Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here, Neighbor--Catch This Brick!

Last evening's 9th & Pacific Public Forum was well-attended and laid a good foundation for future collective effort. The BIA and Tacoma police reported back to the community on the progress made in addressing nuisance behavior in this area--it has been substantial--and stakeholders began some constructive dialog around how to address what still needs to be done.

Inevitably, debate flared up about Brick CITY (spelled correctly to reflect that it stands for Community Impact Through Youth) and its impacts on surrounding businesses and residents. Reporter Scott Fontaine's recap in The News Tribune today fairly reflects the light--and heat--thrown out by participants in the forum.

The BIA has agreed to post results from the event here on this blog, as well as providing an online forum for continuing discussion of the situation in the area.

Also reported by


  1. Throwing Bricks at Neighbors?

    Let's hope not.

    Most people and businesses downtown are far too busy to worry about another entity unless things get out of control and intrude on the common areas downtown.

    This weekend will be another chance for Brick City to try to keep their noise level under control and patrons in line so that they do not negatively impact their neighbors, the police do not have to be called and we don't have to see pictures of bizzare bahavior flying around the internet.

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  3. As someone who's not really out at night all that much, it's the problems that happen in broad daylight that aren't connected to any club that have kept me away from 9th and Commerce. Specifically, the loitering at the bus stops. I really used to enjoy taking the bus downtown on the weekends and I just don't do it anymore. I've yet to see any sign this situation has really improved.

  4. Tacoma is hardly alone in its crime and nuisance problems downtown. Many other cities struggle with downtown crime issues as well.

    We can learn alot from their approach.

    New York's subways had alot of vandalism and were out of control and avoided (if possible) by the public until the Transit Police started focusing on smaller crimes to avoid larger ones. They estimated there were
    225,000 incidents of toll evasion each day.

    Not seemingly a large crime. However, it created an atmosphere of lawlessness and escalation to larger crimes.

    Fixing Broken Windows Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities

    When sociologists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling introduced their “Broken Windows” thesis in 1982, it gained immediate attention from academics and policy makers alike. “Broken Windows” finally acknowledged the connection between disorder, fear, crime, and urban decay that has been playing out in America’s cities for decades. Kelling, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, has co-authored his latest book, Fixing Broken Windows, with Catherine M. Coles, a lawyer and urban anthropologist. In it they explain in detail their prescription for solving the pervasive problems of crime and decay in our nation’s urban centers: control disorderly behavior in public places generally and a significant drop in serious crime will follow.

    Rather than relying on the commonly cited, often politicized “solutions” of the day (a tough death penalty, more prisons, “three-strikes-you’re-out”), Kelling and Coles offer fresh new strategies for restoring order to our communities. Indeed, they challenge the very tenets of modern law enforcement orthodoxy, suggesting that police get out of their cars and into the neighborhoods in partnership with private citizens and local civic organizations. Instead of reacting to crime, Fixing Broken Windows champions crime prevention.

    But it is not a passive, “midnight basketball” approach to prevention. Kelling and Coles advocate an aggressive, get-tough confrontation of public disorder in its various forms: vagrancy, vandalism, panhandling, etc. Their approach worked in New York City’s subways, where felonies have fallen by 75% in the 1990s, and all across New York City as former Police Chief William Bratton implemented many of Kelling’s and Coles’ policy recommendations.

    Perhaps Tacoma can consider such an approach.

  5. The general run-down empty feeling on that part of commerce definitely doesn't do anything to encourage an atmosphere of legitimacy.


    Thanks for the kind words about my reporting. I had about 10 minutes to get back to my car, write the story, find a WiFi spot and file it before deadline, so praise is always appreciated.

    I'll be keeping tabs on this story and more of downtown (and, really, the entire city), so anyone can feel free to shoot me an e-mail or call me.

  7. CITY stands for Cultural Influence of Today's Youth