Growing crime, slow police response prompts private security in Queen Anne
SEATTLE -- Queen Anne is latest Seattle neighborhood planning to hire private security to solve what they call a growing crime problem with little police presence and response in their neighborhood.
"I don't remember the last time I saw a police car on Queen Anne, including the avenue," said John Compatore, the man leading the charge to get the "Queen Anne Patrol Association" off the ground.
Compatore, a former police officer with the Oakland Police Department, says he realizes officers in Seattle are strapped. That's why neighbors on Queen Anne want to hire private security or off duty police to help reduce crime in their community.
"This is only going to get worse if somebody doesn't take control," said Compatore. "If somebody else doesn't step up - we will."
Seattle Police say they want to understand the concerns of residents, and do their best to help solve the issues neighbors are concerned about.
"Public safety comes first and I don't think anybody could dispute that," said Compatore.
Some say the homeless living near and around Nickerson Street have brought problems into the neighborhood with trash dumping, illegal RV parking and drug issues.
But neighbors like Evan Conklin say it's property crimes like burglaries, package thefts and car prowls that aren't priority for police, and that has neighbors angry and worried.
"It makes me want to stop paying my taxes," said Evan Conklin who lives on Queen Anne. "Quite honestly I feel like I'm paying for a service I'm not getting."
Every member of Conklin's family has been the victim of a car prowl. Even Conklin's work truck was stripped of $30,00 dollars worth of equipment while parked in his backyard. He says the police response to the theft was slow and in some case there was no response at all.
"It's a bad feeling," said Conklin. "It makes me want to consider moving somewhere else."
Queen Anne joins the ranks of other Seattle communities like Magnolia, Laurelhurst, Windermere and Whittier Heights who pay out of pocket for security to keep their neighborhood safe.
A meeting organized by the Queen Anne Patrol Association will be held at the Queen Anne Baptist Church on January 14 at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public, and the group is seeking professionals to help get the patrols organized.