I arrived a bit late, but here are my notes from the EPCPC Meeting if anybody finds them useful. I didn’t get everything, but these were the highlights in a pretty scattered format. Hope it helps.
Community Court (missed the start of this)
“gives defendants the opportunity to give back to the community where their offenses occurred. Rather than go to jail, defendants who enter the program can help themselves in overcoming their own problems as they do community service, take educational classes or get referred to social services”
The nature of the work is different per neighborhood based on needs. Lots of manual labor, litter pick up, traffic circle maintenance etc.. Defendants are only those who have committed petty crimes, such as shoplifting, public drinking, sometimes prostitution etc..
Seems like a very positive program, they are working lots of different areas, including First Hill and Capitol Hill but they are wanting to branch out more.
How to Come Forward for Criminal Activity
Reiterate the importance of reporting crimes or suspicious behavior.
Order of priority for calling:
- when you have a police, fire or medical emergency
- to report a crime in progress
- when there is a situation that poses an actual or potential danger to life or property
- when there is suspicious activity
You can also call about tips of crimes you have seen (even participated in) completely anonymously. Call (206) 343 2020 or (206) 684 5550.
Finally you can also text “CRIMES” (247637), start your message with “TIP486” followed by your anonymous tip. You will receive a confirmation message quickly, and can even get a reward if your tip is found useful. This is all done through a 3rd party service that guarantees that you remain anonymous.
Every little tip matters even if you don’t have something completely solid. Often those can help tie things together. Something as simple as reporting number of suspects at a scene of a crime can make a big difference!
Try to think in an organized fashion when you are seeing something you later need to report. Focus on the most important suspect, then work your way from top to bottom: first their hat, hair, face, jacket, pants, shoes. Then outside to in: other attributes, jewelry, facial features etc..
One call can make a huge difference. If you have information, call it in anonymously at (206) 684 5550 or via SMS. Every little bit helps. People are scared of speaking up, but silence is far more dangerous than not contacting the police. Things will not become better by being quiet. Sometimes the effect is not immediate but it is important to continue reporting activity as you see it, even if it is something that has been occurring regularly. The SPD is working within the confines of the law and sometimes these things take a while to crack, but don’t give up, your next call or tip could be the one that breaks the case.
Much discussion on the dynamics of the reporting. Assurances given to the audience that there are laws to protect witnesses in the case of intimidating. Really the overall key is community involvement and consistency. Consistency in reporting all crimes, taking ownership of the problem, the problems will not be solved by inaction and apathy.
East Precinct Update
Crimes of violence: lull has passed, three shootings lately, probably due to the weather and more kids being out and gangs clashing. Two of the three are cold cases, the last has some leads. There is an expectation that all crimes will see an uptick with the nicer weather, so be extra vigilant.
Crime prevention coordinator for the East Precinct, 14th-lake, I90-Union. Available for block watch meetings, security assessments etc.. He can be reached at 386 9766 “Neighborhoods have the amount of crime they tolerate, it’s yours to change. Those that show that they care by picking up trash, towing abandoned cars etc, will have lower crime rates.”
Great summary, Nic – thank you!
There is a related item in this morning’s news that reinforces the difficulty of the “snitching” problem. A 14-year-old girl (I’m sorry, I forget where – probably not Seattle) gave information on a crime to the police, and she is now being threatened with death, maiming, harm to her family, etc., by her schoolmates – and the police in that jurisdiction, wherever it is, say they’re not sure they can protect her.
Our community as a whole needs to be there for these kids. No, I don’t know how. But I think we need to start younger than the middle school/high school ages that were mentioned last night.
UPDATE: yes, it was in Seattle, but not in the East Precinct. It was at the African American Academy, which I think is K-8.
to plaster with Break the Silence flyers that have the anonymous tip info.
My understanding is that he’s really from South but is handling East as well?
At the meeting I suggested that SPD create collateral that we could hand out to our neighbors. The posters are great for schools, businesses, etc, but are not effective in spreading the word house to house. If they are asking us to talk to our neighbors, give us something to do it with, i.e…postcards, flyers, etc. And know your audience! Make it look appealing, not like a government manuel!
With respect to the meeting itself, I feel like it does not take advantage of the participants very well. We spent 45 mins on the snitching issue, which is important, but I think most folks come to the meeting very well aware of the importance of engaging with police when they see illegal activity and didn’t need to hear the story from 15 years ago about how a tip lead to a big bust. Well, maybe 1, but not 4. Treat us as their soliders and give us the tools to do the ground work. The woman with the son who had been mugged never got an answer to her question about what concrete steps they were taking to protect folks who come forward; rather, she got the elevator pitch about why it is important to do so. Duh.
Likewise, it seems like every meeting includes SPD writing down the same concerns as the ones voiced a month prior, but what becomes of that? Do they report back the following month on actions taken? Is it entered into some database and tracked??
After 2 hours we get to the nuts and bolts of what’s happened on the ground in the last month. The agenda calls for the meeting to be 90 mins! I know everybody needs to be heard, but either shorten the agenda or run a tighter ship.
I appreciate the work that goes into these meetings. I do. And I recognize what I want out of them is not what others want out of them, but I cannot help but think they could be a lot more productive (and in the end get some concrete results).
CRIMES is spelled out by 2*74*637
Handling part of East. East is split geographically among the other precincts that do have crime prevention coordinators. Mark covers that part of EP that Nic specified; the others cover the rest.
Elvis has a point, especially about this last meeting. Maybe due to the fact that this was Mark’s first meeting and one other presenter was new to the community. The updates and concerns are probably necessary even if they are repetitive. But, an unusually great amount of time was given to lecturing the attendees about the importance of reporting crimes, something that we are already doing daily. Our own Crime Prevention Coordinator is necessary for cohesive, on-going efforts to be formulated and successful.
Discussing some of the ideas, pros and cons, along with working with the schools to ensure the safety of students would be more to the point. I have mixed feelings regarding police in schools, but certainly the police, school district, and community have an important role to play regarding the safety around the school and neighborhood.