East Precinct update: Pepper spray concerns, burglary stats and a 23rd/Union surprise

A few notes from Thursday night’s meeting of the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition. If you were there and caught something we missed or want to add your $0.02, please add a comment or three.

  • Lieutenant Joel Guay was in the hot seat for the precinct fielding community — and reporter! — questions.
  • Guay said that crime in areas like 23rd and Union and along Dearborn ebbs and flows and is “up and down” — though he said East Precinct crime is “down” in all “countable categories.”
  • He noted what he called the “historic” meeting of property owners around 23rd and Union and the progress in connecting that group with the city’s Office of Economic Development.
  • Guay also dropped an interesting tidbit related to the Jim Mueller planned development at 23rd and Union that we reported on earlier on Thursday. Guay said there will be a “ground breaking” on the mixed-use development “in a month or two.” Mueller told us earlier this week that nothing was definite yet. We haven’t confirmed anything following Guay’s interesting remarks.
  • We asked Guay if he was concerned about a trend of crimes in the CD and Capitol Hill — and in other parts of the city — involving pepper spray. Guay was relatively philosophical about it saying SPD sees these kinds of things pop up from time to time until, like a fad, it goes away. At one point, Guay said the concern was related to cheap over the counter “stun gun” type devices. SPD has said that it is looking into the possibility that crimes involving pepper spray in the CD and other neighborhoods could be related.
  • Crime prevention coordinator Terrie Johnston shared some burglary statistics. The dataset was only for Edward Sector — the western edge of Capitol Hill and First Hill — but it’s an interesting snapshot of residential burglary activity in the area. Johnston said of the 18 reported residential burglaries in the area, 13 required no force to enter the building. You might chalk this up to people being lazy locking their doors — or the Key Ring Kid but Johnston said only three of the incidents definitely involved a key. She also added that nearly all of the incidents occurred during the day.
  • The next community crime meeting is slated for January 27th.

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