Big turnout for private security patrols

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 by Sara

By reporter Steven Smalley

The United Church of Christ had a full house Saturday with about 200 neighbors present to hear Joe Villarino explain the nuts and bolts of the private security patrol idea for Magnolia. He spoke to receptive audience.
With hand after hand shooting up with questions, Villarino and a neighborhood off-duty Seattle police officer did their best to answer them. Although some inquiries were too politically sensitive for our man in uniform, Villarino did his best to reply in his stead.
Meanwhile more than a dozen enthusiastic attendees wanted to pay the estimated $250 yearly fee on the spot to begin service. Villarino wouldn?t take a cent until by-laws are written, a governing board is set up, and a plan is put in place. Vigorous calls from the floor to, ?take the money,? were rebuffed citing the lack of financial infrastructure.

A meeting for those who spoke of a desire to work on the volunteer board is this Thursday night. Several would-be board members stood and spoke. Villarino stated he has met with private patrol administrators from Laurelhurst, Whittier Heights, and Windermere where triumph over much property crime was a considered a success.
A lively crowd, many of whom were victims of thieves themselves, gave testimony along with pointed questions. In the end it was clear more time was needed ?to authorize patrol services. Many in attendance wanted them to commence immediately.
No one spoke against the idea.
Downtown news media deemed this Magnolia story important enough to send news crews to our neighborhood including KOMO, KIRO, and KING. A documentary film maker was also in present rolling on the meeting for a future presentation on policing and communities.
Villarino estimates patrols could begin in May. He asks those with questions to email:
See the KIRO story HERE.

82 responses to “Big turnout for private security patrols”

  1. merline says:

    Because property crimes against rich white people are the most critical issue facing the city today.

  2. Heywood says:

    You’d be right there if your home was broken into and your stuff ripped off. This isn’t about race or wealth. It’s about security in one’s person.

  3. Kittyboy309 says:

    Full house, how in god?s name can say that you had a full
    house when in fact the back doors didn?t have to be slid open to truly accommodate
    a not so big turnout after all. It was
    announced that there are 20,000 people in Magnolia with only 200 in attendance,
    this is only 1%. It was also announced
    that 90% of the room were not anywhere related to the Village area but in fact it
    was all the 28th & west side, Discovery Park and Dravus neighborhoods. I
    think you need to go back to school, did you flunk math, you are incorrectly
    reporting crime in Magnolia. There were
    several questions that went unanswered as people were told that this was not
    the time or place, can you honestly look yourself in the mirror and admit that
    you printed all of the truth and not just what you wanted everyone to
    hear? !
    I guess this is why you don?t report for the New York Times, Wall Street
    Journal and/or the Barron?s.

    • MrObvious says:

      Room looks full to me. Your disappointment, negativity and lack of ideas is duly noted.

    • JoeV says:

      That’s a great number and typically the conversion rate since it was all done by social media is what you would expect in any marketing platforms that you are promoting online. We had 200+ in attendance from our sign up sheet and online. We had 50+ people online on a skype call and about 1000 hits to the website in the last 24 hours. We are averaging one or two signups to our newsletter updates an hours. I think the word is getting out. Also, people that sign up have to register there address and phone number to confirm if they are a Magnolia residents. It appears that you must of misunderstood the comments which I have everything on video and recorded. We have nothing to hide. You must been in the wrong meeting because this was discussed at the Magnolia Community Council last week. These people came by choice for some action that they need to address on property crime. The numbers are real from SPD which is clear that it was only a week snap shot of property crimes, Well you have a choice of being part of the solution or be part of the problem. But, I’m just the facilitator and there is a need and concern of this issue. You will benefit on the patrol coverage if you paid or not. The other patrol groups had less than 50+ people and have grown to 350 in 7 years because it does work. SPD is doing a great job under the circumstances, but we as a community can help with Block Watch, Security System in place, and extra patrols that are visible in our neighborhood. You can see the comments and video of the meeting on the website. I guess you are willing to pay more property tax which is on its way to help with SPD resources which will be 2017. But, we will have open arms when the time comes that you become a victim of a property crime. Thank you for your comments.

