Highlights and follow-up from our January meeting!

We had some great discussion at our meeting yesterday. Thanks to all of you who participated!

We were happy that Officer Todd Wiebke was able to attend, as well as others from the SW Precinct. We heard updates from Captain Pierre Davis about recent trends and how his officers have been successful at addressing them. Operations Lt. Ron Smith; Crime Prevention Coordinator, Mark Solomon; and outgoing Research Analyst, Jennifer Burbridge were also on hand.

Officer Wiebke spoke about his work with the homeless population in the SW Precinct which includes West Seattle and South Park. He put a human face on this issue, describing some of the homeless individuals that he has met while doing this work. We were surprised to learn that some have jobs, but return to an encampment each night.

He also spoke of some of the challenges that the homeless have. He focused on the distinction between clean and sober encampments such as Camp Second Chance (CSC), and some of the ad hoc, unregulated encampments that are elsewhere in our precinct; as well as throughout Seattle, and to the south in some of the unincorporated areas.

Officer Todd Wiebke, from the SW Precinct Community Police Team, describes how SPD's role in addressing homeless issues is a small part of a broader effort involving many others

Officer Todd Wiebke, from the SW Precinct Community Police Team, describes how SPD’s role in addressing homeless issues is a small part of a broader effort that involves many others.

Some of the complexity in addressing homelessness has to do with the location of encampments. Some are in different jurisdictions — city, county, and state. As well, some of the homeless are in parks, are on private or commercial property, or on abandoned property in the process of foreclosure.

He noted an important distinction: “homelessness versus lawlessness.” He talked of success he has had helping some of the homeless get back on their feet, in some cases, connecting them with organizations and programs that provide support.

Officer Wiebke also talked of successfully cleaning out homeless encampments, if the inhabitants are breaking laws. He spoke in detail about those living in vehicles such as RV’s and campers. Individuals who are using drugs are usually also committing crimes to support those habits. He explained some of the challenges of getting them to leave.

He also addressed the issue of mental illness among some homeless. Many were surprised to hear him say that Washington State ranks so low in mental health care. After our meeting, I discovered this recent article in the Seattle PI that provides some additional context on that issue.

He also pointed out a distinction between homeless who live among us, and transients from outside our area who may show up here to prey upon West Seattle, then return to other places.

He reiterated that those living at Camp Second Chance (and presumably residents at other clean and sober camps) are quite different than those encampments that are unregulated.  One of the requirements at CSC is that the residents keep it clean.

I was surprised to hear him say that sometimes the debris seen nearby is illegally dumped by non-homeless outsiders who don’t want to pay Transfer Station fees, and don’t care if their actions are blamed on the homeless.

We hope to have Officer Wiebke back as a guest at future meetings, as his presentation was thought-provoking and informative.

During the introductory portion of the meeting, we had a few unrelated announcements. These included information about Neighborhood Matching Fund grants and emergency preparedness classes. Barbara Pascucci spoke briefly about HALA rezoning meetings. I’ll add links to that information shortly.

As well, Deborah and I opened the meeting with some of our thoughts about what we’d like to accomplish or potentially change as we head further into this new year. We’ll follow up with a separate post about that; we want your thoughts and input! You can email us at wsblockwatchnet@gmail.com.

FYI, West Seattle blog has highlights from our meeting here. [Added, 1/27/17:  WSB has just posted an overview of a visit to Camp Second Chance, that ties in well with our discussion.]

Karen Berge, Co-Founder

West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network (WSBWCN)


Join us on Tuesday, January 24th, for our monthly meeting!

WSBWCN-giant-logocurrentThis will be our first West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting of the new year, as well as the beginning of our 8th year as an organization. 

Apologies for posting this agenda so late. Our invited guest is Officer Todd Wiebke, Community Police Team (CPT) Officer from the SW Precinct. He works on the homeless camp issues in our community. Some of you may have seen posts he has written about some of the challenges.

Note:  We learned late this week that Officer Wiebke has been asked to help with a large homeless camp in another precinct, so he may not be able to attend our meeting after all. We’ll post an update when we get an update from him.

If he isn’t able to attend, we’ll have extra time to discuss other issues and topics, ask additional questions of SW Precinct leaders,  and catch up on crime/safety issues that have come up in our neighborhoods since our last meeting.


Meeting schedule (come early, stay late!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 6:30-8 PM

SW Police Precinct, 2300 SW Webster Street (at Delridge Ave SW, next to Home Depot)

6:00-6:30       Arrive early for light snacks; socialize and network while we set up!

6:30-7:00       Introductions, announcements. Updates from SW Precinct leadership.

7:00-8:00       Officer Todd Wiebke on the topic of homeless in our community.

