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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Georgetown, Belltown Residents Confront Cops on Recent Neighborhood Shootings

Posted by on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Frustrated with a lack of communication from SPD, and a perceived lack of response from the city in general, residents in Georgetown and Belltown are taking matters into their own hands.

Last night residents in Gerogetown held, essentially, an intervention with their community patrol officer, Officer Sylvia Parker. Officer Parker joined Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, Seattle City Council Member Sally Bagshaw, and Assistant City Attorney John A. McGoodwin in a crowded bar to field questions and frustrated comments from dozens of members of the Georgetown Community Council. Residents reported hearing 10 shots fired last Saturday night from a well-known problem club in the area, and say police aren't doing enough to help.

"SPD has responded to 29 calls on that place in less than two years," says council president Holly Krejci. The T-21 Club, also known as Taqueria El Trompo Loco, was closed for business on Monday—not because of the recent gunfire but because the owner voluntarily relinquished his liquor license (the Washington State Liquor Control Board suspended the club's liquor license in May but it was reinstated in June). Krejci asked: "What does it take to start shutting these places down? What's the tipping point?"

"SPD is aware there's a problem," responded Goodwin. "There's simply a patrol issue."

"The issue is Officer Parker doesn't communicate with us," Krejci later said. "We don't know what's going on in our neighborhood so how can we address problems?"

Which is why more neighborhoods are taking patrol into their own hands. Tonight, Belltown Citizens on Patrol are holding a public safety forum to address last weekend's rash of shootings and stabbings. The citizen patrol put out a call to Belltown residents for tonight's meeting—held at 7:00 p.m. at the Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave, Hall #8—encouraging them to join the patrol in "making a positive change in Belltown!" The forum is expected to include SPD officers and representatives from the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, among others.

Meanwhile, Georgetown residents have banded together to create their unofficial own crime task force, using a neighborhood internet forum (which Krejci says Officer Parker no longer subscribes to) to update each other on neighborhood crime news. Krejci says she invited two city attorneys to last night's meeting because Officer Parker regularly fails to attend the meetings—or give the community crime updates. Now, they're forced to go over her head if they want information on their neighborhood.

Officer Parker attended last night's meeting. When pressed, she said there was nothing unusual to report on neighborhood crime.

"Then why are we being woken up by gunshots?" one resident muttered. Georgetown residents have begun organizing citizen patrols, neighborhood watches, and studying ways to kick out problem clubs from their neighborhoods.

"Why did [the T-21 club] give up their liquor license?" asks a Georgetown resident of Holmes at last night's meeting. "Why wasn't it taken away first?"

Some criticize the new city attorney for going too easy on bars. Holmes, who ran on a nightlife-friendly platform, explained that the city attorney's office is dealing with renewing 2,800 liquor licenses. Tom Carr, the previous city attorney, was known for objecting to liquor licenses for questionable reasons. Now, Holmes says, his office is "trying to build over time a really credible system." This means carefully choosing which licenses it objects to.

But Goodwin says that this means "things might get worse before they get better."

How does the Seattle Police Department respond? "You'll have a substantive response by the end of the day," says SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Interim Police Chief John Diaz will address neighborhood frustrations with a new Late Night Public Safety Initiative, which they will announce today at 3:30 p.m. in the plaza in front of SPD's West Precinct.


Comments (14) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Hmm. Some criticize the new city attorney for be going to easy on bars.

Well, ok, but what does that have to do with whiny millionaires?
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM · Report this
The whiny millionaires all over Georgetown, Will? Or the whiny billionaires in Bell Tower, the Seattle Housing Authority building across the alley from Belltown's longest-lived shoot-'em'up parking lot?
Posted by gloomy gus on June 22, 2010 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Bub 3
It may be time to invest in this.
Posted by Bub on June 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM · Report this
I used to stop by there for late night tacos al pastor. The nightlife there is like Mexico with families outside by the taco stand. Great tacos and a green hot sauce so hot it will make gueros like me see stars. The last time I was there I noticed that one of the cars in the lot had bullet holes in it and I don't mean stick ons.

Sounds more like Ciudad Juarez and less like the rest of Mexico.
Posted by wl on June 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
@2 there are a lot of millionaires in Belltown - do a census search.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 22, 2010 at 2:09 PM · Report this
@1 unfamiliar with Seattle? Georgetown is just about the most unpretentious anti-millionaire neighborhood in this city. I figure if those guys are crying foul, there is some serious shit happening.
Posted by shotsix on June 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
@6 my point is both the PI and the Times are only covering the Belltown part and ignoring the Georgetown part.

Which you'd know if you read.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 22, 2010 at 2:36 PM · Report this
@5, there are waaaaay more non-millionaires living in Belltown, especially near where the assaults actually happen. The rich bastards who do show up and harrumph at the public meetings are far outnumbered by just folks. Check your head.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 22, 2010 at 2:36 PM · Report this
There are millionaires in belltown, but not everybody in belltown is a millionaire. Besides, since when are millionaires not allowed to ask the police to take action when people are getting shot in the head on the belltown avenues?
Posted by rudedog on June 22, 2010 at 2:41 PM · Report this
@7, I can be unclear too sometimes, but you can't blame us yahoos for responding to what you wrote instead of what you wish you wrote.
Posted by gloomy gus on June 22, 2010 at 2:48 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 11
I wrote it based on the PI and Times coverage. Which is what the TV news will cover.

Should it? no.

Will the people showing up at the places where the decisions that get made mostly be whiny millionaires? yes.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Sheesh Will, it sounds like you advocate people getting shot in the head on the street as long as it annoys millionaires.
Posted by Westside forever on June 22, 2010 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
No. I just don't think SPD response time and media attention should only occur in or near wealthy areas.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 22, 2010 at 4:19 PM · Report this
sidereal 14
Guns don't kill people. Liquor licenses do.
Posted by sidereal on June 22, 2010 at 4:57 PM · Report this

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