LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘I Too Feel That Burien Is Rapidly Changing…’


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To The Editor of the B-Town Blog

I too feel that Burien is rapidly changing.

On August 28th at 7 p.m., I was driving my convertible eastbound on 152nd, approaching Ambaum when an angry drunk man hurled something and hit me in the head. I pulled over and called 911. I observed the man stumble around the downtown area for the next 45 minutes while waiting for the Deputies to arrive. I called 911 three times to update them on my location and I was scolded for calling back. I was told that they are “very busy”.

When the Deputies arrived, they talked to him, but decided to let him go to wander the streets of Burien in his extremely drunken and angry state. I questioned this and reminded the Deputies that he threw something at me while I was driving and hit me in the head. They yelled at him by name and said “this time, you’re going to the hospital”.

At no time during my interaction with the Dispatchers or Deputies was I treated with sensitivity. I just had something thrown at me and was hit in the head while driving. I was scolded and told how ‘busy’ they were. He was not charged with a crime.

I followed up with the Sheriff’s Department the following day. The officer who followed up with me said that it would only be a crime if I was injured or my car was damaged. So, as far as I know, this incident remains undocumented as if it never happened.

I discussed this with a retired Seattle Police Officer, who said there are a number of crimes that he could have possibly have been charged with, such as Reckless Endangerment.

This happened four blocks from my home. Although they are courteous, the attitude from Deputies seems to be that ‘this is a rough area’. I am not willing to lower my standards of safety, nor am I satisfied with the response to this incident.

– Susan Lee
Burien

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a photo Susan included with her letter of the ‘angry drunk man’ she encountered:

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Comments

22 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘I Too Feel That Burien Is Rapidly Changing…’”
  1. Wanker says:

    Keep in mind, Burien has been a rough area for a number of years. Despite the fact that there are now some revitalized areas, it is still a working class neighborhood with the pitfalls of lower property values. Any major metro area or suburb is going to have its issues. This kind of stuff happens in Ballard, Fremont, Kirkland, Bellevue. It hits closer to home when it happens to you. Instead of complaining publicly how bad Burien has become, and hopping on any negative bandwagon out there, try to do something positive. It sucks you had a bottle thrown at you, but S#$t Happens.

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    • Amber says:

      Burien is a good area and could be better if we had the support of local law enforcement though, I agree that the laziness of the king county sheriffs office is just enabling this bad behavior. I’ve had incidents that needed the support of the police force and its been very passive, so if it is known that our police department is going to be so laid back in these type of situations what would then stop those citizens from behaving in these ways. Individual citizens that take pride in Burien can only do so much.

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      • Wanker says:

        Keep in mind, what you see as laziness may be them making a judgement call. Is it better for the community to arrest a drunk man, take an officer off his patrol long enough for him to fill out a report and drive to downtown Kent or Seattle? Or is this drunk person dangerous enough that this needs to be done? I am sure that was part of the officers thinking.

        Keep this in mind the next time you vote. A decrease in taxes also means a decrease in services. The recession has forced a largely uninformed community to make important decisions regarding funding. Also, the decrease in home values has lowered revenue from property tax. Another byproduct of the recession, is more people living in poverty who have turned to property crimes to support them selves, or drugs or alcohol to cope, which causes an increase in work for a already understaffed department.

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      • Tom Harmon says:

        Instead of calling the police lazy, call on the city council to fund enough officers to handle crime the way we would all like.

        The reason we have no traffic officers or response to petty crime is not because the police do not care or desire them. The Sheriff’s office would gladly provide all of the officers we need, IF we are willing to pay for them.

        As far as our own police force, again, how deep are we willing to dig into our budget to fund it?

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    • Steve says:

      Kinda glad to see this picture up here… I’ve run into this guy before and if it weren’t for my better judgement I would have gotten in a fight with him. He needs help… and has no business walking the streets as drunk as he his. He’s a danger to himself and others. Shame on our police force for blowing it off. Throwing an object at a car can cause some serious damage to both person and property.

      As someone else asked, what if a teen threw something? What if someone through something at a cop car? Hmmm… yeah, handled differently I imagine.

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  2. Eaton B. Verz says:

    The city should put a fence on the west side of Ambaum to keep the riff raff out!! (He was probably heading to Lake Burien). Then annex White center so the police can drop them off there when they misbehave……. Susan is right, Burien is getting bad. The blame ultimately lies with the council. We have the opportunity in November to make a change…. Vote the bums out!!!

