The meeting called to order by president, Dorothy Beard. Greetings were extended to the members and guests. Each person was asked to give their name, residential area and/or occupation.
HOT SPOTS were presented by Lt. James, Operating Officer at the SW Precinct.
Generally speaking, the crime trend has continued downward with slight up and downs. Every Tuesday Lt. James attends a city/county wide discussion of crime situation county wide. A number of arrests in the Bellevue area have resulted in lower crime rates, Criminals are very mobile and can be driven to another area by increased police presence and community alertness.
Calls to 911 indicates that the most calls concern suspicious persons and disturbance. These are followed by traffic accidents, moving violations and calls to assist the public. Complaints regarding parking violations. For an unknown reason armed robberies have ceased at this time.
Auto theft cases have gone down. Because the King County Prosecutor has made a push to arrest the culprits who seem to be behind most of these crimes and to get longer sentences. To do this the prosecutor bundles all cases attributed to one person and try them together. The combining of the time or each crime makes for longer sentences. Taking these criminals out of circulation makes your car safer.
Car prowls have dropped 20 percent during the past month. Car prowls can be associated with home burglaries. Both seem to be a matter of opportunity. Some helpful hints: DONT LEAVE
ANYTHING IN YOUR CAR INCLUDING THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER. Additionally, lock all the doors to your house even when you are in the yard. Lock your car doors.
A current case involving the burglary of medical billing office and the theft of personal information is being investigated at this time. Lt. James advised that everyone should keep close tabs on credit card charges and bank action. Identity theft is a real possibility in this kind of burglary. Once a thief has your information, they act quickly to steal from your accounts. The Fraud Unit is in charge of identity their cases.
A large number of home burglaries have been committed in Highland Park in recent weeks. Most home robberies occur during daylight hours. In response to this, the department has increased the visibility of officers in neighborhoods and are working with neighborhoods to increase their alertness to suspicious persons or activities. More evidence is being taken from the scenes. Several cases have been solved with DNA evidence.
It is difficult to return stolen items to their proper owners if they can be identified. Keep serial numbers and also mark your electronic items.
A question and answer period followed. Many of the people have been robbed in the past.
PROGRAM: Benjamin Kinlow, SW Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator, presented information regarding the crime prevention program. This was started by the Seattle Police Department in the 1970's. The idea was to encourage citizens to work together with the police to create safer neighborhoods. Seattle Night Out was created at that time. Today these coordinators organize communities into block watch groups with a captain. The coordinator helps the block watch captain with meeting with their neighbors and providing helpful information for having a safe, clean community.
Mr. Kinlow urged people to call 911 whenever they have a problem or feel something is not right. He advised that some operators can try to put you off--Don't back down on the reason you are calling. Be firm in reporting events. He also advised that we be alert to cars just driving through an area. Forty percent burglars enter the home through unlocked and unsecured windows, doors, etc. Forced entry seems to be the occur in areas where neighborhoods are organized. When we make it harder for the criminal to gain entrance into a building, they move on. After a robbery, the neighborhoods are alerted with burglary alert fliers. The fliers contain information about community awareness and the organization of block watch groups. There has been a great response.
Benjamin Kinlow did not speak to this matter, but due to lack of funding crime prevention coordinators may become another thing of the past. It is hoped that people will write to the mayor and the city council to reconsider the budget and try to keep this program and the dedicated workers working with the public. People are urged to write letters and mail them to these officials. They get too many emails.
COMMUNITY CONCERNS: The audience was reminded of our new blog www.wscpc.org where they can read the minutes, make comments and suggestions. We hope to include more information about the community including the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains Network on Facebook.
The issue of two vacant houses on North Delridge. They are located across from Super 24 on the east side of the street. Officer McDaniel said he was unaware of these houses and asked for the information to be sent to him. He will check those house asap.
The meeting was adjourned. THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE TUESDAY, APRIL 20.
Submitted by, Betty Wiberg, Secretary