Responses to my March 2005 request for people's pubic safety concerns.

 

I'll be talking with our new Assistant District Attorney, Dan Okada, and with our Community Police Team Officer, Tyrone Davis, when I meet with them at 8:30 AM on Thursdy March 10th at the 22nd & Madison Starbucks. You're welcome to join us. Drop me a note if you'll be there.

Andrew

tayles@jps.net



I want to offer a little perspective. My mother bought the duplex on 22nd ave east in 1973. The lady who sold it to her was, "Vicki" and she lived for many many years where scott and chris now live. She was very active in the church on the corner. Everyone in the neighborhood knew and loved her. She was a family lady and gave my mom a sense of how deeply the neighbors felt about these streets. They loved all the good the bad and the ugly; because it was theirs. Now my mom's grandson lives here. But he'll always be considered an outsider. And knowing that keeps him from any illusions and indignities.
So fast forward to today. What the gentry just don't understand is this is not their neighborhood. The people who hang out and act like they own the streets and piss on the shrubbery, many of them grew up around here and they feel ownership over it.
As for the drug activity, it's a popcorn fact that people who are incarcerated learn that Deano's corner is where you can go to score easily when you get out of prison. Why do you think it's so busy? Even if you went to prison in 1970, when you get out, you come here because it has historically and consistently offered a dependable source for users.

Sincerely, Laurie Davenport


Dear Mr. Okada,

We are pleased to offer our opinion on the state of the neighborhood, or
more specifically, our own block. Take a look at today, a typical Sunday:
My husband and I are returning to our block around 8A after a long walk with
our dogs. Two persons are on our block sipping from open containers of
beer. The sneer at us ¡V we sneer back. We all know each other. We keep
walking toward our block and they start shuffling off it. After putting the
dogs in the house, we continue to the Starbucks at the opposite side of the
block for our Sunday paper and coffee. The two with the beer keep looking
over their shoulders at us while they slowly move along¡KWe pass them and
cross the street to Starbucks, upon which they immediately turn around and
go back to drinking beer across the street from our home. A few minutes
later, one of the pair opens his pants and urinates on my neighbor¡s shrub
while we watch from inside Starbucks.

We continue to sit in Starbucks and watch the pair, who are quickly joined
by a crack dealer and his two customers. Again, we all know each other.
The customers openly hand the dealer money and he walks towards Starbucks,
heads up Madison and into the alley behind Deano¡s. He sends his mule back
with the merchandise. The customers smoke the crack across the street from
my house, in plain view of everyone at Starbucks. We¡re watching because
we know they like to smoke crack in the alley at the side of our house. We
are thankful they conducted business on the street today. This will go on
all day long.

Sadly, this is not theatrical ¡V it¡s a daily reality for this neighborhood
and I am not the only one impacted by the brazen drug traffic. I¡d like to
say I always call 911, but what is the point? There is a half an hour wait
before my low priority call is answered and everyone has stumbled away by
then. Every officer in this precinct knows what is going on in this
neighborhood ¡V I wouldn¡t want to respond or patrol this area either.
Frankly, I save up my 911 calls for the real trouble and we do have real
troubles. There was a shooting on my block this week. I wasn¡t the first
time and it won¡t be the last. There is the sober reality that a deal is
going to go bad once and a while and everyone around is a potential victim.

Thankfully, things are actually a lot better than they used to be. I give
the East Precinct a lot of credit over the last two years. Our street has
cleaned up because the nearby drug dens have been cleaned up. There¡s
usually only one small group of people smoking crack on our block. There¡s
a lot less prostitution in front of Deano¡s. The packs of young, and what
I perceived to be very dangerous groups, have not been around for a while.
The downside is we have had a huge increase in burglaries, which I¡ve
spoken to Officer Davis about. But for the most part, it¡s far from great
or peaceful, but it is better.