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    • Rob says:

      What crust. How the hell do you know where he is from? Unless it is you? I am getting tired of people assuming that all the bad people are from the eastside of ambaum, or from “north Burien” or White Center. This is just a call for Snobbishness and “Class warfare people. And keep in mind, Eaton B. Verz is not his real name, nor does he have the guts to say who he really is.

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  3. Al says:

    You can look at this 2 ways- 1. The Deputies were busy and have to prioritize all calls and decide which are most important ( like triage in an emergency room). This could be because public safety is not a priority by Government Officials who have seen it as a place to cut back. Or – 2. There has to be more services for these people that are wondering the streets with nowhere to go. Some of these people served in the Military and have come home to make it on their own and since we have not been in their shoes do not know what they are going through. In either case, you can be mad at what happen to you or get involved in your community and make a difference. We all wish the world was a perfect place and continue to think it might be til the trouble comes to your own neighborhood and hits you in the face. (not making light at what happen to you.) You have a choice do nothing or get involved. I suppose you could move to Seattle where there are absolutely no homeless if you believe that. They recycle the homeless in and out of jail just like ever other city.

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    • wheels says:

      A third way to look at it is that the police could actually do their jobs and get a dangerous drunk off the streets before he hurts himself or someone else. By not dealing with the situation in a timely and effective manner, the police have made more work for themselves. The constant refrain of the police is, “We are too busy, and we have to prioritize our calls for help.” Well the reason they are so busy is because they don’t respond quickly and effectively to real incidents of crime. The same dirtbags keep commiting the same petty crimes over and over because they know the respnse time of the police and they are aware that they likely won’t be charged unless a citizen has irrefutable photographic evidence of said dirtbag committing the crime.

      The police should be given better fudning and more resources, and more cops should be hired. Until that time, they could still do a much better job than they have been doing, and they could make their own jobs easier by being more effective. This would improve the community for everyone. The police won’t change their ways unless the citizens demand it.

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      • Al says:

        May I suggest a ride along with an officer to see what they actually do. Maybe if you
        found out what they face everyday. It is easy to sit back and call the shots when
        you haven’t walked in someone shoes. When is the last time you got up to get
        ready for work and put on a uniform that made you a target. Yes they chose their
        career, but maybe those who like to criticize them would like to let us know how
        they could put on that uniform and do it better. Let’s make sure we criticize them
        when they do something we don’t like, how many publicly thank them when they
        do something right. Some people that think they are so above others are the ones
        who need the critiqueing!

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        • wheels says:

          I have ridden along with cops. I’ve seen them work. Just because someone is a cop doesn’t mean he is automatically good or correct or efficient. Anyway, I’m not even critiquing their intentions or their abilities. It’s their process that is flawed.

          The same few people are causing trouble all the time, generating this large work load that keeps the police too busy. Every time, the cops are a day late and a dollar short to catch these people. These petty criminals aren’t geniuses–they get away with it because they know that on a Friday night it will be two hours before a cop responds as long as no one is actually shot. So, because the police keep not investing enough resources to catch these punks the first time, they then spend ten times as much time and money staying one step behind them for years. The same petty criminals go to the same places time after time, eating up our resources and degrading our community. Letting them get away with it time after time isn’t helping them, isn’t helping the community, and isn’t conserving precious police department resources.

          For example, the murder at Good Time Ernie’s. There were witnesses everywhere. There had to be fingerprints, DNA, hair, all kinds of evidence. This murder was not well planned or executed. It was a spontaneous act. The only way the murderer could get away with that would be if our police force was completely incompetent, corrupt, or simply not working efficiently. By not catching that killer, they have left him free to commit other crimes in our community. It doesn’t take rocket scientists to catch a criminal like that. But he is free to walk our streets.

          People like you, Al, who think we can never criticize our police force, are part of the problem, part of the reason why we can’t get a handle on crime in Burien.

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          • Al says:

            Criticize what needs to be criticized is all I am saying but grouping all officers into one
            class seems to me unfair. The homeless and people who are walking the streets that
            have problems whether drinking or mental health issues is a huge problem that is not
            being addressed. It is happening everywhere not just Burien, take a walk downtown
            Seattle and they are everywhere. Jailing these people are not the answer because
            they do get out and continue to do what they do. It is a sad circle of life a lot of people
            are facing because of the economy. It is always easier if it has not happen to you
            to ignore an issue than to do something about it.

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      • atkmh says:

        Wheels, shame on you. Have you attended the Citizens Police Academy? Have you any clue what these officers deal with each and every day in our fair City? And the same goes to you Mr. Forest. Get involved and educated about the services your police department provides instead of making derogatory remarks about a process you are so uninformed about.

