Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jamieson on Violence in SE Seattle

The P-I's Robert Jamieson wrote about violent crime in SE Seattle today. Looks like he's had as much trouble getting crime stats as the rest of us have. Interesting to see that someone over there is hinting that numbers might finally be presented at the crime meeting tonight -- police officials have just directed community members to the public disclosure department at previous meetings.

It is no secret Rainier Valley gets a disproportionate share of Seattle's gang troubles. Gangs go hand in hand with trigger happiness. But neighbors feel as if the city and police just want them to buck up and deal with it -- bullets come with the territory.

"I never dreamed that I would be telling my 6-year-old that she can't go outside anymore," said Risley, who tells me two of the September shootings happened less than a football field from her daughter's bedroom window. "Tonight I get to explain to her what gunshots sound like and that she needs to lay down on the floor of our home if she hears them."

Did I miss the memo? When did Seattle steal a page from South Central Los Angeles?

Neighbors' perceptions of bureaucratic indifference -- police insist they're on the case -- are bolstered by difficulty they've had getting official crime statistics. I was similarly frustrated Wednesday when I dialed up SPD. A spokesman said I might get numbers galore at a community meeting with police Thursday, a gathering that promises to pack Holly Park Community Church.

I suspect squeaky wheels in other neighborhoods would get answers right away if a half-dozen gun incidents in a month were occurring in Ballard, West Seattle or Fremont, places where neighbors howl if a bullet gets in whizzing distance of the hot tub.

But in the South End that popping sound is no biggie, folks -- just ambiance, a teeny price to pay for life on the south side.

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