Ballard neighbors say ‘no’ to drug activity

Neighbors around Ballard have been talking about drug activity on side streets in the forum. Now within a week we’ve received two separate pictures of two different signs letting possible drug dealers know that neighbors are noticing the suspicious activity. This sign is near 60th & 11th.

And this sign is at 70th & 9th.

The person who put up the second sign says they are fed up with what they say is obvious drug activity. “The suspicious activity of random cars parking on 70th and the drivers getting out of the car walking through the neighborhood, or meeting another car and exchanging something in a ‘handshake’ has raised some concern by many neighbors.” Police have told these neighbors to call 911 when they see this suspicious behavior.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

55 thoughts to “Ballard neighbors say ‘no’ to drug activity”

  1. Having called 911 numerous times to report obvious drug deals adjacent to my house I can tell you it's a complete waste of time. Save yourself the frustration and don't bother.

  2. It's not a complete waste of time. Calls to 911 are logged and help determine the allocation of police to various sectors of the city.

    If you don't call 911, other neighborhoods get that support instead of yours.

  3. Though that's probably true I don't think I'd say they belong in the living room either. Perhaps pot isn't any worse than alcohol, but in general, the more drugs are available, the more they are abused. I don't have a problem with enjoying a beer, a cocktail, or a joint for that matter. But alcohol already causes a lot of problems, or makes existing problems worse. Do we really need more ways to get high?

  4. I'm all for legalizing drugs that are fairly harmless like pot and acid – and even heroin is pretty benign if one does not get addicted to it. But I have a hard time imaging legal meth. That stuff is just nasty all around. Or Special K or PCP? Maybe we should just legalize drugs that don't contain ammonia and aren't large animal tranquilizers. Still, if you could buy meth at Rite Aid at least we wouldn't have to worry about toxic meth houses next door.

  5. I hear what you're saying. But the way we attempt to deal with the issue now just makes it worse, and costs a ton of money.

    People who are trying to damage themselves need help and education, and not the education they get in jail. We're turning them into criminals, instead of taxpaying citizens.

    Legalize, tax, regulate and educate.

  6. I don't think drug availability means more abuse. If I felt like it I could have access to lots of nasty drugs (it's not very hard as you can see by how many people are complaining about drug deals in our neighborhood). But I got tired of drugs about 20 years ago and have not done them since. I think the drugs *are* readily available. And prohibition shows that alcohol abuse did not stop just because it was illegal. I think having drugs be illegal gives the illusion they aren't available, but they are still right here all around us. Still, I have a hard time picturing crack and meth as legal. Then instead of dealers who hang out on the street corner we'd have big drug companies advertising it in all our magazines. I don't think I need to see ads for meth right next to ads for antidepressants in magazines. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

  7. I picture the legalization and taxation model as more in line with how cigarettes are marketed now days, with strict limits on where they can be advertised and with warnings that must accompany them.

    The whole “Reefer Madness” approach to intoxicant education ruined the government's reputation as a source of accurate information on the topic. I'd like to see the focus be on the reality of various drug effects. The health department should be in charge, not the corrections department.

  8. There is data to back that up. Even if one does become addicted to it.

    Heroin is one of the drugs that people can use and still maintain careers. Which is not to say that I'd recommend it, just that the mainstream impression of what a heroin user looks like is skewed towards the homeless teenage junkie with multiple other problems.

    Good article here:

  9. I've seen high-functioning drug addicts before. But that's the point–they are ADDICTS.

    although I've never tried heroin, it's well known to be highly addictive. that's the part of ballardmom's comment I find to be silly—I don't know anyone who uses heroin lightly or recreationally. Everyone I've seen use it is an addict (some higher functioning in society than others).

  10. These signs solve nothing and make their neighborhoods look horrible. If I saw one of these signs, I would think that this is a drug neighborhood and it is out of control to the point that residents have to post personal signs.

    Not very smart by the homeowners of these neighborhoods.

    I will be sure to stay away from 60th – 11th, and 70th – 9th. Sounds like drug areas to me.

  11. Having read your comment numerous times about not reporting obvious drug deals, I can tell you it's a complete waste of time. Save yourself the frustration and don't comment on this blog unless you have something important to add.

  12. The point of a sign is to let users and dealers know they're being watched. Once the illegal activity moves elsewhere, the signs can come down. The smart thing for these guys would be to move to the street in front of your house.

  13. I think these signs are great. If you have ever had these types of problems in your neighborhood, you become quite desperate to end them. And, I agree, the police aren't as big of a asset as they could be. But, by posting a sign, it tells the drug dealers that you aren't just sitting and enjoying them taking over your neighborhood, you are in fact being observant and watching them, recording license plates, etc. Drug dealers don't want that type of attention. These signs aren't just for the residents, they are for the drug dealers too!
    We had some drug activity on our block as well. The house was being rented where the activity was taking place. We called the lead officer at the N. Precinct, we called the police, and I also talked directly with the lead officer in the narcotics unit. I was asked to record activity, and inform the officer. Then they were going to send out some undercover officers to the location during those peak times.
    Eventually, the homeowners were concerned enough with what was going on, and decided to move back, the guy moved and so did the drug deals.
    Concerned residents will not sit idle, letting people like this disrupt their neighborhood. Kudos to these people taking action!

