Also from the NHUAC meeting: White Center crime “down dramatically”

Still a few notes to take care of from last Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting. First – King County Sheriff’s Captain Carl Cole’s briefing on area crime, including a recap of the busted-up burglary that drew regional media to the area (including helicopters) last Tuesday.

The biggest point from Captain Cole: “The crime rate in White Center the last few years has gone down dramatically.” This point has been made before, but hearing it again had new meaning for some of the people most closely involved in the issue of potential northern North Highline annexation, as claims of WC crime woes have come up at recent public hearings. One success cited by the captain – “The gang unit has saturated the area on Friday and Saturday nights.” For March overall, he said, most of the crime in the unincorporated area was gang-related, but it was an “excellent month” overall.

Also, he noted that White Center storefront Deputy Jeff Hancock is back on patrol for a few months because of some staffing challenges – including the annexation that took effect the day of the NHUAC meeting: “As of today, seven deputies are now Burien police officers,” he noted. He says KCSO is reorganizing its precincts this summer to deal with challenges; when that takes effect July 1st, he says, Deputy Hancock (and the two other KCSO storefront officers who also have been moved temporarily to patrol) will be back to his regular role.

Now, on to the recap of the Tuesday burglary arrests – we’ll do our best to transcribe the story as the captain told it, quite energetically at that:

“The couple came home, to find a couple of miscreants in their belongings – one in a pickup, one in a shed, but they’d been in their house – the back door was forced open. They noticed these things before they found the people (responsible). While they’re looking at the truck, one guy pops up – they chased him – the woman, with her legally owned pistol – the guy grabbed his samurai sword, and off they went. Unfortunately, they didn’t take the time to call 911. So we get a call about a crazy woman with a gun and a guy with a samurai sword. They were the first people we came across … but the guy with the sword had collared one of the suspects. Meantime, the second suspect, they thought had a shotgun – we took that seriously, so we had like 25 helicopters and 100 police cars surrounding the block [including mutual-aid responders from Seattle PD] … Turned out the guy had gotten out of the perimeter before we set it up. …

“The suspects were in their young 20s, and they had quite a plan. They’d broken into another house up the street and staged it so they would meet up somewhere … Our detectives did a fantastic job. They contacted two more suspects in Seattle later that evening. (The burglary) looked really bad but in reality, we got the guy’s stuff back – the victims were at the precinct (Wednesday) to sort through (recovered loot).”

Captain Cole thought at least one of the suspects already had been charged; we’ll be checking with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to find out more.

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