This week the Seattle Police Department is launching their new Neighborhood Policing Initiative. The goal is to rework police beats and shifts to better match the city’s crime patterns, reduce response time, and more closely connect officers to the specific parts of the community that they serve.
There’s some good news for the Central District in the new plan, where the East Precinct (Ship Canal to I-90, I-5 to Lake Washington) will offload part of First Hill & Eastlake and thus have more officers to cover the remaining area. And the number of beats that cops are assigned to will drop from 14 to 9, with most of the CD covered by three beats in the George sector.
The department is also trying to devote more time to proactive projects that will allow them to address problems before they become bigger issues. In the East precinct this includes:
– Proactive patrol to maintain order and prevent assaults in 20th and Madison, Yesler/Jackson and Colman Neighborhood, and Pike/Pine/Broadway nightclub area;
– Undercover/stakeout operations to address drive-by shooting incidents in the Central Area;
– Park Patrols to address public inebriation and reduce narcotics activities in area parks.
(note to SPD – you might want to consider focusing on 23rd & Union now that the area around 20th & Madison is so relatively peaceful)
As for what this will mean in the long term, you should start to see more familiar faces in our neighborhood’s patrols. And hopefully you’ll see them in a greater quantity as the city fills the 154 new positions in the department. But one key point we should all keep in mind is that the new system is much more data driven. That means that calls made to 911 go into a big database that allows the police department to study crime trends and drive resource allocation to match. But that system only works if we report the crimes that happen.
Remember: If a crime occurs in the CD but no one calls 911, then the crime never really happened.