Here’s my notes from the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting that was held on Thursday:
Participation: I counted 52 people at the meeting, the most I’ve ever seen. It appears that the murder of Quincy Coleman and the other recent violence has motivated a lot more people to get involved.
Shootings: SPD’s Captain McDonagh reiterated that all of the recent violence in the East, West, and South precincts has been gang related. He says that there’s kids who know who was involved in each case, but the people with first hand knowledge aren’t cooperating with authorities. All sorts of rumors continue to swirl in schools about who the shooters are, but they’re all too far removed from the original witnesses to be useful in prosecution. The word on the street is that all of the recent shootings are related, including the somewhat forgotten one that happened on October 30th and may have kicked off the whole thing.
Gang Prevention: Police are focusing on street enforcement and outreach, with an emphasis on all three shifts. Resources from the gang squad, SWAT, narcotics, vice, and traffic teams are helping to bolster the normal patrol officers in the precinct. The mayor’s new gang program is funded for 2009 and will be kicking off after the new year. The Teen Life Center at Garfield will be the focus of the program for the East Precinct.
Robberies: Overall they’re down in the area around Garfield vs. September & October. SPD has been working with Metro and the Sheriff’s department to solve issues with bus stops around 23rd from Cherry to Yesler. They’re replacing some, turning some around, improving lighting, and other environmental changes to enhance safty. Capt. McDonagh says “We have a feeling it will have a significant effect on safety in the area.”
East Precinct Staffing: The precinct is fully staffed, but right now that includes a lot of new officers that are in training. Some of those will won’t make it or could get hired away by other jurisdictions. Early next year the department will add up all the calls from each precinct and adjust patrol resources based on the proportional distribution of incidents across the city. That means it’s important that we all report the crimes we see so that we get our fair share of police resources.
12th & Jefferson: Police are working some drugs issues in that area. Last week they made an arrest of a man who fought with officers and managed to escape for a bit. They caught up to him and put him into a squad car, but he slipped the cuffs, broke the window, and escaped from vehicle. Seattle U security helped find him hiding on campus and he was finally captured. Turns out he was on parole with a year left on his sentence, and prosecutors are looking at sentencing extensions to put him away for longer than that.
23rd & Union: Officers have been working drug buy busts recently and they’ve noticed it’s been harder to buy in last few weeks. They had four arrests on one evening recently. The property owner for the block between Spring & Union is paying for off duty officers to help with the issues there. Capt. McDonagh asks people to let them know if there’s specific hours where there’s still a problem and they’ll try to reschedule the off-duty patrols. Additionally, the Post Office is planning to lease the empty lot to the east. The owner of the old Philly’s property will also be doing some crime prevention things like blocking access to the parking lot.
200 block of 25th: SPD serverd a search warrant for drugs on a house in this block. The main suspect was released a day later while his case works its way through the system.
Charles & Rainier: Residents of the Hiawatha Arist Lofts are having issues with the Shell station that is behind their property, where they see regular drug deals and prostitution activity in the alley between them. Things got better for a while when the store temporarily lost their liquor license due to sales to minors. But it all came back once they started selling booze again.
21st & S Washington: A resident there had a success story. They had been seeing a lot of drug activity in the park near them and had seen prostitution associated with some nearby apartment buildings. Neighbors made a lot of 911 calls and got the parks department to clear out overgrown vegetation in the area. Things took a bit of a downturn after the October blackout that left the lighting in the area on the wrong schedule. One neighbor was mugged at his mailbox and was in the hospital for several days. But he’s now back and doing better, and the lighting has been fixed.
29th & Jackson – A resident of the area spoke up about the continuing issues there, saying she walks along Jackson every day and has to push her way through crowds of guys in front of the park. She doesn’t feel unsafe, but she also hasn’t seen any improvements in the activity. She did say that the crowd has changed recently, with older men replacing the teenagers who used to hang out.