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Crime meetings moving closer to Hill: SPD reports no progress on roving gang that beat man

Corrected version: Due to an editing error, some statements in this report were mistakenly attributed to crime prevention coordinator Mark Solomon that should have been attributed to East Precinct commander James Dermody.

The monthly East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition meeting that helps community members from the Hill, Central District, Leschi and other neighborhoods on the grid voice their concerns about crime around their homes and businesses, will be moving to a more Capitol Hill-central location. Details on that move and more CHS notes from Thursday night’s February meeting are below:

  • There has been no progress in identifying who was responsible for a night of violence on Capitol Hill and in the Central District involving a group of thugs who beat a man near 15th and Madison.
  • In an exciting development for Capitol Hill residents, EPCPC meetings will move to the Seattle University Alumni Relations building off 12th Ave. and E Marion St., beginning in April or May. SU has sanctioned a space in that building for community meetings and will be open for public reservations. Currently, meetings are held at the Seattle Vocational Institute at 2120 South Jackson Street in the Central District. March’s meeting will still be at Seattle Vocational Institute. CHS, for one, had advocated for more of these meetings to be held on Capitol Hill so this move should help make it easier for community members from our area to attend.
  • The SPD Crisis Intervention Team, CIT, gave a presentation on the efforts they do in the community with the mentally ill or people in crisis. Currently, 250 to 300 SPD officers have taken the 40-hr certification course for CIT and they are frequently the ones called to the scene when someone is believed to be mentally unstable or a danger to themselves or others. They collaborate with other departments when an individual is taken into custody or put into involuntary commitment and try to ensure that the needs of the community, and individual, are met. When someone needs SPD assistance with a mentally ill person, they can request a CIT officer directly through 911 or contacting their department. SPD officers also encouraged community members to call the Crisis Clinic.
  • East Precinct commander Jim Dermody spoke about the benefits of his program and asked the community for more support. Currently, 3 officers handle three different areas of the precinct. Terri Johnston, who covers the West precinct, Broadway, First Hill, 12th Ave., Yesler Terrace and Eastlake, is the Capitol Hill CPC point person for anyone with community crime concerns. She was not at the meeting last night.

“I have requested overtime hours for these officers to attend these meetings,” said Solomon. “It’s important for them to come to [EPCPC] meetings so they can speak for themselves and meet you.”

Contact Johnston to set up block watches and other community crime prevention acts.

“They can fill the gap [between officers and the community,” said Dermody.

Currently, CPC officers are grant-funded employees. With new budget cuts for this year and more expected in the next, Dermody urged community members present to express their support for the program to City Council. He wants funding for more of these officers and wants to expand their capabilities.

“We are in a critical position,” said Dermody. “And 2011 doesn’t look good budget-wise. We need to justify their position in the community [to the city].”

  • SPD released their city-wide crime statistics for 2009 compared to 2008. CHS will report on that next week with a full neighborhood crime trends report. So stay tuned for that.
  • Car prowls remain a concern in every neighborhood throughout the East Precinct. Officers met with the president of Seattle Central Community College to talk about the spike in break-ins in the SCCC lots.

“These types of crimes are difficult to interdict,” said Dermody.

More units have been dispatched to survey these areas, and SPD reported last night that things are looking “better.” Dermody reported that they have captured their “top ten-ers” and have the main culprits behind the recent wave of car prowls in custody, awaiting trial. 11 of those 13 individuals are juveniles. SPD says they are working with other organizations to make sure their efforts are “more refined in individual cases.”

  • In terms of the “junkie phone” we reported about last month on the corner of Broadway Ave. and E. Thomas St., SPD said they are watching the area very closely.
  • The homicide on the 800 block of James, where a man was shot as he sat in the cab of his truck, still has no new developments.
  • The next meeting is scheduled for March 6 at 6 p.m. at Seattle Vocational Institute. EPCPC has officially decided to change their start times from 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. because they tend to run late. Topics planned include a presentation from city officials on sex offender registration.
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