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Ballard could lose crime prevention coordinator

Posted by Geeky Swedes on June 30th, 2010

The people who work directly with our neighborhood in preventing crime could soon be out of a job. The six civilian crime prevention coordinators for the Seattle Police Department, including North Precinct coordinators Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen, have been told they’ll lose their jobs next spring when grant money runs out.

North Precinct crime prevention coordinators Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen

The crime prevention coordinators work directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door to door to warn about recent crimes. They’ve been part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions then became paid for with federal grant money. That ends on March 31 of next year.

“We are the link between the community and the police department,” said crime prevention coordinator Terrie Johnston from the west precinct. “Patrol officers are often promoted or transfer out. We’re the ones in people’s living rooms and churches.”

Johnston and her fellow coordinators have logged hundreds of community meetings over the past year. She worries that officers and precinct bosses won’t be able to give residents one on one attention if the crime prevention coordinators are let go.

“When we’re gone, who will take the time?”

Councilmember Tim Burgess, who chairs the Public Safety and Education committee, tells us his office is closely tracking the issue as it heads toward the mayor and council. If you’d like to voice your opinions, here’s a link to the mayor and City Council.

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11 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Atlas // Jun 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Part of mayor McGinn’s hug-a-thug policy…oh sorry, ‘social justice’ program.

  • 2 Edog // Jun 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    But hey we’ll have bike sharrows on Nickerson to protect pedestrian safety!

  • 3 Jim // Jun 30, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Good! Its about time we started trimming the excess fat out of our tax dollars (budget). Unfortunately the cuts still won’t go deep enough. This position should have NEVER been funded in the first place. LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS Seattle Politicians/Cops.

  • 4 wal // Jun 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Will crime in our area go up if their jobs go away?

    If so, they should be a part of the overall SPD crime prevention strategy. If not, well…

  • 5 gts206 // Jun 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Looks like they were funded by a GRANT not the operating budget. Short term funding for long term needs.

    Sounds like it might be a good program but to my knowledge I have never met a crime prevention coordinator. Neither in my living room nor at my church.

  • 6 Ballardian_Jones // Jun 30, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    One of the Crime Prevention Coordinators came to our Block Watch meeting a year or so ago and definitely had some helpful tips but I’m not sure (depending of how much funding the coordinator actually got) whether it was truly something that could not have also been handled by a brochure or a web page for neighborhood crime prevention.

  • 7 Alysse // Jun 30, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Neil came to a meeting to set up our block watch. I really appreciated him coming and talking to everyone at the meeting. He had many tips to share about being safe from crime. And not all the tips were obvious. I think he is a very positive force in the community. I will be writing a letter to McGinn, and several Councilors.

    GTS206, they used to be funded from the budget, but they switched to a grant last October as the article says. But like you say “Short term funding for long term needs.”

  • 8 Omo // Jun 30, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    This does sound like a great idea and a useful program, but despite having been visited by uninvited home invaders who selected only the finest things to steal, car thieves, car vandals and large late parties across the street whose noise frequently flows freely into the wee hours and whose participants use our lawn as a garbage dump. Despite having called the north precinct many times to report these things, I have never even heard of such a liason. I could really use someone to help me figure out how to keep my family and property safe in this neighborhood, but I didn’t know anyone was out there. Maybe if more of us knew they existed and what their roles are, we would know their value and offer support. I hope their jobs can be kept and become far more visible.

  • 9 milo dakkat // Jul 1, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Perfect timing to cut these positions since crime has been eradicated from Ballard and is no longer a problem.

  • 10 Obiwan // Jul 1, 2010 at 8:43 am

    In the age of “measuring results”, I’d be surprised if the crime prevention coordinators didn’t have a very good return on investment. I’ve been to “block watch” meetings where they have presented info, answered questions and offered advice. I found the info to be very helpful and sometimes surprising.

    I’m not at all surprised by the grumpy old white guys posting comments about “cut the fat”. And… since I love irony so much, it’s always entertaining to read them.

  • 11 Grumpy old white guy // Jul 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I support the cops and their programs. Anything to keep the thugs out of my neighborhood.

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