White Center Community Safety Coalition meeting report #2, including some good news

Last night, our first report brought you the biggest news from the monthly White Center/South Delridge Community Safety Coalition meeting, held at St. James Place (photo above) — King County Parks’ new graffiti-fighting proposal (read about it here). But that was only part of what was discussed at an information-packed meeting. A special presentation on best practices for calling 911 will be featured in our third report later today, but right now – here’s the newest information on crime/safety concerns in the area:

The WC/SD Community Safety Coalition meetings are led by two Seattle Neighborhood Group staffers, Kathy Kaminski and Karen Greene. (Kaminski is SNGi’s Weed-and-Seed coordinator, while Greene is with the Drug-Free Communities program; read more about them here.) The meetings are open to all – in addition to area residents who attend to find out what’s happening in their neighborhoods and what can be done about problems they’ve reported/observed, reps from major agencies (Seattle Police, King County Sheriff, King County Parks, White Center Community Development Association, etc.) attend, often presenting updates on projects with which they’re involved.

After the aforementioned presentation about Parks’ new graffiti plan, Kaminski acknowledged, “Graffiti is something we talk a lot about here,” and Whitman stressed that help from watchful residents is vital to the success of this plan or any other effort – “The more eyes we have on it, the better we can deal with it.” Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Hancock echoed this, saying law enforcers are watching for vandals too, and: “The important thing is to get rid of it as soon as possible.” The non-emergency number for KCSO, by the way, is 296-3311.

Kaminski presented the monthly “hot spots” report, and the general theme this time around was an absence of major new complaints about some of the most closely watched businesses. So far, residents acknowledged warily, they’re not seeing a major new spike at the grocery store on 16th, despite the controversial granting of its liquor license recently. Potential reasons for that, some speculated: Different owners, different hours, different neighbors. Coalition staffers also continue to watch other spots including the Schuck’s parking lot along Roxbury and Club Evolucion on 16th.

Discussion about that nightclub led to a lively tangent about the recent P-I article on “gang life.” While some residents in attendance expressed concern about what the articles’ photos showed inside the club, the sheriff’s deputies countered with disappointment that the article chose to showcase gang members at all, noting that gangs are more than happy to show off for the cameras. Kaminski and Southwest Precinct Lt. Steve Paulsen both agreed that there was concern the newspaper stories “glorified” gangs.

“Are there gang members out there? Yeah, there are gang members out there,” Sgt. R.K. Lurry said vehemently. “Do they own the streets? No. … Would I want this club in my backyard? No. I wouldn’t want the crowds coming in … But he (Evolucion’s owner) has a legal right to operate the club. I can’t just go in to harass him; I have to work with the owner” to continue promoting safety.

The one woman most concerned about Evolucion mentioned seeing what looks like public sex involving underage women – “That’s statutory rape!” she exclaimed – and was urged to keep calling 911. “Report whatever you see,” Kaminski urged. “Even if officers can’t respond immediately, they need to have a record of what’s being reported (so they can deploy resources).”

Sgt. Lurry added one key point: That White Center, overall, is safer today than it’s been in a while. “We do not have nearly the level of violence that we had, say, three years ago.” He related an anecdote about the late Deputy Steve Cox “running guys off 16th” and having to deal with those same troublemakers shooting other streets. “I”m out there every Saturday night,” Sgt. Lurry said, “and we just don’t have that.”

When the “hot spot” presentation resumed, Kaminski referred to the new Be’s Restaurant (reviewed recently by FullTilt), a site that had been closed a year since its former life as a nightclub. “Now it’s open all day,” she said, “and we hope that will be a positive addition to the community.”

Speaking of community, as we reported last night on partner site West Seattle Blog, Lt. Paulsen announced that the Community Police Team is returning to its usual duties as of next week, after some changes for a month because of Southwest Precinct personnel challenges caused by officer injuries. That means, among other things, that CPT officer Adonis Topacio will be back at next month’s Community Safety Coalition meeting.

Lt. Paulsen said that the Seattle Police-handled side of the coalition’s focus area had been fairly quiet recently; his team is focusing on the impending start of school (Seattle Public Schools resume next Wednesday, September 3rd, as do Highline public schools). CPT officers will be liaisons with local schools, he explained, saying that’s been a fairly successful relationship in recent years. It was also noted that Chief Sealth HS is now using the Boren location on Delridge for two years, while its renovations are under way (here’s a link to coverage on WSB if you are interested).

There was more good news: A recent tobacco-enforcement sting by the state yielded only one location in the entire White Center area that sold tobacco to someone who was underage; Kaminski said it was “the Korean market next to White Center Plaza.”

A few more notes: The coalition’s Sustainability Committee is working on a grant proposal through WCCDA, and invites anyone who’s interested to attend its next meeting, 6:30 pm Sept. 11 at Mount View Presbyterian. Please RSVP to kathy@sngi.org or at 323-9671. And for those within Seattle city limits, president Dot Beard and vice president Kay Newton from the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council were at last night’s meeting, and invited one and all to join their meetings, third Tuesday of each month at the Southwest Precinct (next one is September 16th, 7 pm).

Tags: , , , ,

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Comments are closed.