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Hillyard Blog

Posts tagged: crime

Violence prevention summit Tuesday

Mayor Mary Verner, Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich are hosting a community conversation on how to prevent violence tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. in the city council chambers, lower level at City Hall. The meeting will be moderated by Steve Becker, Eastern Washington representative for Governor Chris Gregoire's office. The audience may ask questions and share opinions on crime and violence related issues.
The event is co-sponsored by a long list of community organizations and expected to draw business and community leaders from all over town - this blog is going.

Summary…

The meeting is wrapping up and Mayor Verner summarized it this way: “Rest assured that we recognize and value this little corner of the city. What I’m hearing is for you to report, report, report and then have faith that we are listening. It’s not CSI, it’s honest to goodness police work so it’s going to take a little while. Be patient. And report it again if it happens again.”

The Spokane Police Department’s Aim Report - which shows what the police department is aiming at - are available from the police department’s website www.spokanepolice.org

Business owners aim to protect reputation

Several business owners are upset with how and when media refer to Hillyard. One person said that when something good happens in Hillyard, the area is referred to as “Northeast Hillyard” - but when something bad happens, like the recent shooting at the Special K Bar (on Garland and Market) it’s referred to as “Hillyard” - an argument could be made that the Special K is not in Hillyard.

Part of the business owners’ frustration is that they say they have worked hard on changing Hillyard’s reputation and as long as crime continues to be a problem, they say, it is really hard to keep the good PR going.

Suggestions toward solving the problem

Major Stevens explains that SPD has a ‘repeat offender program’ and for the people who end up on that list “It’s kind’a like being on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. We notice that these people pop up and pop up and pop up - and we make an effort to catch those people.” You want to catch them, you don’t want to move them to another spot (this is repeated by several SPD officers).

Someone suggests a citizens police academy similar to one in King County. The Spokane citizens police academy was eliminated due to budget cuts about two years ago. The academy in Spokane was more informational, where the one in King County gives citizens an opportunity to ride along with officers and be more hands on.

Neighborhood “patrols”

One business owner talks about confronting two intruders on his property, cutting up steel and trying to steal his “stuff” out of a yard. This happened last night. He says he “kicked the guy’s” behind, because he ended up in a wrestling match with the intruders. He says he has a right to bear arms and confront people on his property, but he is tired of getting ripped off. (This business owner did eventually call 911 and file a report).

SPD response: a burglary in progress is “nirvana” for cops because they want to come and help people - so call in and report it to 911 on the spot. It’s important to call in and let police come out and do their job. If a burglar gets run off someone’s property, the burglar is likely to go somewhere else and break in again.

Mayor Verner: what I’m hearing is that people don’t report incidents because they don’t think anything is going to happen? (correct, business owners say) Verner explains that she gets “Aim Reports” from the SPD that show what the police department is focusing on. “We need a feedback loop, we need to find a way to get that information back to the community, so people don’t think their reports go into a black hole.”

Crime prevention measures

They are labor intensive, someone has to watch them all the time. The business owners in Hillyard have purchased ISP addresses so their camera feeds can be viewed at the COPS shop.

SPD needs license plate numbers, times and dates. Descriptions of the people who show up frequently, but be careful while you are doing it so you don’t get into a confrontation with drug dealers or other criminals.
Report incidents even if you don’t think police is going to come out - it helps the police department build a pattern of activity, if there is one. Some of this information may be useful in court.

COPS suggests Business Watch - a plan like Block Watch, just for businesses. This effort has been very successful in the International District on East Sprague.

Note: These are essentially my notes, the way I take them at any meeting I cover - experimenting with live blogging.

SPD explains what it’s doing already

SPD: patrol officers in general run from disaster to disaster. The drug unit is not well equipped to deal with drug problems like the one in Hillyard. SPD says that you can’t just throw a couple of officers out there in plain clothes and take care of it. Some smaller drug units will be formed in January.