      • Kittyboy309 says:

        I would rather pay higher taxes that way everyone benefits
        when they hire more police which is the real issue. As for being robbed, you bet I was, a few
        years back when someone was breaking into homes in Magnolia and steeling just women?s
        jewelry. I was one of these people, they
        cleaned me out, 45 years of jewelry some heirloom that can never be
        replaced. The big difference here is I
        am not stopping there, I am telling all of the truth, which is missing from the
        rest of the stories you are reporting. I
        did not have my alarm system on and left the bathroom window open upstairs, so
        who is at fault, me, there is no one to blame but me and I am owning up to that!
        You can bet that I make sure that I put the alarm on every time I leave the
        house and make sure that no windows are left open. We have also added surveillance cameras.

        • JoeV says:

          There nothing wrong with that if you can wait until 2017 great but I have lived here for over 50+ years and the SPD coverage has not change since I was born. One patrol car. But, SPD has already admitted by there own stats and our neighborhood beat officer that there is rise of crime in Magnolia small but significant enough Sgt. Gracie mentioned it at the Magnolia Community Council meeting last week. Please elaborate the story that is missing and the time and place. If it was said at the meeting which was recorded please identify where in the video. It will be on the website soon.

      • Magnolia says:

        I agree with you Joe. Well said. Also I forgot to sign in the sign in sheet at the meeting. I think for those of us who want to pay for this, it will only benefit everyone?so I just don’t see any negativity about it.

    • Heywood says:

      Settle down, big fella. Come up from the basement and take a breath.

  4. sarahH says:

    Considering people went out of their way to go, I think attendance was good. The cop at our block watch meeting said crime here had gone up in what was considered a significant amount. To me, the numbers aren’t really an issue. If people have been burglarized (and I have) and I want to help pay for security, what is it to you that disagree? Yeah, I don’t want someone robbing us while we’re home–I’ve got children. White people’s crime vs. what? Crime is crime and if people in Magnolia want to try to lessen it, why on earth, wouldn’t a person support it? Why get all annoyed that it’s a service we pay for with taxes? Clearly, we need more police but don’t have them–being proactive is smart. If you don’t agree, don’t participate, it’s pretty simple.

  5. Green Caribou says:

    The problem, as I see it, is that there is someone waiting in the wings to capitalize financially on this “issue”. Show me genuine statistical trend. Here is a trend to think about: According to SPD crime maps, there was a drop from 30 burglaries and car prowls in December to 19 in January; October 2009 had the highest single month of property crime rate from 2008 to 2013, but Feb 2009 was among the lowest for that same period.

    • JoeV says:

      Yes, the profit will be going to the off-duty police officers since we are filing for a non-profit status. The statistics will always be fluid and I agree that trends do change with the tide of politics, jobs and everything you can think of you. As far as the comments of significant increase I would have to refer you to the SPD Sgt who stated that at the Magnolia Community Council last week there words not mine. Again it will be your choice to decide and whatever you decide you will receive the benefits of extra patrols in your neighborhood block and hopefully if you are not already been a victim of property crime. Thank you for your comments.

      • Green Caribou says:

        In which case you must have access to those statistics. I want to see the actual numbers. Publish them if you think they will really help your cause. The biggest issue seems to be property crime. That is the data I want to see; the raw numbers. It is virtually impossible to tease it out because the terminology and classification changes for the data from different years and different reports.

        • JoeV says:

          I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that you didn’t know about the SPD’s online crime map. It is public and anyone can access this information. This is where anyone can look at any SPD calls and reports.

          This is from there Records Management System which can give you more detailed information about events. If you have a twitter account you can follow: SeattlePDQ1 which is Magnolia area and when a report is generated I have it set to alert notification and receive it by text alert on what incident has just occurred.

  6. Green Caribou says:

    Call me a cynic, but I see red flags all over the place.

    Joe claims his patrol association is non-profit. From the MPA FAQ: “The Magnolia Patrol Association is either applying to register as a Non profit in the State of Washington or finding a fiscal sponsor to manage our financial assets.” So it is NOT a non-profit; they should not be collecting a dime until their financial structure and governance is in place. And by the way, non-profit does not = volunteer.

