Gina formed WHIN in response to the increase in property crime in the Whittier Heights area. Washington’s property crime is ranked # 1 in the country according to a recent Seattle Times article, that ironically, was published on the day of WHIN’s first meeting, which included representatives from both the SPD and City Council. WHIN’s first community meeting was at the Loyal Heights Community Center on November 18th 2014. Nearly 150 residents, 7 representatives from the SPD, 1 City Council member and 2 council member representatives were in attendance. The turn out was awe-inspiring to say the least, given this meeting was held during the daytime. The meeting was called to address the concerns over the increase in property crime in the Whittier Heights and surrounding area. The goal of the meeting was to demand action on this issue. Data from data.seattle.gov was presented to show the alarming increasing trend in property crime, and anecdotal evidence was collected to show the decrease in police presence that has been experienced as well as slow 911 response times. The bulk of the meeting was open discussion, and although it lead to open communication and some good problem solving, most of the answers came from community based initiatives. It is clear that the SPD is lacking resources and/or having political issues which are resulting in the inability to provide adequate policing at this time in North Seattle.
The room was over capacity, with an attendance of nearly 150 people and for a daytime meeting, that is pretty amazing. The goal of the meeting was to call for action on the issue not only of property crime but also the decrease in patrols and slow 911 response times which has been experienced by Whittier residents. Since that meeting, WHIN has started weekly evening neighborhood walk patrols, the goals of which being 1) to get to know your neighbors and increase a sense of community and 2) to keep an eye out for crime, reporting back to the police when necessary. We share the belief from other neighborhood groups that this increase in presence from the residents ourselves can help “take back” our community and we hope this leads to more deterent of crime.
A WHIN member has formed The Whittier Heights Patrol Association (WHPA) which will offer private patrols, staffed by off duty SPD officers to increase our police presence in the wake of the crime increase and apparent inadequate police resources. New police are being trained as we speak, but their training won’t be complete until the end of 2015/2016, so we can’t expect large increases in police presence in the short term. To contact WHPA for more details, or to subscribe to this service, email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Gina is now attending the North Precinct Advisory Council (NPAC) monthly meetings, and will be in a focus group on human services within the Council. She is also collaborating with the Greenwood Community Council and is on their Health and Safety Committee. She will continue to be dedicated to issues of health and safety of the Whittier Heights neighborhood. As well as keeping WHIN active, she will serving as a liason with other neighborhood groups and city representatives.