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All About South Park

November 2019 SPNA Meeting Minutes

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SPNA meeting November 12, 2019. 

This meeting was about recent criminal activity that led to the death of a community member.

Dinner was Khmer food prepared by Bunthay Buadalupe Cheam, a SP resident. If you are interested in working with him for catering in the future please reach out to robinschwartz@hotmail.com and she will connect you.

Scroll to the bottom for meeting take-aways / next steps.

Introductions.

At least 100 in attendance including multiple representatives from Seattle Police Department, the Precinct’s Attorney and Councilmember Lisa Herbold

Announcements:

No announcements

 

A moment of silence was observed for our community member who was killed

Seattle Police Department Discussion with Community:

Capt. Davis (head of the SW Precinct): Expresses his deepest sympathy for the family. 

Strategies for WS neighborhoods as follows:

  • a lot of police presence. May not seem as if it is enough.
  • Saturation. It may seem like an area is saturated after a crime and this may be accurate.
  • Emphasis patrols earlier this year led to 500 hours more than typical hours.
  • extra officers in areas where it is needed
  • Community members always invited to SPD meetings at SW precinct. Also invited to meet privately with officers. South Park needs more attendance at the SW precinct meetings please attend – 
  • A lot of times, SPD knows individuals who are committing crimes (burglary, theft, trespass etc.).
  • collaboration with the community
  • if you feel that SPD is failing to collaborate please reach out to Capt. Davis
  • knowing where people are after beginning released from jail/what activities are involved in
  • locations (squatter houses etc.)

Councilmember Herbold supports these efforts

Description of the homicide and SPD response: Nov 3 after 1 am. Officers responded to location shots fired. Located shell casings. Noticed the residence had broken windows. Officers rendered first aid til first responders arrived but it was not enough. Community members shared information which led to the arrest of the suspect.

Detective: during the investigation, they understood that the house next door to the victim’s home had trouble recently as well as long-term, including gun shots.

A close neighbor to the murder victim speaks for several minutes, demanding justice and expressing her extreme frustration with SPD and fear for her family and neighbors.

SPD: the house was abated but was returned to the owner. The city is working toward a resolution. Can Herbold help?

Herbold: the City Attorney’s office needs to explain to the group how the abatement process works. 

Officer Davis: there is now momentum to get Bones out of the house. We need community to raise their voice to support this process. Officers are going to work on emphasis patrols to keep an eye on this house and get it taken care of forever. There are a lot of problematic houses in SP that need the same amount of attention.

Q: was the drug house the target, and the victim an accident?

A: that appears to be the case. That will help us start conversations to get the homeowner gone for good. There are many houses in SP that need this attention.

Q: what is the city attorney saying?

A: we wish we could just go take the house now. However, we have to follow the law. We need a warrant that comes from documented evidence. Officers are working on compiling evidence and seeking the correct laws that will support this. Tomorrow OPDI is going to inspect that everything is up to code, seeking “chronic nuisance” (which is temporary but could be a first start)

Herbold: can the city dispose of property after chronic nuisance?

A: no. the owner must fix the issues and then get the house (if issues are not fixed the house remains in city hands but is never taken from the owner). We are uncovering every stone to find the way to get the owner out. Tomorrow may ask for a temporary order to board up the house.

Q: does that include the trailer behind the house?

A: I was not aware of that trailer. We can look into that and may be able to get it taken out within two weeks

Q: we the neighbors have seen and reported many instances of drug dealing. Why can’t SPD search the house based on complaints?

A: SPD must see these activities themselves to search with probable cause. One thing community can do is call 911 when you see a crime.

Q: We are told to call non-emergency. 911 Dispatch tells us to call non-emergency. Do I need to go into the house and record with my phone? 

A: no. SPD does not want you to go into the house.

SPD needs to follow procedure. We cannot just go in and raid a house.

Neighbor: I always drive up the alley and today I had to wait for several minutes while folks were cleaning up *nail guns* (edited to add: I think I missed what was being cleaned up).