  14. I totally agree! Yes, the signs may be tacky, not look that nice, but they are short term. Who really cares about that when there is that type of activity happening in the area. That is just one more step neighbors can take to help the entire community become aware and show the dealers/buyers that “people are watching”. Nice work!

  15. Just because availability doesn't affect your behavior doesn't mean it won't affect others. You're not an impressionable teenager any more. I think that if drugs were as easy to obtain as candy then I would have seen a lot more use among my peers as a teenager and young adult. Drugs are easy to find if you're looking, but I rarely came across them casually at that age and it probably kept me out of trouble.

  16. I would agree with some decriminalization of drugs, but what's being lost in this debate is that drug abuse is not a victimless crime. Abusers and traffickers do have a tangible negative impact on their communities. Education and rehabilitation should be part of the equation, but sometimes criminal prosecution is warranted.

    The “war on drugs” has created it's own problems, but abusers and traffickers are ultimately to blame.

  17. I realize legalized drugs is one of the most pressing issues facing many Seattleites, but I don't expect the people dealing with this cr*p in their neighborhoods to start chasing those windmills.

  18. Hi- I live in Fremont. A few years ago we had obvious drug deals starting on our street- a car would park, driver would stay in, and in a few minutes another car would park, people would get out and 'shake hands' with driver #1- lather, rinse repeat. Us neighbors got together and in addition to calling the precinct each and every time, we also went out to the sidewalk and ostentatiously wrote down make, model and license number, and most of us snapped pix too. We would then stand and stare. This was from a few doors down. We never approached or confronted in any way.
    The dealers were never alone for long and we noticed more police car patrols too. In less than 3 weeks they were totally gone and never came back.
    Of course we know they moved on somewhere else to become some other street's problem. Likely they move along as needed and it's just usual to them. I don't know the answer to that. But making it uncomfortable as possible for them works. We were fortunate in having a number of people in the block who were stay at homes, retired, working odd shifts, etc. and able to blanket the street with eyes (there's a mental picture) 24/7. It might be worth getting some people to take some days off to get a solid observation week going on your block if you have a problem. It does work.

    As a side benefit, we kept watching more after that and got to know each other better, and car prowls went down.

  19. I sympathize but what is the honest alternative to legalization? Have cops chase the druggies to another neighborhood, or bust them and leave the market open for less competent dealers?
    If we are going to have drug dealing we want safe, stable dealers. Those twitchy marginal types are much more dangerous.
    And more dealers means more competition and cheaper drugs. Cheaper drugs means jobless junkies need to steal less money and hence fewer crimes against honest citizens.
    So we can A: pressure the idiots we voted for to just legalize all drugs or
    B: turn a blind eye to drug activity hoping a semi-safe market will evolve or
    C: ramp up the drug war

  20. So let me get this straight, if your street became an open air drug market, and your kids were exposed to this, your first action would be to start a legalize drugs petition rather than call the cops? I hope you don't live on my street.

  21. So you choose option C.
    Of course, if I do live on your street my starting a petition in no way stops you from calling the cops.
    Or from you signing that petition.

  22. Mom, Heroin? Really? I'd think we'd want to keep the more addictive drugs firmly in the health danger category and work on keeping people off them, as well as helping people into recovery.
    I don't see a problem in decriminalizing marijuana, and I prefer it goes the full step to being legal, though I would like to see some controls on it. I'm not a pot smoker, and I wouldn't encourage kids to try it, but I don't see the harm in adults getting high at home or in an Amsterdam style hash bar.

  23. That is great to hear that it worked! Inspiration for those willing to stand up for their neighborhood and not affraid to reach out and meet others.

  24. Ultimately, there is no good solution. Either we make drugs more readily available and deal with an increase in the number of addicts and related problems, or we fight our drug war, spend tons of money and toss a bunch of non-violent offenders in jail. We may be able to reduce drug abuse through education, but it will always be fairly common.

    I don't think that either option is very appealing. I would support legalizing pot, but probably nothing else. Ultimately I blame users for creating this untenable situation.

    I think that users want safe, stable dealers. I couldn't care less if its dangerous to buy drugs. That sounds like a good deterrent to me. The idea that cheaper drugs = less property crime sounds pretty simplistic to me.

  25. Walt mused: “And more dealers means more competition and cheaper drugs.”

    Unfortunately we're not talking taco stands here. What happens in the drug market is two things, first the dealers try to expand their customer base like any good business. “Hey kid, try this. The first one's always free, and tell your friends.” the second is that since we're dealing with criminals they will tend to act like criminals…this is where you see the tagging, beatings, shootings, etc.