If you are looking for suggestions:
>h I would be more willing to call 911 to report crime if I knew the 911
operator wasn¡t going to belittle me with mundane questions. For example,
when I call and tell them that someone is smoking crack in front of my home
I don¡t want to hear them say, ¡§So what¡s the problem?¡¨
>h We need more police contact like a foot/bicycle patrol around this area.
In the past, the bicycle police have been extremely successful in driving
out the dealers.
>h We need to hold businesses accountable for their negative impact on our
neighborhood. Example, we had a community meeting last fall and asked the
manager of Deano¡s why there was no doorman. He said it was because the
first one he hired had his head split open by a customer and no one else
wanted the job after that. That business should have hired as many security
personnel as it takes to control their customers. Instead, they just
release their drunk and high customers into our neighborhood and let us deal
with the issues.

I want to live in a safe neighborhood. I want to be able to park my car on
the street and walk home in reasonable safety. I want shootings and
screaming in the middle of the night to end. The real issue is how much
money are you willing to spend to make this happen? What¡s my life worth?
What is this neighborhood worth? I think we are worth a lot more than we
have received. I believe we are truly in need of more.

 

Sincerely,

Kris Hansen
118 22nd Ave East


I think we need more and brighter street lights. And something should
be done about the closing of the red apple at union and martin luther
king. A huge parking lot and an abandoned grocery store spells big
trouble. There needs to be more light on the path behind the ball
fields at Garfield High School. The path is bad, and there is 0 light.
Thanks for caring.

Glenn Bates


Just thought I would tell you about my little story--There has
definitely been an increase in vigilance for abandoned vehicles--in fact
they have ticketed my car twice and I just narrowly avoided having it
ticketed a third time! My car is NOT abandoned, is registered and yes,
it sits either in front of the bush in front of my house (to prevent
other people from doing so and hanging out in a fairly well hidden place
OR it sits in the most well lit, closest walk to my townhouse) for
several days as I often bike, or take the bus -- I can't believe it. I
don't believe that anyone would be calling it in--They haven't given me
a warning ticket or anything. So now I dutifully move in from one street
to the other every three days.

I think it is ironic since two years ago, I called a car in a few times
(that had a screwdriver sticking out of the steering column!) and talked
to the local patrolmen about it who also knew about the screwdriver and
it took about a month to get it moved.

The moral of the story. . . I guess I just have to start driving more.


Your email was forwarded to me via Sara Elward (of the Cherry Street Association). We have very real safety and crime concerns on the corner of 26th and Alder. I call 911 to report drug activity in that vicinty at least 2x week but the situation has not improved. The major problem is that the house on the northwest corner is abandoned (the elderly lady that lived there before died) and it is used by dealers and users of crack. I have never seen a cop car go by the house despite the fact that Garfield High School is a block away. I assume that it is due to the fact that our neighborhood is lower income than the environs but it is frustrating. I have 2 children under 3years and I would like to walk freely in my neighborhood.

The situation on Cherry (between 28th and 23rd) has improved which is great but the 100 block which borders Yesler is where the problems are now.

Thanks for your help. I plan to start a block watch on my block in March in an effort to stem some of this and to gain a greater voice, but your advice and advocacy on our behalf would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers
Sarah Gimbel-Sherr


Andrew - there is a lot of loitering on 19th Avenue, between Madison and
John, specifically across the street from the 19th Avenue Lofts. This
makes me very uncomfortable, and unlikely to take this (the most direct
route) when walking between my home and office. Park an old police car
on the corner?

Also, the curb bulb at Republican and 19th is helpful when trying to
turn onto 19th going South, but the cars park so close to the SW corner
of this intersection that it is impossible to see traffic coming North
on 19th until you are halfway into the intersection. Disallow parking
within 30 feet of the SW corner?

Finally, I would like to point out that Volunteer park is so littered
with used condoms and needles that I can't let my kids play under the
trees in the larger park areas. The playgrounds seem to be pretty clean,
thankfully, but the rest is just plain dangerous. Can they put sharps
disposals at the trash cans?

