Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis (standing, left) addressed the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council on June 19. Recent crime trends and graffiti were discussed.
Crime trends and graffiti rundown covered at West Seattle Crime Prevention Council
A solid turnout of West Seattleites gathered at the Seattle Police Southwest Precinct on June 19 to talk public safety and, in lieu of a public speaker, the conversation was owned by those in attendance.
The discussion was held by the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council in their last meeting before a summer hiatus (they will reconvene in September).
Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Pierre Davis opened the meeting with good news on significant crime trends, saying they are on a downward spiral.
Looking at eight week totals, Lt. Davis said non-residential burglaries are down to an average of three a week, car prowls are averaging 12 a week (compared to upward spikes of 24 around this time last year) and residential burglaries are ringing in around nine a week.
He credited West Seattle’s strong block watch communities and significant arrests of repeat offenders in contributing to the drop.
Regarding the citywide spike in violent crime for 2012, Lt. Davis said West Seattle has been largely untouched. To keep that the case, he said the Southwest Precinct is doing emphasis patrols along Alki and in certain parks – areas that generally attract gang congregation and the possibility of conflict and violence.
While graffiti appearing on public buildings is often removed in a relatively quick manner, the question was raised: “What can we do about graffiti on privately-owned buildings?” The standing example used was the now-defunct Chuck and Sally’s Tavern at the corner of California Ave S.W. and S.W. Graham, a building that is constantly tagged and considered an eyesore along the West Seattle thoroughfare.
The course of action for general public, according to CPT Officer Ken Mazzuca, is to contact the Graffiti Report Hotline at (206) 684-7587 and report the problem spot to Seattle Public Utilities.
“The property owners are responsible for taking care of this,” he said, adding that SPU assesses the property and sends out a letter asking the owner to take care of it in ten days. If they don’t, another “stronger worded” letter is sent, and if it still isn’t taken care of fines can be assessed. He said the process is slow, and diligence on the part of concerned citizens helps it along.
Melissa Chin, Southwest Precinct Liaison Attorney for the city, was in attendance and provided insight on the penalties generally waged against graffiti offenders charged with misdemeanor property destruction.
“Generally for graffiti, the penalty is 420 community service hours, they have to pay for the damage, there is usually a $250 fine, $143 fee and a $43 additional fee, so it is definitely fee based and community service based,” she said. “If they have priors it may be converted to jail time.”
For more on graffiti, please check out the Herald story, "Graffiti in our neighborhoods: Who's behind it and how to take care of it."