SPD: we saw this same thing today as well. We have a drug epidemic; this is fueling crime and drug dealing.

Herbold: To clarify: the community can help SPD create probable cause by calling 911; neighbors say that 911 is not working. What can community members do?

SPD: we can have 911 Dispatch come give training. We need evidence enough to get a warrant so that we can seize drugs.

Q: the house belongs to the suspect?

A: no, the suspect is connected to the house but is not the owner.

Q; is that connection probably cause?

A: no

Q: what can be more probable cause than a homicide?

A: we have to prove probable cause.

Q: can you give me an outline on this property with regards to the trust/ownership?

A: his mother willed the house to a trust that he was a sole beneficiary of. It was managed by an attorney. When he was evicted the trust was drained of all funds and the trust was turned over to an attorney in the office.

Q: you mentioned more resources for patrol. There needs to be corroboration—does this mean more surveillance? Can extra funds for patrols be put towards surveillance? 

A: We need evidence to be collected. We are putting more funds towards that. Sometimes we just have to wait. Community members can get together and file law suits on nuisance home.

Attorney: that is an option. A community lawsuit filed against an individual. 

Herbold: would the standard of proof be the same as for the City?

Attorney: no, it would be somewhat different (7 nuisance activities reported within a year for the city). It must be on the property, not in the alley, for example.

Q: what about rats? There are rats all over the place. What about taxes?

A: yes, you can call on rats. Call the health department. The homeowner/trust beneficiary is up to date with taxes.

Q: I’ve had a lot of car break ins on Cloverdale. We have been reporting but there is a disconnect between reports and action.

A: statistical data from reports shows SPD where they need to put officers. Reporting is critical.

Q: it seems like there is data collection but no actual justice.

A: SPD has no power over jail time.

Q: We live near a boarded up house with a lot of activity.

A: yes, there is a definite connection between boarded up houses and criminal activity.

Q: can all SPD and the attorney hand out business cards to everyone in this room? (NOTE see contact information at the top of the minutes)

Q: can you do more foot patrols and bike patrols? Or nighttime?

A: we do have bike patrols but we cannot do them at night. We do have more resources that we are putting into this house.

Q: I think bike and foot patrols works better than cars

A: yes, I agree.

Q: we appreciate SPD and the increased emphasis patrols. What about an SP annex?

A: sure. We have had that before. And we are considering that now.

Q: okay CM Herbold– can you propose that or consider it?

A: yes, I’m happy to have that conversation. Storefront or annex stations are good ideas but we also need to consider the shortage of officers; need to work on recruitment.

Q: what is the difference between a mobile precinct and a storefront precinct?

A: a mobile precinct is mobile. A central hub. We have had a mobile precinct here in SP. 

Herbold: can we have it here more frequently?

A: we will have it here as much as possible.

Q: can we talk about the 911 reporting workshop?

A: I will coordinate with SPNA and make sure that SP resident and especially Donovan residents are informed.

Takeaways:

  • South Park needs more representation at the SW District Police Monthly meetings.  
      • South Park needs more representation at the SW Precinct Advisory Council.  (meets monthly by invite only)
        • Does any one person or a couple of people want to start going to these meetings and reporting back to SPNA? You can come to the monthly meetings on the second Tuesday to report back or email spnaseattle@gmail.com with a summary of the meeting. 

      Please email spnaseattle@gmail.com if you would like to represent South Park in these smaller meetings with SPD.

  • Sue the property owners?
    • Maybe neighbors should start to sue some of the owners of these properties. We could fundraise, write grants work with partners to try to get this done. But first, can Seattle Neighborhood Group (non-profit that works on safety issues in the neighborhood) do some research and let us know if these lawsuits have positive outcomes?  Is it worth our time? The Precinct Attorney Liason (Joe, listed above) also agreed to talk about this with anyone who is interested.
  • Anyone who wants to meet one on one with officers use the contact information above to reach out. Or email SPNAseattle@gmail.com and we can arrange the meeting for you
  • Keep calling 911