Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Recap of 9th & Pacific Community Forum (I)

BIA Staff and Tacoma Police updated participants at last week's community forum about how conditions have changed since March 2006 (18 months). A progress report was distributed at the meeting, which showed that many of the 22 problems identified by the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council seem to have been fixed. Only two situations--both concerning crime at the corner of 9th & Commerce--were considered worse than before.

Several items generated comments:
  • Lt. Corey Darlington (District 1 Commander) observed that pay phones owned by tenants and/or property owners should only be placed in a location with continuous security monitoring, lest they become a nuisance; he reported that the phones at the Pantages and Theater on the Square have been removed;
  • An attorney representing homeless and low income residents in Tacoma maintained that pay phones are the only means of communication for his clients and others like them, and he opposed the suggestion that all pay phones should be removed;
  • A representative from Safe Streets announced that both the Winthrop and the Olympus are organizing crime watch activities in their respective buildings;
  • Deanna Neidlinger of Brick CITY took offense at the suggestion that Club Friday kids use intimidation, but BIA indicated that this problem has completely gone away since the report was done;
  • Erica Valley, on site manager for the Winthrop, complained that calling up to residents continues to be a nuisance, and reported that she has asked her tenants to organize and help abate the problem—this effort received acknowledgement.

Assistant Chief Sheehan referred to a draft “Downtown Strategic Plan” created by Lt. Darlington recommending strategies to reduce or eliminate criminal and nuisance behavior in the 9th & Pacific area. It mentions the Martin Luther King Jr. Center as a contributing element to ongoing security problems.

A document showing the volume of BIA security calls for service in early 2006, compared against current incidents, was also shared. It showed a significant drop in calls for service in the area.

Tomorrow: Impact of clubs is debated

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