  26. I was on the receiving end of a “neighborhood watch” last month.

    I just pulled away from my house approximately 7:30am when I received a text message. Being the law-abiding citizen that I am (wink wink), I pulled over a few blocks away near 70th & 8th . In the less than 2 minutes it took me to read the text and reply, I saw four people take a long look at me and into my car as they walked/jogged/scooted by. I'm sure I don't look like the average drug dealer or buyer, but it was pretty obvious the neighbors noticed I was there. And I, for one, am glad that they did.

  27. Supply and demand colors all transactions, even those involving tacos and meth.
    However I don't agree that there is an inflexible supply of criminals.

  28. Where I grew up drugs were everywhere as a teen. I hear it's the same way now. That's where the term “pusher” comes from – asking kids “don't you want to try this?” I didn't have to look at all as a teen, they were right there being offered in the school hallway, at parties, at football games, at church camp. I know a lot of people who had the same experience and said no thanks so it wasn't for lack of availability for them, it was a personal choice to not damage their health on something that was not what it was cracked up to be (no pun intended). I think if we weren't in the city it might be different, but from what I hear from teens, you don't even have to ask anyone to know where to get drugs at the local high schools.

  29. Seriously, heroin is not that addictive assuming a person is not doing it every day. It is physically more addictive than marijauna, but no more addictive than the opiate pain medicine one gets after surgery. After a C-section I was on vicodin for three weeks and was not at all physically addicted to it. The big danger with heroin is that most users inject it intravenously and that is extremely dangerous. I have to give myself intramuscular injections of medication every week for a chronic illness I have, but I would not try to give myself an injection in my vein because it is not something one should every try if they don't know what they are doing. I know plenty of people who have used heroin here and there and not been addicted to it.

    I'm not saying I want my kids doing heroin, but then I also don't want them smoking pot and taking acid either. That's just my personal preference though. I know plenty of parents who are ok with their teens occasionally taking acid or occasionally smoking pot.

  30. Mom, I hate to break it to you but heroin is very addictive. Oh, but nothing is addictive if you don't do it everyday? what? If you're doing it every day you are addicted!
    In real practice the number of people who “try” heroin are in a position to “try” it again, and then soon become addicts. They may be functioning addicts, but they are still very much addicts. The numbers of people who try heroin and don't wind up in a heavy use situation is much smaller than most of the recreational drug users. We should stop with the nonsense and understand that some drugs are very addictive, heroin, crack, meth among the most obvious.
    Marijuana is not addictive per se, but it can be habit forming as is drinking coffee.

  31. Even if you want to look at this as though we live in an economics 101 textbook, we must realize that suppliers can increase the demand with new customers. They can also decrease the number of suppliers through violence. Neither solution is one I'd like to see.

  32. If that was you in a Ford Focus you did look a little sketchy.

    Just kidding. I know that block and there is a block watch there after some car prowls a couple years back.

  33. LOL. Hey! I first thought it was my beguiling beauty they were staring at… I was looking particularly fetching that morning in my wrinkled old pilly college sweatshirt.

  34. Do you have issues with addiction if the thing you are addicted to is a) legal, b) easily available and c) not harmful?

    Is it the idea of addiction you don't like?

    Say I was addicted to sleep, for instance. I'm not saying that I am, mind you. This is purely hypothetical…

  35. I'm addicted to breathing? Come on, that's just as silly.
    Do we really want to get in to parsing habits vs addictions?
    Addictions are problematic because they are just that, addictions, and not easily broken. When your body or mind must have something and crave it over all other things and impact your rational processes, it's an obvious problem.
    We see the near dead zombies that shuffle around from fix to fix and yes I would still have a problem with being in that state even if it wasn't breaking any laws. I have a problem with frat boys and drunken bums pissing in the doorway and leaving empties all over the sidewalk, even if they aren't technically alcoholics.
    In both cases it's the impacts of the choices that the rest of us have to deal with as well as the health impacts on the addicts, so yes I guess it is the idea of addiction that is the problem, but I don't see how any of these aren't harmful.

  36. Heroine is extremely addicitve. The problem is that most people who do it do, in fact, end up doing it every day. Sometimes sooner than later but, almost inevitably, it happens. Couple that with the rapid onset of tolerance, the ease of overdose and the horrid withdrawal effects, and I think you have a real problem on your hands. I speak from personal experience having grown up in Baltimore city with plenty of fist and second hand experience. Don't fool yourself.

    I agree that NO form of prohibition will ever work. Still, ultra addictive drugs and drugs with severe withdrawal (drugs like heroine, crack, meth and GHB) require some serious consideration and some serious regulation before they can ever be considered for legalization.

  37. Actually, from my pot smoking friends in LA, they report far less issue, even usage, now that it's practically legal there. Apparently, the mistique wears off.

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