City Council told crime down slightly – but that was before a tragic shooting death


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By Jack Mayne

In a long and routine meeting Monday night (Sept. 17), the Burien City Council delved into many intricate changes in internal policy, and also heard that crime was a little bit down and Major crime in Burien was trending downward slightly by Police Chief Ted Boe.

The Chief told the Council Monday night (his Aug. 31 report in The B-Town Blog here), and said that auto collisions are continuing to trend upward.

But that optimism may have dimmed a bit with subsequent police issues Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.

On Wednesday afternoon, a 51-year old woman was killed by a stray bullet in a shooting near SW 152nd Street and 1st Ave South, and on Tuesday night a large fight involving seven or so subjects who jumped a person and knocked them unconscious also injured a police officer near SW 124th Street.

Boe was asked by Councilmember Bob Edgar about response times in the report, which showed response times of near eight minutes for “immediate response” calls such as in progress crimes and panic alarms, but 3.87 minutes for critical crimes including “obvious danger to life of citizens or officer,” and up to over 12 minutes for verbal disturbances or blocking collisions.

Boe said the numbers for the critical crimes call are likely to have more than one officer responding but the times were high.

“It is what it is,” Boe said. “We have X number of calls and this is the math.” He had said earlier that a move to “proactive efforts” in the downtown area and having officers spending more time interacting with citizens has aided the improved acceptance of officers.

Use rate down, price up
In response to Councilmember Nancy Tosta, Seattle City Light Finance Director Kirsty Grainger told the Council that the main reason electricity rates are increasing even as consumption is going down is because of increasing costs of interest on bonds sold to finance the $400 million annual capital construction costs and because of inflation.

Shorewood change comment
Shorewood resident Sue Anderson presented the Council with a 114 resident-signed petition asking the city to not allow high density residential development in the low density area. Others also added comments opposed to allowing the former Burien branch of Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, which closed last year, to become a high density, low-cost rental residential area.

Parks taking over
The Council unanimously approved the city parks director Steve Roemer’s request to bring landscape maintenance services in-house because of escalating costs of contracting out for these services. Roemer said the facility will begin at the end of the current contract on Jan. 1 next year and will be financed from the current budget.

City staff awards
The city manager introduced new employees, including administrative services director Cathy Schrock, building inspector Brad Pihlstrom, school resource officer Isaac Arand and patrol Officer Josh Seeley.

Wilson also presented “Innovative Stewards” award winners, including Mary Eidmann, the community environmental education specialist who also coordinated StormFest, an interactive stormwater festival. Barb Canfield, the Burien code enforcement officer, was cited by Wilson for her excellent and “very hard work” in enforcing city building code rules. Cory Jenkins, parks and facility maintenance supervisor, Ignacio Robledo, parks and facility maintenance worker and Mark Tostenrude, parks and facility maintenance worker.

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