White Center/South Delridge Community Safety Coalition: An ending, a beginning

It was something of the passing of the torch at Thursday night’s meeting of the White Center/South Delridge Community Safety Coalition, as the last Seattle Neighborhood Group staffer assigned to the group, Karen Greene, honored its volunteer leaders – with days to go before her job ends. (WIth Karen in the photo is Sean Healy, just elected chair of the coalition’s Executive Committee.) Karen’s job is ending because the grant that funded it is expiring. The WCSDCSC has long had grant funding as a “Weed and Seed Area,” while struggling to leave behind a raucous, dangerous past. Now, there’s consensus the area is getting safer, and crime is dropping. At Thursday night’s meeting, King County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Hancock recalled something he’d said to the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council recently, that an entire month’s crime report these days doesn’t even contain the volume of violence and serious crime that they would once see just in a weekend.

Before Deputy Hancock presented his crime report at the start of the meeting, Acting Sgt. Adonis Topacio of the Seattle Police Department‘s Southwest Precinct Community Police Team gave his update for the South Delridge side of the area. All categories of property crime were up, he said — “Seems to be the trend this time of year.” In terms of major incidents, he only recalled one – a robbery attempt at Cafe Tam Tranh on the south end of Delridge, in which somebody tried to steal a game machine bolted to the floor – then swung a knife at the manager; he said the cafe had been “hit several times in the last few years.” His stats covered the six weeks since the last meeting of the group and listed 24 car prowls in the South Delridge area, up 11; 5 “auto accessories” thefts, up 3; 3 license-plate thefts (up 2); 14 auto thefts (up 4); 14 burglaries (up 5).

His words of advice for residents to protect themselves from crime: Don’t leave anything in your car. Meantime, he also noted that the Community Police Team has two vacancies at the moment; one of the key team members is about to deploy to Iraq. But A/Sgt. Topacio says he’s hopeful that replacements will be on the way next month.

Then Deputy Hancock took over with his update. While property crime in White Center is low, he said – no commercial burglaries in the past month, and just one residential break-in – he noted four major incidents (the following is a transcription from what he handed out to attendees at the meeting, minus the report numbers):

Assault Aggravated Felony
Club Evolucion – There was a large gang-related fight in front of the club. Two Deputies working off duty were assaulted by three suspects. All three suspects were arrested the following week for assault 3.

Robbery
McLendon’s
A shoplift turned into a robbery when the suspect produced a knife and attempted to stab the store manager. The manager was not hurt and the suspect fled the scene. The robbery is currently under investigation.

Chase Bank/SW 100th 17th SW
One suspect armed with a handgun. Currently under investigation.

SW Roxbury 28th SW – Gas station
Armed robbery/currently under investigation.

Dates for those incidents weren’t given. The one-sheet from Deputy Hancock also listed 10 drug arrests, 20 warrant arrests, 3 vehicle thefts and 1 vehicle prowl for the month (described as 11/03 through 12/02).

More quick topics from the meeting: Asked about the effects of the county budget on storefront operations, Deputy Hancock said the White Center storefront has been saved, but “Boulevard Park will be incorporated into Burien” …
State Liquor Control Board agents briefed the meeting saying they hadn’t noticed violations at some of the establishments they’ve checked, but there is a “stipulated agreement” with a grocery store where there had been some concerns. …. The timetable for completion of Burien’s annexation of “North Highline South” may still be delayed while the City of Burien and King County hash out the future of Puget Sound Park … Chances are strong the coalition will meet in a new location in the new year – probably the DSHS building across from the White Center Bartell Drugs … Attendees were asked to fill out a form inquiring about their strengths and interests, as part of a community-building exercise … The artwork for Steve Cox Memorial Park is finally about to get under way, now that a contract has been signed …

And before the meeting ended, final words from Karen Greene: “The change (in the area) is really something to be proud of. This meeting is a real strength for the community, a real resource.”

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  1. [...] Committee of the White Center/South Delridge Community Safety Coalition. Congrats, Sean! Visit White Center Now for more [...]