The Worst Blocks in White Center
I generally try not to dwell on the issue of crime in White Center because, on the whole, I think WC gets an undeserved bad rep on this issue. The place has really cleaned up and there are now some very clean stretches where even petty vagrancy will not be found. Such, however, is not the case for the three blocks of 15th Avenue SW just south or Roxbury. Here you will find what White Center used to look like 15 years ago. Vagrants, thugs, drug dealers and chronic alcoholics own these blocks. On any given night (or day) you will see roving bands of miscreants plying their wares. Whether it be the sale of black tar heroin, public drunkenness or just vagrants looking to rifle any car window left open. I know the Sheriff’s Department considers this a high crime zone, as I have both talked to them and seen them on patrol. More, however, needs to be done.
The area suffers these problems because of some structural issues relating to lack of citizen surveillance. The DSHS building that occupies the block just south of Bartells’ is an architectural crime against humanity. The designers of the DSHS building (formerly a Safeways) should be indicted in the Criminal Cout at the Hague. It seems no effort was spared to make this into an insult to the community. The entrance to the building faces the parking lot and has no sight of anything on the street. The back walls all face towards the community creating an architectural dead zone; precisely what you don’t want when trying to integrate into a neighborhood (and create public safety). The hidden spaces created by the building provide sleeping spaces for the homeless and the vagrants. And the dead zone allows all manner of activity to go undetected.
Few of the business in this area have street level views (shops that front sidewalks). As such, the shop owners, even if they were inclined to keep on eye on matters, cannot see what is going on. It does not help that many of the businesses are run by first generation immigrants, who have some level of distrust for the police. As well, many are not accustomed to the concept of community policing. All this adds up to a three block free-for-all for criminals and miscreants. I will be adding pictures of some of these folks, including at least one who is registered sex offender, obviously using his “homeless” status to keep from registering.
Suffice it to say, that until this last stretch of bad seeds is cleaned up, White Center will continue labor under the unfortunate appellation of Rat City.
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