Golden Gardens was selected as one of the hot spots where high criminal activity occurs in the North Precinct.
Golden Gardens 'hot spot' for criminal activity
On Wednesday July 18, Mayor McGinn completed his tour of the North Precinct, the third in a series of visits to each of Seattle Police Department's five precincts.
In visiting the precincts, McGinn’s objectives are to talk to commanders, address challenges in crime prevention and identify “hot spots" -- areas where crime is especially prevelant during the summer months and which have had a concentrated number of 911 calls in the past.
McGinn explained that the North Precinct is large and geographically diverse. He named four areas of the district that have a higher level of criminal activity, including the University district, Fremont nightlife, North Aurora Avenue's “problem hotels” and Ballard’s Golden Gardens.
The mayor explained he got a review of the information the officers see before they go on patrol. They are given a map that shows where crime has occurred in the last two weeks, the last 90 days, and where crimes are trending within their focus patrol areas.
When they go on shift they get a report of what’s happened in the last twenty-four hours, which is updated up to fifteen minutes before they go out on patrol. Officers use these reports to give them an idea of where they need to focus patrols.
“The officers are going out with the information of what’s going on in their patrol areas and its pre-sifted and pre-organized for them so they can focus on what’s most important,” McGinn said.
SPD North Precinct’s Captain, Robin Clark, said that after the World Racer Café incident occurred, what kept the community safe was the communication between the police force and the community. Such communication was the main idea behind Wednesday's exercise.
Clark explained that the North Precinct consists of 32 square miles, with 212 officers that work within the district and that each ear has different strategic demands in crime prevention.
“Our problems are very different depending on where you're looking ... its not a one-size-fits-all approach. To do that you're not going to end up with a success,” Clark said. ”There’s 4 key ingredients that I look at that we need to have to be able to solve a problem ... community involvement and commitment, police involvement, communication between the community and police, and focus on specific problem areas and applying different strategies of crime prevention.”
Clark explained that in Golden Gardens, SPD is focused on theft, parties, alcohol, and citizens following park rules. So far this summer there have only been six sunny day where SPD has ramped up patrolling in the Golden Gardens area. In those six days, officers made 108 instances of answering questions and informing, 56 warnings, and six citations. According to an SPD crime analyst, the six citations were three traffic violations and three parking violations.
“To me that’s a real success, because we’ve only made the six citations ... its hard to measure what we prevent, but I think through our actions of focusing our officers, and the communication and community involvement, we are successful in a lot of areas and applying the right solution to the right problem,” Clark said.
Clark commended MyBallard.com and the Ballard News–Tribune for educating and reminding the public about the rules of the park.
Citizens in Ballard have also noticed the escalated number of patrols concentrated in the Golden Gardens area during high traffic, a.k.a., “sunny days.”
Michele, (who asked not to use her last name) who lives in Ballard and is a stay-at-home mother with two children, said she frequents Golden Gardens 5 days a week with her dog Bo Bo.
“I definitely notice more police cars in the area, especially in the later afternoon and early evening, from 3-6 p.m. The park changes in the evening from families to more young adults hanging out,” Michele said.