Last night was the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting, which provides a monthly opportunity for residents to chat with police officials about crime in their part of the neighborhood.
The good news: SPD’s Captain McDonagh says that crime is down over the last month in all but one category.
Commercial Burglaries: There have been 30 commercial break-ins in the last month, up 8 from the previous period. There’s a new pattern of thieves who break into one shop that doesn’t have an alarm, then break through the walls to neighboring shops and rip them all off without triggering the alarms on the other properties. SPD’s advice: make sure your business’s alarms are always set at night, and remove any tempting targets from the view of the front windows.
27th & Spring: Neighbors there still have “substantial concerns” about two houses on the block. My almost-accurate quote:
It’s frustrating! We’re living with fabulous neighbors and in a great neighborhood. We know where the problems are and its really frustrating that more can’t be done. The block is very supportive of police efforts, but I don’t want drugs, and don’t want guns on my block. There have been shootings tracked back to that house. There have been hijackings tracked back to that house. So I guess the question is how can we help you (SPD) to clean this up?
Shootings: Police are still working the case of the shooting at the Garfield Community Center. There are definite gang affiliations mixed in, but police aren’t getting much information from anyone who was involved. It’s a common theme: witnesses have important information, but refuse to help police take dangerous gunmen off the street. Victims who can speak aren’t giving information either. But detectives are stil following up, trying to work several different angles.
Issues Around Garfield: SPD has an officer who is dedicated to the school, the Teen Life Center, and the area around it. He’s there all day, getting to know the kids and helping to prevent and solve issues in real time. Capt. McDonagh said that he was involved in a case on Thursday that calmed some potential violence.
Gang Activity: Is up around Lavizzo Park at 22nd & Main. Officers have noticed that some activity seems to have migrated there from other areas such as 28th & Jackson. The park will become a new focus for police.
Residential Burglaries: Are down after the summer spree. Several cases from the summer were charged, and an East Precinct detective was responsible for the recent case that resulted in recovery of a large amount of stolen goods.
Drug Activity: Is down in the area. Police have had several god buy/bust operations on Union and around 12th & Jackson. Weather is probably also a dampening factor.
I-90 Tunnel Robberies: Were a growing problem in the summer and fall, but have declined in the winter. Capt. McDonagh says there are rumors that SPD doesn’t have jurisdiction there, but that is not true. However, time is of the essence if anyone ever runs into trouble there. The cameras in the tunnel are recorded but the recordings are not kept for very long, so make sure and call 911 immediately so that police can get the tapes and help catch the bad guys.
Capitol Hill Ricin Threat: Is being taken very seriously by cops. They’re getting all sorts of tips from the community about suspicious people and activity and are working every angle they can. They’re also involving all sorts of other state and federal agencies to try and trace the letters back to their sender. Capt. McDonagh said that some of the letters were less handled than others and may be of more evidentiary value. There was also an interesting comment that media sources may report the name of potential suspects in cases like this, but that SPD won’t be able to confirm it for legal reasons. Not sure if that’s a hint that we should be expecting something like that soon, but Capt. McDonagh was clear that they currently do not have a suspect in the case.