Community meeting

White Center holds community meeting after spate of fires and vandalism

Residents met with King County officers to discuss a pattern of fires and property damage – and what can be done to stop the crime.

Residents of the White Center gathered at City Hall on Monday to discuss the upsurge in fires and vandalism in their community.

Some are asking the sheriff’s office to devote more resources to the area. A large group has gathered at Mac’s Triangle Pub to explain why the White Center is not more of a law enforcement priority.

“They only have two units in two cars, from what I can understand. They have separate units and they patrol everywhere, but that is obviously not enough, ”said Tavier De Vil, resident of the White Center.

But others claim that the resources in the White Center are not being used effectively.

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Authorities tried to address community concerns on Monday.

King County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Kennamer said state-level policy changes are among the reasons police may look different when it comes to vandalism.

“Right now, the King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police, anyone who books in King County Jail, we can’t book someone for property torts,” Kennamer said. . “If someone came and smashed that window right there, I could catch it.” But I can’t take this guy to jail. The police cannot resolve this, it is up to our elected officials to resolve this.

Meanwhile, the memory of the fire that burned the Lumber Yard Bar and several other businesses in July is still fresh.

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Authorities said the fire was being investigated as a hate crime, but wanted to assure the public that while the White Center has seen quite a few fires, they are not coordinated.

“I totally understand because it looks like the whole neighborhood is on fire,” said Scott Case, fire investigator, King County Sheriff’s Office. “What I’m saying is we don’t have one mad arsonist on the loose burning every building in the area.” “

At the end of the meeting, some participants felt that City Hall could be the first step towards a solution.

“There’s not much you can do in a meeting like this, but it’s really good to bring us all together,” De Vil said.

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