The Cal Anderson sprinkler solution

Cops on patrol in 2011 -- Cal Anderson has been here before (Image: CHS)

Cops on patrol in 2011 — Cal Anderson has been here before (Image: CHS)

Since we first broke the news of new Cal Anderson Park rangers to help patrol the public space, CHS commenters have been weighing in on the proposed solutions including the rangers and increased SPD foot, bike and, yes, horse, presence in the park. Believe it or not, one rather dastardly solution brought up in the comments has been tried in the past to help clear the area of overnight activities. The Cal Anderson sprinkler solution reminds that we’ve been through this situation before with the park — recently, in fact:

If they randomly ran the lawn sprinklers overnight, that would be quietly effective….

An East Precinct representative told CHS in 2011 that Seattle Parks would be doing just that when the area went through a similar outcry to Mayor Mike McGinn about safety issues in the park. Parks denied that any such request had been discussed — and, after CHS asked about it, said it was technically not possible:

It is a state of the art computerized irrigation system installed in many parks. It measures how much water is needed at any given time and turns the irrigation sprinklers on and off at precise times, saving thousands of gallons of water per park each year. It operates only at night when the park is closed. The times are not predicable because of the sensors.

The Cal Anderson sprinkler solution was raised in 2011 after a Capitol Hill mother’s tweets about drug use and threatening behavior caught the attention of City Hall. The mayor’s office quickly responded with a call for increased patrols and more to help address the complaints. Following a tour of the park by the mayor and local representatives, overgrown foliage and benches were removed from certain hangout spots in the park to make the area easier to patrol and a more difficult place to camp.

This time around, there has again been a marked increase in trespass activity and parks exclusions issued by SPD, according to the East Precinct’s incident logs. Campers have been forced, more and more, to find other places to sleep with empty businesses and doorways to nighttime venues and bars distributing the population that had been centralized at the park.

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16 thoughts on “The Cal Anderson sprinkler solution

  1. Yes, let us spend our tax dollars on watering lawns of the park while it is most likely already raining. Brilliant!

    Those up to no good or camping are probably not afraid to get wet but I bet they’re afraid to have a light cast on them. Put SPD on bikes with LED spot lights.

    • “It is a state of the art computerized irrigation system installed in many parks. It measures how much water is needed at any given time and turns the irrigation sprinklers on and off at precise times, saving thousands of gallons of water per park each year. It operates only at night when the park is closed. The times are not predicable because of the sensors.”

      I’m gonna go out on a limb here and speculate the sensors can probably tell when it’s raining. Ya think?

      • Of course they can (or should) but that is not the point that is being made. The proposed “solution” to crime is to run the sprinklers regardless if it’s raining or not as a way to displace those that are up to no good.

        My point is rather than wasting precious resources, dollars and “turn our heads and flip on the sprinklers” is to face it in the eye.

        Casting a light (literally) on those that are intent on causing harm allows SPD to begin to recognize patterns and habitual offenders to go after. Additionally, their presence helps the general public feel better protected and like they’re actually doing something other than turning on the sprinklers.

  2. Unless these rangers patrol between the hours of dusk to dawn (what would that equate to? 8pm to 6am, approximately?), how can this be a solution? And they ought to be armed, if only for their own protection, nevermind defending the general public.

    Gad, why doesn’t the City simply hire a professional dog handler with a trained dog if they are so determined to be politically correct in refraining from allowing guns in parks? The criminals certainly seem to be well-armed and a snarling dog prepared to attack would stop anybody. Only drawback would be that I wouldn’t like to see a dog injured by some Cal Anderson druggee.

    • Oops! I think I posted this under the wrong CA article but I still think dogs would work better than rangers or sprinklers or any other solution that has been proposed to date.

  3. Ha….The sprinkler idea was my post in the other thread, and it was meant entirely tongue-in-cheek; I had no idea that this was actually something anyone remotely official had ever mentioned AS a solution in past years! It came to my mind only because when I run through Cal Anderson early in the morning and the grass is sopping wet, it’s very, very quiet.

    If that’s the best idea anyone has, then we’re in trouble….

  4. I hope it’s true that the SPD is intervening more and more at Cal Anderson, issuing trespass warnings, and getting the lowlifes to move along when the park is closed. If they are just being moved to camp in the doorways of nearby businesses, this isn’t a great improvement. I am always surprised that business owners don’t call SPD when someone is camping on their property…911 will only take a report from the owner, not from some citizen/passerby…..and wish they would do this more often.

    Most of the time, there are plenty of shelter beds for those who are camping at Cal Anderson, but they are too lazy to seek them out….and, of course, then they couldn’t drink/drug, could they?

  5. I still say cameras would deter, if not, at least capture the crime. Sure, the camera may capture me making out with my girlfriend and some sicko may post it on YouTube; but I think the chances of that happening are far less than the camera deterring crimes.