The LCC hosted a community meeting about public safety on Feb 1. About 35 community members came together. We were joined by the SPD’s Crime Prevention Coordinator, Joseph Elenbaas, two lieutenants from the SPD and King County Council member, Girmay Zahilay. In my opinion, it was encouraging to see a strong community turnout and solid support from the SPD and one of our elected officials. And one of the clear takeaways is that this is not a “one and done” issue and it needs more attention and engagement.
The SPD shared statistics about the crime rates in Leschi compared to our surrounding neighborhoods. Ranked in ascending order for general crime rates Madison Park had the lowest, followed by Leschi/Madrona, Mt. Baker then the Central District. We will follow up with the details, but SPD's point about the crime trends were that they were trending down and that trend behavior was in line with the City of Seattle.
There were a number of questions related to police response, including time to respond and priority levels of incidents. The SPD staff roster is down significantly right now, by about 200 positions. This is mostly due to normal attrition, such as retirements and transfers to other departments. We learned that on any given night there are about a dozen patrol cars active in the East precinct. The 911 dispatch is no longer run by SPD but by the City of Seattle, and the dispatch team prioritizes the calls.
SPD emphasized the importance of reporting issues or incidents. They and the city need data on the frequency and types of issues. Without reporting they don't exist for the purposes of planning and assigning resources. Community members can also report issues online, package theft being one good example. The website is seattle.gov/police/need-help/online-reporting.
There were additional questions related to the break-ins local businesses have been experiencing and about progress on Seattle’s Vision Zero initiative which focuses on pedestrian safety. Council member Zahilay shared examples of positive results other neighborhoods like Rainier Beach and the Little Saigon neighborhood have realized when the communities brought together multiple organizations to address a public safety issue. Sometimes it takes collaboration between SPD, Parks, City Light, and SDOT, to name a few.
The LCC will form a public safety committee to align as a community on priority issues and work to address them.
The LCC will reach out to the East Precinct to discuss the potential of restarting the monthly EastPAC meetings, which SPD and community members have both said was a good regular engagement in the past.
This November we will be electing a new representative of our district to the City Council. The LCC will host a candidate forum in the fall where you will have the opportunity to ask candidates about their plans for addressing public safety issues.
We plan to publish more public safety information in the Leschi News on a regular basis.
Ultimately, we want the community to get involved. If public safety is of concern to you, work with our public safety committee to address it. Please email Ashley Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting involved or if you have any questions.