After a shooting earlier this month that killed two and injured another, Belltown residents and Seattle Police are concerned about neighborhood safety. On Wednesday, November 8th, the SPD shared some new strategies for fighting crime, during the Belltown Community Council’s monthly meeting.
“One of the priorities I pushed out to all my sergeants and watch commanders is that we have officers take time out of their cars to walk foot patrol in certain areas that we designated,” said Capt. Thomas Mahaffey, Captain of SPD’s West Precinct. “We have to start having officers out, engaging with the community, walking the beat, going to businesses, meeting with people.”
Some of the new steps within the strategy is for officers to stay out of their vehicles for at least 45 minutes per day. Previously, some residents and shop owners have expressed concerns about a lack of police presence, which this strategy will likely help to change.
Another change, in the attempt to address car prowls, is the posting of leaflets and signs warning people not to leave valuables in their cars and the adjustment of some officers’ work shifts to focus on crimes involving property and car prowls.
“Car prowls in particular are a significant issue for us,” Capt. Mahaffey said. “There’s a lot of parking garages, open garages in the Belltown area.”
Crime in Belltown has unfortunately been on the rise, increasing overall this year as compared with 2016 and 2015. However, these new crime-fighting strategies seem to be the right step to helping improve the safety of our neighborhood.
With regard to the November 2nd shooting, SPD is confident that it will be resolved quickly, since it was not a community-based homicide, according to Cap. Mahaffey. “We have a small amount of prolific offenders that are committing the majority of our crimes, so whether they’re involved in property crimes or potentially other crimes as well is likely,” he said.