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  4. Joseph Radmacher says:

    This is not about taxes, funding, or more hires. Throwing money at a broken King County Police Department is not the solution. Burien needs its own police department with officers who take time to understand and protect the citizenry. Our population is now big enough to support it and our pride for Burien and concern for it’s citizen’s should be sufficient justification for any added cost that may result. If we’re going to invest more money in the police through taxation, Burien should seriously consider investing the money better by creating Burien’s own Police Department.

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    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      That is all well and good Joe, but the question is “Do you want the present city council and Mr. Martin to set up and implement the program?” Please keep in mind the animal control fiasco that they created. Do you really want them to start your police force? Food for thought……..

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    • Burienite says:

      Uh, you might want to read the report the city released, which discusses the pros/cons of contracting vs. starting their own municiple police department. Here’s the link to the cities webstie that has the report (along with others): http://www.burienwa.gov/index.aspx?nid=91

      You’ll discover that it’ll be VERY expensive to operate our own police department (given the cities current size and makeup). There are economies of scale that are realized when a city contracts with the KCSO. Further, there are a whole hose of other services that contract cities get when they work with the KCSO.

      Before you make unsubstantiated claims about the KCSO and how bad they are, perhaps you should do some research first.

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  5. Lisa says:

    Umm, so it’s okay to throw stuff at motorists now? If a teen were to do that, I wonder if the same call would have been made. Injury or no injury the offender should have been processed.

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  6. Theresa says:

    It’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and point fingers, but until we all start taking responsibility for our own property, personal safety, and city, nothing will change. We need to start by cleaning house in the city council. Let’s get some people in there that are in touch with the community and its needs, and be willing to make some unconventional decisions about what direction our city is heading. Let’s stop wasting money trying to make Burien look like Bellevue, and start putting the money where it matters. I have lived here my entire life and until recent years have never seen a homeless person in Burien. I have nothing against the homeless as I am aware that many are Veterans, mentally ill, chemically dependent, and just down on their luck because of the economy. I do, however have problems with the homeless when they harass me and ask me for money at gas stations or supermarkets. There are places they can go that are supported by our tax dollars and charitable donations, but most of them do not want to take advantages of these services because they do not want to abide by the rules, (i.e. no alcohol or drugs allowed). The apartment building behind Dominic’s vegetable/fruit stand, (on Ambaum and 134th St) was converted into a halfway house a few months ago, (the police patrol the parking lot often). Dominic’s had to put a fence up around the outside bins to prevent theft from the residents, (which I believe contributed to their decision to go out of business). Since this halfway house has been opened, 124th Ave SW has been littered with syringes and used condoms, (since they aren’t allowed to do drugs in the apartments, they go into the back alley, or down into the woods). Now, a new mental health center is due to open on Ambaum and 136th, so don’t expect any improvements on this issue. I’m not opposed to helping these people; it would just be nice to receive some sort of notification when things like this come into our neighborhoods, because along with them comes increased property crimes and perhaps even assaults. I have said this in other posts, but I HIGHLY recommend signing up for the Burien Citizens Academy. It will change the way you look at our community and our law enforcement. It is everyone’s responsibility to take care of our community and each other. We can’t just wait behind closed doors for things to change, and then complain from behind our computer screens when nothing seems to get done, or when crime happens in our own back yards. I’m not trying to create separation amongst ourselves, but it now seems like people living in the more affluent parts of Burien are now seeing what those of us in north Burien have been experiencing the last few years. It’s sad, but a sign of the times.

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  7. John says:

    Taking responsibility into your own hands usually ends up meaning the cops are called on you and this time they usually take you to jail instead of the petty thief or drunk. But I agree you need to take care of your own neighborhood because typically the police will not come around. In time or if at all.

    As citizens of Burien we should not have to be leery or afraid to walk around our city. The bigger we get, the more lower income or jobless move into this area this is typically what takes place. Yes it happens in richer neighborhoods too. But we’re not talking of richer neighborhoods are we?

    In the instance of the drunk throwing and actually making contact this sure seems like an assault to me. He should have been taken in and I don’t care what you other readers are saying about taxes or how busy the cops are. It should have been followed through so that people like this don’t get away with it.

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  8. William Forest says:

    The problem is we need more police officers on the streets and apparently we don’t because the city cannot afford them.. However apparently in some kind of bizarro world the city council lives in we can afford to annex white center that will need TWICE the number of police to respond to the higher crime rate there. What is that going to do to the response time to the rest of Burien? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out its going to get worse!

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