SPD Major Stevens: one thing we are trying to do is coodinate with the community and the police department - sometimes we don’t communicate real well and coordinate our efforts - we are working on that. He says they are going to sustain the drug effort. One thing people in Hillyard can do is notice and report drug houses - it will help SPD pick people up. “The more information we have the better we can respond,” Stevens said.
He adds that they have a high level of technology that can help them sustain what they are doing - they want to keep the pressure up - especially with people that are identified as repeat offenders. “We are trying to get the judges on board to boost their bail up, so they don’t get out of jail so easily,” Stevens said.

What’s the problem?

Marv Peterson: “There is so much drug dealing and vandalism going on here. I was broken into. We know the people who did it but we can’t do anything about it.”

Richard Burris: “We sometimes go out at night to keep an eye on things. There was a lot of traffic and people were getting in your face. We are not asking for more protection, we know that you don’t have enough resources. What we are asking for is more undercover patrols - everybody can recognize a black and white patrol car from a mile away. It doesn’t work.” The community groups are hoping that the SPD will be able to switch some resources to undercover patrols instead of regular street patrols.

Luke Tolley: “The response to the letter we sent has been awesome. Where we are at now is how do we continue on and work with the city.”

 

It’s a who’s who in Hillyard right now

In response to a letter sent to City Hall and the Spokane Police Department in November, there’s a community meeting going on right now at the Outlaw Cafe on Market Street. About 30 people are here - including council member Amber Waldreff, Mayor Mary Verner and many representatives from the Spokane Police Department.

Apologies for typos in the following posts - it’s the first time I’m doing live blogging - fun, yet demanding!

SPD update on crime prevention

From Greater Hillyard Business Association’s Luke Tolley:
“I just got a call from SPD’s Sgt. Tom Hendren, the officer who met with GHBA to discuss crime activity in downtown Hillyard.
He let me know that last night they served warrants on two houses/apartments on Olympic, one just east of Haven and one just west of Haven.  They arrested 11 people and will be working on an eviction at apartment and abatement at the house.  He believes this will help cut down a lot of our crime activity, but assured me that Det. Bowman and their Tech are still working with business owners to put up additional surveillance on building around the neighborhood in the next week or two.
Needless to say, I think our letter was very effective.  Sgt. Hendren would welcome any comments or feedback if you want to give him a call at 363-8224.”

Early morning robbery

From the Spokane Police Department: “Early Friday morning, at about 12:45 AM, a male walked into the Qwik Stop at Wellesley/Market, wearing a scarf pulled up over his face.  He displayed a handgun and demanded money from the clerk before leaving the store.  Spokane Police immediately responded to the scene but were unable to locate the suspect in the area.”
Here’s a link to the entire report.

If you know anything about this, please call Crime Check at 456-2233.

Girls day out and the Mayor is coming

Girls Day Out was on the top of the agenda today at the Historic Hillyard Merchants’ meeting. The annual shopping event is Saturday and it takes place in Hillyard, Garland, North Monroe and on East Sprague (the International District). Go to the Girls Day Out website for more information and read the story in your Voice section Thursday.
The letter to the city and police department asking for more police protection was well received. Mayor Mary Verner and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick along with city staff and city council members will be at a public meeting at the Outlaw Cafe on Dec. 15 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The meeting is open and intended as a forum for business owners and neighbors.

Girls Day Out planning meeting tonight

There’s a Girls Day Out planning meeting tonight at the Outlaw Cafe at 6 p.m. Girls Day Out is an annual neighborhood shopping event and this year it takes place in Hillyard, the Garland District, Monroe Business District and the International District (East Sprague) on Nov. 13 - anyone interested in helping out is welcome at the meeting Thursday evening.

Moving right along to the Merchants’ meeting Wednesday morning: The Hillyard Howl was deemed successful though some conversation was had as to whether it serves the group’s purpose of bringing shoppers into Hillyard and keeping them there for a while. The bake sale made $80.
The next big event is Girls Day Out (see above) followed by the Hillyard North Pole and Santa’s arrival. Santa’s chair is in the shop, getting painted, but will be ready for his arrival.
Merchant Committee members pay for the power and water cost associated with planters and holiday lights along Market Street. It’s by donation and the association is figuring out a way to make that system more fair, by suggesting a donation that matches the individual merchant’s storefront size. Paying the fee is not mandatory, but the group hopes that everyone will pay their fair share to cover the water and power bills.
And the Greater Hillyard Business Association has been meeting with businesses and neighbors in West Central who are working to get their business association back on track.
And finally, before mentioned letter to Mayor Mary Verner, the city council and the Spokane Police Department asking for more frequent and under-cover drug patrols in Hillyard was signed by most of the merchants at the meeting. It will be delivered to the city as soon as possible.

