legal would take the excitement and money out of it. If you’re a parent turn OFF the TV! Read to your child and teach them how to read BEFORE enter public school. Watch documentaries with them and talk to your child, if you don’t they will fall through the educational cracks and more than likely get thrown in jail.

  35. you’re welcome! your replies inspired me to send a few more. I think the social services aspect is just as important in the long-term too. Hopefully some more funding can get to the right places.

  36. And LSD. I started my kids drinking in the womb and some other stuff. Their to dumb to lie to me about not taking drugs. I slip it into their pancakes. Take another pill Rae Rae.

  37. Just to let you guy’s know that I have not heard anything from council members Harrell, Licata or Conlin. It has probably been an extremely busy week with alot of contact from constiuents so I give them the benefit of the doubt. If I don’t hear anything by end of next week I will contact them again.

  38. There is a meeting of the Public Safety Committee of the City Council next week on Wednesday at 2:00 pm at City Hall. It is open to the public, and you can sign up to speak.

  39. I just wrote a letter to the members of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology committee (bruce.harrell@seattle.gov, nick.licata@seattle.gov, tim.burgess@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.gov), as well as Mayor McGinn.

    This Wednesday, June 6th at 2pm is the monthly Public Safety committee meeting. Of course, the meeting agenda will cover all of the recent shootings, 20 minutes of public comment, and then discussion of a community anti-violence program.

    I moved to the CD about two years ago. I’ve wanted to get involved in crime prevention (actually, my first priority has been to do something about the ridiculous speeding on my block!), but sensed that I would be “stepping on toes” in my neighborhood of long-standing residents. Who am I–a newcomer, sweeping in to clean up the neighborhood??

    But personally, I’m tired of standing by. I need to do my part to make this a better place for ALL residents of the CD.

  40. Here is a response from council member Nick Licata. Just received today…

    I appreciate you writing about the recent shootings that have plagued Seattle neighborhoods, some of which have taken the lives of beloved residents of our city. Although Seattle has one of the lowest homicide rates among the nation’s big cities, ranking 78th among 94 cities, the increase this year is tragic and I am concerned that current strategies used to curb violence are not working. I invite you to attend the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee meeting at our next meeting on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at 2 p.m where Councilmembers will be joined by the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, and the Law Departments. The full meeting will center on public safety matters, including a recap on major incidents reports, the anti-violence deployment steps the City is taking, as well as answers to questions (please see attached) raised at last week’s Council Briefing. I’ve also included here the agenda for the meeting. If you can’t attend the meeting, you may want to watch here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/viewer_live.asp Some people have written to me in support of stronger gun laws. Others have pointed to our State and Federal Constitutions as reasons that gun laws shouldn’t be changed. Did you know that in 1888 bringing weapons into bars and taverns was prohibited by Washington territorial law and then later, after statehood, the first Legislature re-enacted those controls as well? Yet just earlier this year, the Washington Supreme Court declined to review the Appeals Court ruling on the 2008 Seattle firearms ban on guns in areas of parks, community centers and other facilities where children are likely to be present. Hugh Spitzer, a constitutional-law professor, wrote this editorial considering whether the state courts would uphold stricter gun laws if passed. Here is a quick review of Seattle’s efforts in the State Legislature over the last several years in the area of stricter gun laws: 2009: a. Support a statewide ban on military-style assault weapons, b. Support local governments’ ability to regulate firearms or weapons in public areas to ensure the safety of their communities and local circumstances, c. Support early intervention in juvenile possession of illegal firearms, and believe proactive detention for juvenile offenses can deter potential future convictions under the more severe adult sanctions. 2010 and 2011: a. Support investments in youth violence prevention and intervention, new tools to prevent and reduce gang violence, and domestic violence prevention and services, b. Support local governments’ ability to regulate firearms or weapons in public places to ensure the safety of their communities and local circumstances. I think the city should lobby for legislation that has a chance of passing. Whether working on the issues discussed above from prior legislative sessions or other ideas like gun buy-back programs, closing the gun show loophole allowing private dealers to sell guns without a background check, increasing penalties for unsecured loaded firearm, or further restricting access to guns by the mentally ill, it will take a broad coalition of supporters and major organization to be successful. I am additionally concerned that the lack of willingness among some members of the public to assist police is one of the biggest barriers to effective policing and we must continue efforts to break the “code of silence” that prevents some community members from reporting suspected criminals to police. Recently, 400 Seattle teenagers met with 20 Seattle officers; this is the kind of work that must be done to address tense relationships with the community and demonstrate to the public that they can trust law enforcement and that they will be treated with respect. Equally important to restoring trust is that the City come quickly to an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the proposed settlement for needed reforms in SPD. Cities that have already been through a DOJ investigation and findings process, provide evidence that restoring police and community collaboration is an outcome that can take several years. We need to begin now.Finally, some of you have asked how you can be an agent for change in your communities. Here are some options:1. There is a crime prevention coordinator assigned to North Precinct, East/West Precinct and South/Southwest Precinct. See here to learn more about what your crime prevention coordinator does and how to contact them.2. Another good way to get involved to fight crime is to get involved in Block WatchThank you again for writing about this difficult issue as well as your advocacy for a safer Seattle If you have additional questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Sincerely, Councilmember Nick Licata