Crime prevention advice – call 911

More than 30 people gathered at the Ballard Community Center on Thursday evening to talk about crime in our neighborhood.

Seattle Police Community Outreach Officer Scott McGlashan, SPDs Crime Prevention Coordinator Terrie Johnston, Chris Easterday from the Ballard Community Center and Ballard District Coordinator Rob Mattson were all on hand to answer questions and offer advice at the crime prevention meeting.

The theme throughout the evening was homelessness and public drunkeness by the homeless and neighborhood kids, with some brief discussion about graffiti and theft at a grocery store. The representatives from Seattle Police kept saying the same thing – call 911. “We do have a non-emergency number, but I don’t recommend that,” Johnston said. “It’s not very friendly.“ She added that the non-emergency calls are routed to the same phone bank that handles 911 calls.

Members of the audience and the panel agreed that people don’t like to tie up the 911 line for minor crimes. Johnston reminded the group that 911 is not just for life and death situations, like many people were raised to believe. “We don’t even try to define what an emergency is,” Johnston said and encouraged people once again to call 911. “If you didn’t report it, it didn’t happen.”

If police aren’t responding after 911 is called, it could be that all ten (or so) officers that cover our area are on other calls. “It’s not first come, first served with 911. There is a prioritization,” Johnston explained. One piece of advice the SPD contingent gave to residents who don’t feel their calls are being taken seriously – get together with your neighbors and all call 911 at the same time with the same complaint. The more calls the phone bank gets, it may move the call up the list of priorities.

While public nuisance issues lead the discussion, there was talk about people loitering in the shadows of Adams Elementary, the Ballard Community Center and someone’s business. Johnston said that she will come to a residence or business and do a survey of the property. She’ll offer advice on how to make the property less attractive to people to hide. You can get Johnston’s contact information here.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

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