During two community meetings on Tuesday, North Seattle residents stressed the need for police to address increasing property crime and what they say is a lack of police response.
More than 100 people attended the Whittier Heights Involved Neighbors and the later Broadview Community Council meetings, which involved representatives from the Seattle Police Department, the Seattle City Council and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. At both meetings, attendees focused on the property-crime rate, which has increased, according to FBI data.
At the Broadview meeting, held at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, residents asked police officials to clarify when they should call 911, as opposed to the non-emergency number.
“We need everybody to call,” Detective James Manning said. “Keep letting us know what is going on.”
Sgt. Dianne Newsom said that 911 dispatchers triage calls depending on the type of crime reported, as well as the area of the crime. If a caller is reporting a car prowl at Golden Gardens, and the only available officer is in Lake City, then an officer may not follow up until there is someone closer to the area.
But even if the crime report isn’t urgent, she said, the dispatchers “should treat you with respect.”
Chris Bihary, who lives in North Seattle, questioned why there aren’t more patrol officers to help prevent property crime.
“The criminals know there are not enough police, know there are slow response times,” Bihary said. “We need more officers actually doing the job, where they can be seen.”
Seattle police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said earlier this month that the department would conduct an immediate review of how it responds to property crime after she heard community concerns.
The review has been conducted and will be reported back to O’Toole soon, spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Tuesday.