8:00-8:30       Feel free to stay after the meeting to continue your discussions.

Everyone is welcome, even if you aren’t a Block Watch Captain!  RSVP is appreciated, but not necessary to attend.  You can contact us at  wsblockwatchnet@gmail.com.

Hope to see you there!

Deborah Greer and Karen Berge

West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network (WSBWCN)

More on CPTED from the archives…

Following up on the subject of our meeting last month, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), we wanted to showcase some of the information presented to us earlier.

This is the West Seattle Blog’s video of our CPTED tour with Officer Jon Kiehn from several years ago. As we now have the capability of embedding video, we wanted to call this to your attention again!

As well, we’ve added WSB’s coverage of Officer Kiehn’s CPTED presentation prior to this field trip, as well as to this refresher CPTED presentation from Spring 2012.

There are many great insights in these materials!

Highlights from our September meeting!

WSBWCN-giant-logocurrentGreat meeting yesterday! Many thanks to those of you who participated, especially our presenters. 

SW Precinct Operations Lieutenant, Ron Smith provided detailed information on recent crime statistics – some excellent news about drastic drops in car prowls and burglaries. He also updated us about staffing of the Community Police Team, which at the moment is down to two, Officer Jon Flores and Officer Kevin McDaniel. Officer Jon Kiehn and Officer Erin Nicholson, who have both been so helpful to our group, are now working elsewhere in the department. 

Jennifer Burbridge gave an update on findings from the focus groups she conducted about the Micro-Community Policing Plans (MCPP’s). Kristin Tinsley gave a presentation about the new AlertSeattle emergency notification system.

The West Seattle Blog has published coverage of our meeting with additional details.

Our next meeting will be on the 4th Tuesday of October – October 27th – 6:30 to 8 PM. We’ll post more details as that date approaches!

Other Announcements

October 5th is the deadline to apply for the Small and Simple” Neighborhood Matching Fund grants (the mid-level grants). Small Sparks grants (the smallest grants) can be applied for at any time. You can find more info on the Department of Neighborhoods NMF website.

Surviving Disaster: Natural Hazards & Resilient Communities (UW lecture series): This free series will run on five consecutive Tuesday evenings starting October 13th. See our post on West Seattle Be Prepared for details.

Preparing for the Big One, new class offering from the Seattle Office of Emergency Management, November 4th, 5:30 – 7 PM, at SW Branch Library. They also have listed a free Earthquake Home Retrofit class on October 11th, but it’s currently showing as full. FYI, their classes are free, but most require pre-registration. You can find more details and the Seattle OEM’s full schedule of classes here.

Learn about personal safety for kids, vehicle security and more!

Join us on Saturday, November 15th, 10 to 11 AM at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW, Seattle, WA 98106)!

Officer Jon Kiehn from SPD’s Community Police Team will host a conversation about Personal Safety for Kids. Everyone is welcome — parents, kids, and the community! Officer Kiehn will focus on personal safety from a kid’s perspective; he notes that this session will be especially relevant for kids who are ages 6 to 10.

Personal safety for kids is the featured topic at the “Public Safety” breakout session at this year’s Gathering of Neighbors; but, this training session will also touch on other public safety issues including vehicle security – an ongoing issue in our neighborhoods; Kay Godefroy, Director of Seattle Neighborhood Group (and a fellow West Seattleite) will offer insights and solutions to this problem.

We’re co-hosting this Public Safety session with Seattle Neighborhood Group. We hope to see you there!  We’ve included informational flyers with additional details below.




Please help spread the word about our Public Safety training session! As well, please pass along information about the overall Gathering of Neighbors event — it is a grassroots effort that can use some additional help with publicity.

Here’s the 2-page flyer in .pdf format: GON-Public-Safety-session (.pdf format).

Follow-up: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

We had a good turnout for our most recent West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting – many thanks to Officer Jon Kiehn for his informative CPTED presentation and to those of you who attended and participated!

A key takeaway from the meeting: there are several aspects to CPTED that work together to deter criminals. These include Natural Surveillance, Natural Territorial Reinforcement, Natural Access Control, and Maintenance.

As we mentioned, Officer Kiehn gave a similar presentation (slides are here) to our group in May 2011 that explains these concepts in more detail. He also conducted a CPTED property tour for our group; it was videotaped by the West Seattle Blog and is available to watch on YouTube (here’s a link).

You can also find both of these, along with any past/future presentations and materials, in the CPTED category on the menu in the right sidebar.

Great agenda for our WSBWCN meeting tonight!

Ever wonder how a burglar might view your home? The main focus of our meeting this evening is CPTED, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Officer Jon Kiehn from the Community Police Team will share his insights about things you can do to make your home, workplace or neighborhood less appealing to criminals. Meeting details are here.