Just a few thoughts.
Pamela Rhodes


Thank you for asking about our concerns. As usual, our top concern is the drug dealing and other illegal activities that go on at the bus stop on the south side of John between 23rd and 22nd, and on the few blocks around that general area between John and Madison. Our house is dirently across the street, and this activity is constant. The problem when we call police is that, by the time they get there, the criminals move away. What is needed to pass the message on to these criminals is more regular patrols by the police, both in car and ON FOOT. REGULARLY, not just when we call. We've been thrilled with the Safeway development at Madison, but the criminal activity really puts a damper on things. The police truly need to crack down on this activity. The guys with their walkers are SELLING DRUGS, not waiting for a bus. Everyone knows that.

A secondary concern is about young troublemakers stopping us outside our home and asking us for money. These are not crippled homeless people who need lunch, these are guys who need cash to score drugs. They give you some sob story about how they lost their house and job and just need some money until their brother/friend/cousin comes through to help them, but it is always a lie. They are a threat to those of us living in our homes and paying taxes.

Thanks again,

Natalie Singer


I would like to throw a couple of questions out there.

1 - We (my wife and my immediate neighbors) repeatedly discuss the obvious drug house activity on our street. There are 2 houses on 26th between Cherry and Yesler that are so obviously dealing drugs that we think "how can that not get noticed and busted by the police". Now, I realize that the cops have busted these houses in the past, and that people go to jail for a few weeks or even years, but the houses are still owned by the original owners and people come back or pick up the business where it left off, etc. So, the question is how does one stop this activity, and what is the police department doing in this regard?

2 - The streets and yards in the CD are often a mess. Is there any legal recourse to get this cleaned up? If a neighborhood resident decides to leave all of their old junk out in the front yard, is there anything the police can do?

3 - We've been robbed 5 times in 18 months (3 were car break ins) so what is the police department doing to rid the neighborhood of these activities?

By the way, we love the neighborhood, and we've lived throughout Seattle for the last 10 years and would not live anywhere else, so I do not think that everything should change and I believe that long-time residents and new residents should be able to live happily together. That said, we would like to see the safety and up keep of the area continue to improve.

Thanks for being as involved as you are. We appreciate your efforts.

Todd


The gauntlet one regularly has to run just to walk down Broadway
More police foot patrols and enforcing no loitering may help that
dynamic -- at the same time keeping them out of the parks
Auto theft. We had 3 cars stolen from people in my building in about
3-4 weeks -- the last one just last week. Two from the upper lot, one
from the street in front of the building at Melrose. Hard to know what
can realistically be done but more police car patrols would not hurt --
there is not a "presence" that I see in my neighborhood any more. A
couple of years back there was and we did not have the auto
vandalism/theft we have been getting since. This year the theft and
vandalism has really increased.

Catherine Brumbaugh


Thanks, as always, for being our neighborhood steward.

I've been away for the winter so this may have changed, but there were a
LOT of scary sketchy people hanging out at the SE corner of the ball
field last Summer/Fall. Sometimes it seemed as though someone had taken
up residence under the trees by the stands and often, it was clear that
some individuals spending an afternoon there were totally whacked out of
their minds. I called the cops one day because a woman was sort of
skipping in and out of traffic in this very odd way, clearly totally
baked. I walk this neighborhood all the time and I notice when there's
an increase in street populations.

We've also had a number of just stupid disruptions in the alley near my
house. Daytimes we've had the same bad kids smashing bottles out of the
recycling and late nights, there's been shouting, people peeing by our
dumpsters, etc...I live on the alley between 17th and 18th at
Republican, I often hear folks coming up the alley from the S. I've seen
what looks like stash and pick up at the Qwest box on the alley, same
location, and I've found ditched drugs in the planter boxes at 18th and
Republican. It's just pot, so maybe it's just teenagers, but the other
sketchy stuff I've seen makes me wonder if there's dealing going on at
my intersection.

Things seem to increase as the weather gets better. I'd love to see
increased late night patrol. I call the cops for EVERYTHING and have
encourage all my neighbors to do the same.

Thanks much,

Pam


The only long term solution is economic development and gentrification of the Deano's block, but I'd certainly ask about sentencing and plea bargains of convicted, repeat drug offenders--eg, what can be done about what appears to be a budget driven revolving door at the King County jail....