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Police response times criticized in Ballard

SEATTLE — One Seattle neighborhood is pleading with the city for more cops. Neighbors and businesses in Ballard complain response times are way too slow – sometimes as long as an hour.

The Ballard District Council says slow police response can prolong dangerous and even life-threatening situations. And according to the Seattle Police Department’s own statistics, while major crimes are dropping in other parts of the city, they are slowly going up in the north precinct.

BALLARD SLOW RESPONSE TIMES“It’s always easier, it’s always cheaper, it’s always faster to fix things the closer to the start of the problem,” said Catherine Weatbrook. She’s the chairwoman of the Ballard District Council.

Last spring, an armed man threatening church staff at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church got away and cops didn’t show up for nearly an hour.

“There were a lot of people in the room who helped protect everybody else,” said the Rev. R.C. Laird.

And in July at Salmon Bay Park, it took an hour for cops to respond to a report that a stranger tried to grab two kids.

Concerns about crime in downtown Seattle spurred the mayor to promise more cops and now Ballard says they need help, too.

“We have phenomenal police, we’re not unhappy with individual police officers,” said Weatbrook. “We don’t have enough of them.”

Businesses along Market Street also say it’s time for the city to step up. At the Kukuruza gourmet popcorn shop, a disturbed man terrified employee Cat Whitney.

“I had a man threatening me; they told me they were keeping an eye on him. It took them three hours to get out here when I was working by myself,” said Whitney.

Laird says he’d like to see more cops out of their patrol cars.

“We need a foot beat here in Ballard and I think we need more police whose names we know so we can feel connected to police and feel like police are part of our community,” said Laird.

Parts of Ballard’s population grew by a whopping 25% from 2000 to 2010. The neighborhood council thinks it might be time they get their own precinct

The Seattle Police Department didn’t return a phone call seeking comment regarding this story.

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2 comments

  • ksavo

    Last September, I called the police about a man who was masturbating at the Ballard Commons park.. in open view of everyone. Several kids and small children were playing in the water. Other parents called too. The second time I called them, I was told they were on their way. I waited for an hour so I could point out the man to police. They NEVER came..and I eventually left because the guy was creeping me out!