Hundreds of homeowners in the Seattle area are taking crime prevention measures into their own hands– as the police force is “overwhelmed” and property-related crimes are on the rise.
Burglaries, thefts, and open drug deals seem to be everywhere in the areas of Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia and Fremont.
The “blatant lawlessness” described by residents has become increasingly frustrating, especially since the police force ignores non-violent crime calls a lot of the time, because there are just too many of them.
Seattle PD employed nearly 1,300 officers last year- an all-time high for the department – yet citizens still complain about poor police response times because the agency can’t seem to keep pace with demand.
They’ve taken it upon themselves, therefore, to hire security patrols, in areas where property-related incidents are rising, with the city’s growth.
Longtime Ballard resident, Angie Gerrald, says there are illegally parked RVs all over her neighborhood and “piles of used needles” along her usual jogging route. The mayor of Seattle issued an emergency order Tuesday to open two safe-parking sties for vehicles in Ballard. He says they’ll provide temporary locations and a safer environment for the city’s homeless population.
Some neighborhoods have hired private-security agencies to offer a variety of services. Through the agency, “Central Protection,” unarmed guards patrol the streets of Magnolia in a marked vehicle and when they spot a crime, they call 911 to let the police take over.
Police and security experts say it’s common nationwide for communities to hire additional security personnel….but the most important factor to consider with such personnel is their “limited use of force.” They have no more rights than a private citizen.
According to the Seattle Times, subscribers typically pay $250 for every four-hour shift of patrolling.
Then there are other surveillance services, where police officers are employed in off-duty agreements, and work under the same guidelines as they do on-duty. Subscribers typically pay $250 annually “for a handful of off-duty (armed) police officers to conduct random patrols near their homes and businesses.”
The mayor announced recently that the city is putting together a plan to potentially hire more than 100 new police officers, over time.