This morning’s Historic Hillyard Merchant Committee meeting

Here are some highlights from this morning’s meeting:
The committee meets every Wednesday morning at 8:30 at the Outlaw Cafe, meetings are open to anybody interested. There were about 20 people at this morning’s meeting.
Preparation for the Hillyard Howl – cleanup begins on Friday to get the building ready for next weekend. If anyone is interested in helping out, extra hands are always welcome.
(The location of the Hillyard Northpole is uncertain this year as the building it’s usually in may be rented out – stay tuned for more information.)
Luke Tolley, chair of the Hillyard Neighborhood Council, had an update on Girls Day Out which is coming to Hillyard on Nov. 13. Part of Girls Day Out is ‘goodie bags’ provided by local merchants and letters are going out right now for businesses that would like to participate. The next planning meeting is Thursday Oct. 21 at the Outlaw Cafe at 6 p.m.

In terms of crime prevention, the neighborhood has been trying to work out a video surveillance deal with the city and the police department. Some businesses owners already have video surveillance that they watch via internet from their homes – it’s been a problem that the video cameras get stolen. Someone suggested putting up dummy cameras as a deterrent, but everyone agreed on approaching the city and the police department with a letter.

The HHMC is looking for input into what people would like on the new website. A decision was made to not have a public forum on the site out of concern that it would have to closely monitored and moderated.
There was a short discussion about whether to continue to produce a newsletter on paper. It was named ‘The Hillyard Voice’ and will be published twice a month.
Richard Burris, of Hillyard Communtiy Futures, is proposing a joint letter to the city and the police department asking for undercover policing to increase in the area – there is drug dealing going on every night, he says. “I’m not gonna sit back for 10 years and see all what we’ve done to make this place better go to hell again,” said Burris. He volunteered to write the letter.
Business owners say that between midnight and 3 a.m. crime is rampant in the neighborhood - burglaries, vandalism, drug dealing, it’s all over the map. 

The blog has arrived

… and hey, it’s feeling welcome, too. My office away from the office is The Outlaw Cafe and I had barely sat down before Richard Burris of Hillyard Community Futures came in and said hello. Burris is ready to approach his city council members and the police chief about getting some better neighborhood patrols up here. “What we need is police in plain vehicles and plain clothes,” Burris said. “Those who cause trouble can spot a marked police car from a mile away.”
A local bar owner stopped in, too, and agreed wholeheartedly with Burris. He also shared that bars are in a tight spot when it comes to keeping the good customers around while running troublemakers off their property.
Conveniently council member Bob Apple, who represents Hillyard together with Amber Waldref, showed up, too. Apple listened carefully and encouraged Burris to contact the COPS Shop and the Neighborhood’s resource officer. “It’s important to report these things,” Apple said.
Burris is going to present a letter at the Hillyard Merchants Committee meeting Wednesday morning, hoping the group will support him and agree to approach city hall.
However, everyone present agreed that a lot of good things are happening in Hillyard and that the neighborhood is doing its best to get rid of a bad reputation and replace it with a much more positive image. Look for upcoming Halloween events and a Girls Day Out coming real soon.

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About this blog

Welcome to the Hillyard neighborhood blog. My name is Pia Hallenberg and I’ve worked as a journalist in Spokane since the fall of 1998; for the last six years I've worked for The Spokesman-Review.

In April, I started a neighborhood blog on South Perry Street (where I live). When it came time to expand the blog activity, Hillyard was an easy pick: There is so much going on in this neighborhood in terms of new businesses and street improvements, festivals and new construction - and there is a strong sense of neighborhood history and pride. I'm looking forward to highlighting all of that on this blog.

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