The Seattle Police Department will conduct an immediate review of how it responds to property crime, Chief Kathleen O’Toole said Monday.
O’Toole said she has heard community concerns regarding how the department responds to property crime, including the amount of time 911 callers wait for a police response and determining what crimes are eligible for online reporting, according to the Police Department.
Danny Westneat’s column in Sunday’s Seattle Times was a catalyst for the review decision, Police Department spokesman Detective Drew Fowler said Monday. In his column, Westneat wrote that after his wife’s purse was stolen from their car, police told him to file a police report online. His kids tracked down the thieves’ location using a GPS locator on his stolen phone, but a 911 dispatcher still told Westneat to file an insurance claim online.
“What I learned last weekend: If your car gets broken into, there’s probably no point in calling the police because they won’t do anything,” Westneat wrote.
Police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said Westneat’s column was typical of the concerns that have been raised from community members, who say they are worried about the rise in crime and feel that the services they receive after they report the crimes could be better.
“Crime is up, and when you have more crime, you have more calls,” Whitcomb said. “We just want to make sure as people report crimes they are getting the quality of service they should expect from us.”
The police chief has directed Chief Operating Officer Mike Wagers to conduct an immediate review and report the findings back to her in two weeks.