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How to report neighborhood crime

There has been considerable discussion lately over the best way to combat crime in Phinney/Greenwood. After someone in the Green Lake/Phinney area witnessed a possible drug deal in front of her house, many people wanted to know if they should call 911 when they see someone loitering but not obviously committing a crime.
Travis sent us this note:

I just spoke to an officer who was in the neighborhood attending to an abandoned car, and I asked him about what the best thing to do was regarding reporting drug deals in the neighborhood. He said to call the ACT (Anti-Crime Team) at the North Precinct, 206-684-0850 and tell them about it. They can send unmarked cars to watch the area and start to build up a documented history of problems, etc. He said we could call 911 if we wanted, but since the deals happen so quickly, it’s unlikely that any responding officer would be able to do anything directly. ACT specializes in drug-related crimes.

The Seattle Weekly ran a story on Tuesday specifically about Monday’s PhinneyWood post that brought up this issue. The Weekly writer thought just sitting in a car was “a rather loose definition of suspicious activity,” so he called Seattle Police Department to get the scoop. Here’s what the police told the Weekly.

“I think this was an appropriate response for the officers to tell this particular person for this particular reason that they called,” explains SPD spokesperson Mark Jamieson. “It’s suspicious behavior: if people are sitting in a car outside a quote-unquote drug house, or in an area that has a lot of narcotics activity–you kind of know what the signs are (cars stopping all hours of the night, people getting out, running in, staying five minutes, running off)–police want to know about that.”