We had some useful, interesting discussion at our West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting this month. Many thanks to those of you who came to participate!
Officers Ken Mazzuca and Sarah Mulloy, who are now part of the SW Precinct Bike Patrol, shared some of their experiences using bikes in their work, and also fielded questions from our group. As you may recall, our March meeting featured a presentation about the enhanced Bike Patrol program, which “rolled out” earlier this spring. It was great to have a chance to follow-up on how it’s been going and hear their perspectives.
Officer Jon Kiehn, from the Community Police Team (CPT), updated us about some of the issues regarding vacant or abandoned properties in the SW Precinct. Officers have faced some legal constraints in removing people who were on a property without permission, such as squatters who have broken in to stay or other individuals who are there to vandalize or damage a property. If a vacant property is causing a nuisance in your neighborhood, please report it. He explained that he now has some new options for addressing these situations more quickly and effectively. You can find Officer Kiehn’s contact info here.
Useful resources and tools for Block Watch captains were a major topic of discussion. Suggestions included:
- The Block Watch Toolkit
- Seattle Police Department website
- Seattle Police Department – other resources
- Southwest Precinct phone numbers (2-page, .pdf), from Mark Solomon, our Crime Prevention Coordinator.
Some of you asked about BW map templates – we will look for some and post them to our site later. If you have one to share with your fellow Block Watch captains, please let us know and we’d be happy to include it!
During the second half of the meeting, Southwest Precinct Operations Lieutenant, Ron Smith, remarked that he had noticed two vehicle sales take place out in the parking lot during the course of our meeting. He added that quite a few people now take advantage of the option to conduct Craigslist transactions at Seattle’s police precincts, as it offers some safety for buyers and sellers, especially when high value items are involved. Consider this another resource to tell your neighbors about.
Additional topics that were brought up included emergency preparedness resources (such as West Seattle Be Prepared and the MapYourNeighborhood program, which we featured at our October 2013 meeting which was focused on emergency preparedness resources).
We reminded the group that Department of Neighborhoods matching funds grants are available for Night Out parties and other community-building activities. June 1 is the cutoff date for mid-level “Small and Simple” grants, but “Small Sparks” grants of up to $1000 can be applied for at any time. FYI, Night Out is always the first Tuesday in August; this year it falls on August 4th. We just checked the Night Out website and discovered that registration has already begun to register a Block Party.
Lastly, we noted that our next monthly meeting on June 23rd will be our final one before our annual “Summer Hiatus” (you can find our meeting schedule here). If you want to pick up informational materials to give to your neighbors during Night Out events, plan to come to that meeting! We’ll bring our assortment of multi-language safety brochures, preparedness materials, and coloring books for kids. If you can’t make that meeting, you can also pick up materials from us whenever we are out and about in the community. Look for us at summer events, such as the Morgan Junction Festival on June 20th, SummerFest in mid-July, or Delridge Day on August 8th (just after Night Out).