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Meeting with Joseph Elenbaas, Crime Prevention Officer

We had a small but lively and informative February meeting with our local Crime Prevention Officer, Joseph Elenbaas. He has been in this position for 18 months now and comfortably answered our questions. He described his position, listing the many meetings he attends in an effort to increase communication among various administrative and local groups. He is responsible for helping to form block watches and told us there are two new areas in Leschi that are interested in forming a block watch.

Joseph will do security assessments for prospective block watch participants and actually anyone who requests one through email at Each assessment lasts about 90 minutes (depending on size of house); he checks all doors and windows as well as outside vegetation. He said most doors are kicked in by burglars and there are things one can do to strengthen their doors.

The difference between SPD numbers on various crimes can probably be attributed to lack of report. Joseph told us that reporting on NextDoor Leschi is NOT a police report. SPD can post events on NextDoor but cannot read the contents. He did assure us that the home photos of the act of stealing packages can result in arrests and convictions. SPD links similar photos and when stolen property reaches a total of $1000, it is seen as a felony and is easier to get a conviction. If one is concerned about calling 911 as a stolen package is not exactly an emergency, he recommended calling the non-emergency number: 206.625.1511. Filing a report gives you a case number for the incident.

One submitted question concerned how to request a “wellness check”; we were advised to call 911 and know the location and give specifics which concern you. This could be a case of a neighbor who is not answering the door or the telephone and has not been seen in a while.

Another question was about Personal Safety Workshops. Joseph said that there is one at the East Precinct in March and he is currently trying to find a date at the Senior Center. These programs are designed for women, but not exclusive. Anyone can attend. Information about meetings can be found on NextDoor and on Eventbrite or better yet, get a list of the planned meetings by emailing. Get a list of the planned meetings by emailing She coordinates and leads these workshops.

This year’s data so far shows 50 calls for drive-bys in our precinct, 14 traffic stops, a slight increase in crimes against persons (i.e. plus 1) and a slight decrease in crimes against property.

When calling 911 to report something, you will need to specify location; if you can’t see a street sign, the number on the closest light pole works. SPD can use that to determine the location. Try to have a complete description of the suspicious person; Joseph said that jackets can be ditched but shoes are NOT! Facial hair, earrings, tattoos are important characteristics to report.

Our sector in the East Precinct is the George sector and our neighborhood officer is actually Officer George (Corey George). Joseph recommended the Find it/Fix it app for reporting concerns. You can actually use this app to report encampments in our parks. He also said that if you would like a car club, you can obtain one free by calling the East Precinct. He recommended signing up for SMART911 as cell phones are not linked to an address without this extra step. More about his program next month.

Attendees were able to share some of their personal experiences and we learned some details about recent incidents which would make us more successful criminals if we were so inclined and we will not repeat that information here but it was entertaining! Sorry you missed it!

~Diane Snell

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