Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has responded with promises of increased patrols, “additional activity” from detectives, and a broader “community policing” plan from East Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis to a call from Pike/Pine business owners to address concerns over gang-driven street violence and robberies in the neighborhood.
The email response from the mayor’s office is below.
An email from Neumos and Lost Lake partner Jason Lajeunesse detailed concerns about groups of young males seemingly targeting patrons and staff in the Pike/Pine nightlife district. Earlier in the month, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to City Hall warning officials of the return of an annual late-summer street crime wave and asking for increased patrols. Police have said they are investigating more than 20 Capitol Hill street robberies:
Police believe two or three groups of suspects have been targeting nightlife patrons near Broadway and Pike and around Cal Anderson Park in 22 different robberies. The string of robberies began around August 9th, and have occurred between 11:30 PM and 4 AM, primarily between the hours of midnight and 2 AM. In many of the cases, suspects stole cellphones and wallets from their victims, sometimes after attacking them or holding them at gunpoint. Detectives don’t currently believe the groups are working together.
CHS reported August tallied more reported Capitol Hill robberies than any other month in SPD’s records as. Injuries have been mostly limited to scratches and bruises but one victim was nearly killed early in the month when he was grazed by a gunshot. Last week, thieves threatened to shoot a DJ as they robbed the victim of more than $3,000 in gear.
In his response, Murray said there will be a meeting held Friday at the 12th and Pine East Precinct headquarters involving SPD brass and area business representatives.
Murray says Capt. Davis is also preparing to announce details of a broader plan to address the recurring issues:
Thank you for expressing your concerns about recent threats to public safety in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Please be assured that Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, East Precinct Captain Pierre Davis and I all share your concerns, and take them very seriously. The Seattle Police Department is pursuing short term and long term strategies to address the problems you identified in your letter.
As short term strategy, Captain Davis is significantly increasing uniform patrols – bike, foot and car – in the neighborhood, using timely and accurate data to focus on areas of greatest concern. Captain Davis has also directed an increase in additional activity from detectives, the gang unit and other citywide resources to bolster overall patrol efforts. You can expect to see more police visibility immediately.
As a long term strategy, in the next several weeks Captain Davis will also share the community policing plans he has developed with input and recommendations from community leaders and police officers in the field for all neighborhoods in the East Precinct, including Capitol Hill. We will be sure you hear directly from Captain Davis when these plans are finalized. These plans – and their emphasis on community-based problem solving – are part of a larger effort under way to transform our police department, reconnect officers with the communities they serve, create and build partnerships between officers and community members, and respond to the specific needs and circumstances of each of the unique neighborhoods of our city.
Lastly, as you likely know, Captain Davis will be meeting directly with Capitol Hill business owners and the Chamber at noon on Friday, September 5th at the East Precinct. My staff will attend, as will members of SPD command staff. I encourage you to attend and stay involved in our collective, ongoing efforts to keep our communities safe.
Thank you again for reaching out to me on this important issue.
Mayor Edward B. Murray
One source for the community plan, officials have said, will be the monthly East Precinct Advisory Committee meetings. Here are recent CHS community posts from the group about its meetings which tend to focus on greater East Precinct issues beyond the Pike/Pine entertainment core.
The situation in Pike/Pine came to a head following an alleged assault last Friday inside 10th Ave’s Lost Lake owned by Lajeunesse and Dave Meinert. According to the SPD report on the assault, the suspect and another male were inside the diner “causing a disturbance” and being “verbally aggressive” with staff and had pushed an employee “in the face.” Police say they found less than 0.2 grams of meth on the 25-year-old taken into custody in that incident and he was booked into county jail for investigation of drug possession. He has yet to be charged with a crime in the case and was released from jail.
The incidents of violence — especially in summer months — aren’t new. And some have been deadly. In July 2013, a mysterious situation ended with a young man shot dead in the street on 10th Ave. CHS is not aware of any charges having been filed in the incident in which one person taken into custody said the shooting had been an accident.
Meanwhile, three young men charged in a string of summer 2013 robberies near Cal Anderson pleaded not guilty to the crimes that fall. Najib Aden, 21 at the time, eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced this April to four years in jail. Hassan Abdirizak, 19 that summer, was hit with a five and a half year sentence. Accomplice Abdulkadir Ahmed, the oldest of the bunch at 22 that July, also pleaded guilty and will serve a five and a half year sentence.
2013 trends showed Capitol Hill area showed a rise in robberies in burglaries across the area while assaults held steady. The FBI says violent crime in the city as a whole rose in its most recent 2012 dataset. 2013 data should be available later this month.