10/15/2014 at 1:21 pm #74315
Not sure about what the rules are for these things, but my neighbor just had a break-in during the middle of the day on 10/14 (Tuesday). I don’t want to be too specific, but it was in the area bounded by Market, 8th, 15th, and 65th.
I was home for a good portion of the day, and noticed a black car parked the wrong way (pointing north on the west side of the street) with temporary tags. I passed this on to my neighbor, who passed it along to the responding officer. She got the feeling that the police get so many of these that they rarely follow up, even with a reliable lead, and nobody from the department has contacted me.
I’m posting this partly in hopes that someone saw the same thing that I did and can confirm my account, and partly out of frustration that the one thing the police are actually supposed to be doing (investigating* crimes) is given a low priority.
* Many people believe that the function of the police is to prevent crime, but more often than not, they are not present when a crime is committed, so investigating crimes becomes the real job. I’m wondering just exactly what we are paying the police department to do if neither of these things happens with regularity.10/15/2014 at 3:31 pm #74318
Welcome to the jungle. SPD recently released a memo called emerging issues. According to that document, the north precinct has two detectives and an on-loan patrol officer to work the burglary and theft unit. At some point in the past it was staffed with 14 detectives.
“The memo goes on to state that the North burglary and theft unit cannot function at previous levels or conduct proactive operations”
Other nuggets are that the city’s police force is the same size it was in the 70s.10/15/2014 at 3:45 pm #74319
Yes, Seattle has a much smaller police force than most other similarly-sized American cities. About 5 years ago, alarmed at the rising rate of crime in the city, the City Council and Mayor (Nickels, I think) agreed to train and hire more officers every year for a number of years to boost the officer count. This initiative was canceled after a few years in order to use money for other City uses; I’m not sure if the current Mayor/Council are planning on re-instituting it, but budget time is here, so if you care about this, contact all Council members and ask them to re-institute the hiring program.
Having now read eDogs’s link, it seems that the Mayor is indeed moving forward with a similar program.10/15/2014 at 9:42 pm #74323
Chris – from what I can understand SPD is understaffed and can’t work on all the crimes that are happening. One thing SPD just did is to start using the web site Nextdoor. You can sign up here:
And they just posted this message but you have to create an account and log in to read it.
Actually Nextdoor might be a better place to post the info you posted.10/15/2014 at 10:39 pm #74325
Thanks for that. I was dimly aware of the existence of NextDoor, and immediately suspicious of anything that I am getting for free (If I’m not paying for the product, then I am the product), but as these things go, the tradeoff seems to be worth it.
Different avatar picture there, but it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out my user name.10/16/2014 at 12:09 am #74326
There are two reasons to call 911. One is to deal with the crime du jour. The other is to log it so the police can see which neighborhoods need more attention (or, really, so the police can justify added resources to the bean counters)
As frustrating as it is when something isn’t followed up on as we’d like, there is still a paying it forward aspect that is working – and might help hire some more cops.10/16/2014 at 1:55 pm #74353
Aside from being understaffed, the north precinct is HUGE. The station is located up by NSCC, so if there’s a call, it can take 20+ minutes to get here. And yes, there are patrols… patrolling the entire north seattle area so they may or may not be in Ballard when a call comes in. Yes, there’s supposed to be someone assigned here, but we all know “supposed to”s. And that’s one LEO in one car. If two are needed for domestic (required) or other situation, the other office coming from another neighborhood has to be waited for. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a police car in Ballard in the last 5 years, excluding Sittende Mai.
Chris, you are absolutely correct about police investigating crime and not preventing it. In fact, the motto “to serve and protect” is just that – a nice sounding motto. It has been proven several times in court that the police are NOT legally obligated to prevent a crime, even if they know when and where it will occur.10/16/2014 at 2:45 pm #74385
Phoo – you need to spend more time up here on Sunset hill by the entrance to Golden Gardens, I see at least 4-5 police cars a day go by, heck one day there even were 30+ bicycle cops outside the Cafee Fiore.
and just wait until the move the North precinct to over by 130th & Aurora, it will take longer to get here I’m sure10/16/2014 at 6:39 pm #74415
It’s not like all the cops are just hanging out at the precinct waiting for 911 calls to come in. They’re out on patrol. Moving the precinct should affect response times. Changing patrol routes would do that.
Phoo, you make it sound like the police are disinterested in preventing crimes, and are glad to be legally protected in that regard. I assume that is not your point.
It is true a lot of police work is reactionary. But a fair amount of it is preventative. I’m involved in that through community meetings and the like (and encourage everyone to be), and am pleased with what I see (within the constraints of their budget). Could it be better? Oh, yes. But with the tools they have, I think they’re doing a pretty good job.10/16/2014 at 9:52 pm #74417
Life is amazingParticipant
So we keep putting money into new parks but not into a good police force?
It is so weird to me. When you put together your household budget you prioritize. Food and mortgage/rent comes before travel.
I don’t know what our budget is or why, I don’t know how they prioritize. It would be really interesting to actually look at where all the money goes in Seattle’s budget.10/17/2014 at 2:21 pm #74424
GAM: I don’t think I can characterize how eager or not SPD LEOs are to prevent crime. Since I moved to Seattle in 2007, I have had to call the police 3-4 times. 2 of those times was for a police officer to show up and they did not. I don’t think they could prevent crime since they are often unable (for whatever reason) to show up in a timely manner (“timely” defined as appropriate to the request) to a call. I think there are a great deal of issues with Seattle’s whole LE system (including 911 operators), so I am not hanging this on the officers.
I was indeed speaking of a strictly legal ruling that a police force is not obligated to prevent crime. What I think is really interesting is originally, the UK’s police force was ONLY allowed to prevent crime, rather than to investigate. The population was concerned about the police poking their noses into their lives.
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