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Mayor responds to Pike/Pine crime concerns: more patrols, more investigation, ‘community policing’ plan

CHS found these officers on foot patrol last year in Pike/Pine. Will we see more in 2014? (Image: CHS)

CHS found these officers on foot patrol last year in Pike/Pine. Will we see more in 2014? (Image: CHS)

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:

Hello –

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.

A summer 2013 shooting on 10th Ave left a 19-year-old dead (Image: CHS)

A summer 2013 shooting on 10th Ave left a 19-year-old dead (Image: CHS)

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 fallNajib 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.

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23 thoughts on “Mayor responds to Pike/Pine crime concerns: more patrols, more investigation, ‘community policing’ plan

  1. Seattle PD thinks its a priority to send undercover officers to the Seahawks game to potentially find rowdy fans harassing Packers fans. These officers should be on Pike/Pine instead dealing with crime. SPD priorities are all wrong.

    • My thoughts exactly. Instead of SPD wearing Packers gear in an attempt to spark unruly rivalry they should go out solo, in street clothes holding an iPhone at 3am along Pike/Pine & Harvard/11th.

    • I definitely agree that they should beef up services in the Pike/Pine but make no mistake, the work undercover at the games can be just as important in controlling another group of people that have been known to create difficulty and havoc for residents of the city. Groups of people with heightened excitement and alcohol can do terrible things to, and plenty of experience backs that up.

  2. …and meanwhile in the East Precinct, in the forgotten CD where we have gangs shooting the place up and killing people, we get nothing. Actually, I’m sure we get less than nothing as the increased police patrols on Cap Hill certainly come at the cost of patrols and investigations in the CD. We have bullet holes and body bags which culminate in some trimmed trees, a few led bulbs for streetlights, and a single visit from the mayor for a photo op.

    • Far more resources are expended policing the CD than Cap Hill–take a look at the real time 911 log to see how many more units are responding in the CD on any given night. It’s largely the same group of people committing the crimes in both places, but the cops will do more to investigate incidents on the hill because victims and witnesses are more willing to talk to the cops and they have a better chance of getting a conviction. Which ultimately does serve the CD.

      • There is no doubt that there are more 911 calls coming out of the CD/Judkins Parks/Leschi/Madrona area. The problem is that the police don’t respond to those calls. Having lived on both Capitol Hill and in the above mentioned area, I know from personal experience that nice neighborhoods get all of the service while the others get what Chris accurately described as “less than nothing.” Even in Leschi and Madrona, the level of police response is based on whether you live east or west of 34th Ave.

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    • Mayor Murray, in his letter, says that the increased foot/bike/car patrols will begin “immediately,” so if that’s not a specific action I don’t know what is. Your opinion of him as “worthless” is definitely in the minority.

      • I dont understand how you determined that opinion is in the minority. It may well be, but you seem to tie it to his written response somehow. I have personally written to the mayors office about a few issues and still have not received any responses back from his staff. Not exactly a responsive administration in my opinion. And frankly, he is simply another McGinn with a nicer disposition in my view. Rather than participating in social engineering, I would prefer my mayor keep the streets safe and fix the streets.

      • Please give the Mayor a break….he has only been in office for 8 months….a little too soon to pronounce him “worthless.” And if you want the streets safer (we all do), then his letter about policing on Capitol Hill is a step in the right direction.

      • My question for you, again is how does the fact that he replied to the letter mean that the minority of people find him worthless? You assert that, and I challenge how it is you know that. Instead, your response is to implore me to “give the Mayor a break” because he has only been in office for eight months, which time has mostly been spent on social engineering issues such as raising a local minim wage so that social service agencies cannot operate in Seattle. He certainly had plenty of time to pander at those demonstrations. It is not as though the city hasn’t known about these issues in the Pike/Pine. They go as far back as the previous Mayor. How long DO you give before someone makes a comprehensive plan to address a major public safety concern?

      • I’m just going on personal experience, which admittedly can be misleading. There would have to be a “job approval” poll to confirm my impression, and as far as I know there has not yet been one.

        Obviously you disagree with the Mayor’s “social engineering,” and that’s your right, and you are miffed that you didn’t get a personal response from his staff. But these things don’t make him “worthless.” He is doing what he can about crime in Pike-Pine, and I think he deserves credit for that.

      • Oh, the naïveté! Firstly, we don’t hire mayors to rewrite social policy. We hire then to run the damn city and fix things while working to expand the opportunities with business and maintain public infrastructure . Secondly, them shot FIRST responded to this well known issue of three years going only when the issue hit the news. Prior to that, he was unresponsive.

        That is why the letter went to the public. Seriously, you aren’t paying attention apparently .

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  5. My experience with the mayor’s office has been positive both to my initial concern and the subsequent tracking of the resolution of the problem. This new mayor has a long public record of result driven leadership. And I might point out that the crime problems must be solved by improved community involved policing AND long term by community driven social changes which may be what you “call social engineering”

    • Mor original issue and reason for commuting was to question the logic trail of Calhoun who seems to assert that by virtue of the mayor (finally) responding to these issues that this means that most people don’t find him worthless. Having said that, I am not sure what exactly you are trying to articulate or what your idea of “community drive social changes” is. My main issue with this mayor is that I have written emails without responses (other than the automated response that says they will review and get back to me) and I had an issue when he first came into office and made it his priority to attend picket lines for the $15.00 minimum wage. That IS social engineering and it is divisive. It also wasn’t very well thought out and very well may mean that the city loses some business or it just becomes even more expensive. Whether or not I think he is worthless is yet to be determined.

      • I appreciate your clarification and I share your concern on the minimum wage issue. I was reactive to social engineering not as the mayor involving himself in addressing issue that have to due education, quality of life et. I meant community driven in that we the people must bring out significant changes in how we educate our youth, care for the mentally ill, house the disadvantage, how we train our police and so on. The mayor has a responsibility to raise our awareness, hear our concerns and bring together citizen groups to help met the challenge and I hope believe that our mayor will do that. Time will tell. What say you Mr, Mayor?

      • Then we share the same attitude on this. It is the mayor’s job to hear everyone and let everyone have a place at the table and ultimately address the issues comprehensively. I want to see our homeless given proper mental health services and I want to see approaches that make it more attractive to join society than not. I actually operate a social service agency that served disabled and mentally ill people through DSHS contracts. We also provide direct service. Unfortunately, because of the wage benchmark that DSHS has given to agencies of our type, we can no longer afford to operate in the city as the DSHS benchmark doesn’t provide enough to pay for the new minimum wage in Seattle. This is an example of over simplistic social engineering without weighing all the consequences. The term “pandering” come to mind. I am hopeful that this will not continue and that good governance will be the priority. We have already had too many years of bad mayorship.

  6. And sorry for my bad proof reading of my posts. I am usually filling in between other email when I respond to these and it is a horrible habit to hit the “send” button before a thorough review. I tend to type and talk to other people.

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