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Memo leak: SPD North Precinct too under-staffed to investigate most burglaries

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on September 26th, 2014

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According to a confidential memo reportedly leaked to KOMO 4 News, SPD North Precinct detectives are too under-staffed to investigate most burglary reports in our area. The memo, marked confidential and not for public display, comes at time where burglaries appear to be on the increase in our neighborhood.

KOMO 4’s police source reportedly stated that “unless burglary detectives have a suspect’s name, evidence photos or surveillance footage, and complete witness interviews, it’s unlikely a case will even get worked let alone solved.”

Pete Rogerson, who works with the SPD through the North Precinct Advisory Council, told KOMO 4 that he has never seen anything like this memo in his career. “I think this memo is very troubling. It’s very surprising and I cannot believe this is the case,” Rogerson told KOMO reporters.

The memo reportedly mentions the dramatic difference between the current and previous levels of detective staff assigned to the North Precinct. The 14 detectives that were assigned to work burglary, theft and juvenile cases in our area has now dropped down to two plus an on-loan patrol officer despite burglary cases increasing to 1,500 a month.

The concluding paragraph of the memo is concerning, especially with the recent increase of crime in Ballard. The final words state that “misdemeanor and even many felony crimes can no longer be investigated except on a very rare, case by case basis.”

KOMO 4 reports that the SPD won’t release information about staffing numbers in order to keep criminals on their toes. However, the SPD did confirm that the major crimes task force also takes on burglary cases and that the department uses real-time data and community input to guide where resources are directed.

Mayor Ed Murray is planning to add 100 new officers in the coming years, however, this does not seem sufficient to resolve the current under-staffing issues. “Adding more officers is not the sole solution to addressing our public safety needs but it clearly needs to be part of the solution,” says Mayor Murray.

Despite the under staffing in the North Precinct, KOMO 4 crime experts state that it is still important to report crimes to the police as it shapes how their limited resources are assigned.

If you experience a crime or burglary in our neighborhood email us at tips@myballard.com. As a neighborhood we can work together to keep each other and our belongings safe.

Image courtesy of KOMO 4 News.

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