    The MPA Web site is a promotional site that contains no crime data; The blog prominently printed the letter regarding initial report of the mistaken luring incident, but did not bother to print a correction. That is not serving the community.

    According to their FAQ $250 buys 4 hours of patrol time. So if fully 10% of the residents pony up (2,000 people) that’s $500k for a single patroller for an area approximately 3x the size (5x including Discovery Park) of Laurelhurst and 5x the number of residents, I bet that has the criminals shaking in their boots. What is the value of all the property crime? Sound like the most expensive insurance available that won’t necessarily help you. You could still get robbed, car-prowled, etc.

    How does that compare with an alarm service? Comcast and ADT seem to run in the $30-40/mo MPA encourages, monitors your property 24/7, and may also give you discount on your insurance.

    The security company is most certainly not not-for-profit. This whole thing sounds like someone from the private security industry whipping up paranoia and offering a solution that financially benefits…the private security industry, while minimally benefitting the individual.

    MAYBE there is some marginal reduction in crime, but I bet it is dwarfed by the amount of money flowing out.

    • JoeV says:

      I guess you are right that you are a cynic and since it seems that I have my name, and my face of a real person on this discussion board and talking to a Green Caribou than your real name to hide and run, but I do appreciate that you brought that up on the website and yes it probably needs some corrections and there are people willing to help out in making this happen. The website is a mirror of the other patrol association which will change once our status is filed and board members are on board. What’s your motivation and what’s in it for you to find these minor mistakes which I will admit. You are right I don’t have a crime data, because the SPD site speaks to itself on the statistics which is accurate. Yes, the site is more informational on how this program works. Thank you for bring up the correction on the luring incident which I was not aware of and I will correct it, Some of the property crimes that are taken from the victims are priceless. Kittyboy309 had 45 years of jewelry of heirlooms that are priceless and he will not be able to pass it down to his family. If you have a better solution we would love to hear it. The security companies don’t need to whip up an paranoia because if you ever worked in security its mostly because they come to them for solutions that protect there assets. The police agencies are in a bind for additional money and resources so private security is growing more across the country. I would of think twice of organizing this program if I know that is was not working at the other neighborhoods, but instead they are growing and been around over 7 years.

      • 30th and Bertona says:

        I sent you an email with my real name. I read with concern the story on the Blog under “armed robbery” which said using off duty police was a bad way to go, and that a private company (in their case Securitas) worked better. Will you be researching this or have you already decided that off duty police are the way to go? That information made me wonder if my existing security system which offers an add on of a patrol coming within 30 minutes (ADT) isn’t enough. I am attracted to your idea but leery of using off duty police.

      • Green Caribou says:

        1: JoeV is not your name, either, so lets take that childish response out of the equation. My name is plastered all over the MV FB articles.

        2: You are responsible for selling this plan, therefore it is your responsibility to provide the statistics to prove that the investment you are asking people to make is actually a good value, and that the perception you are claiming or allowing to persist – the sustained, dramatic (800%?) increase in crime – is real. You keep reverting to anecdotes. That smacks of hucksterism.

        3: I have been looking at the SPD stats. On the MV FB I even included screen shots of what I found (which I can’t do here). The stats I quoted here are right off the SPD site.

        4: Individual stories are sad and I am not suggesting that it doesn’t suck to have happen. I sympathize with the people. But your narrative is not, “we live in one of the safest neighborhoods in Seattle, but crime is still a problem, so if you are concerned about property crime let’s investigate options together.” Your narrative is, “I am a security expert and you have big and growing problem. I have a solution for you, complete with vendor already picked out. Just hand over your money and sign on the dotted line.”

        5: Your site encourages businesses or individuals to get multiple subscriptions. Wouldn’t those subscribers have a reasonable expectation of more frequent patrols and a higher level of protection? How does that benefit everyone equally (another claim you make). How does having more patrols in the village prevent property crime near Discovery Park or along the Gilman/Thordyke corridor, or out by the locks?

        6: You keep bringing up Laurelhurst. I think that is a poor comparison. As I have pointed out, it is geographically a completely different place. It covers 1/5 the area; it has about 1/5 the population; it does not have a concentration of apartments; it is not bordered by a major industrial corridor; it is virtually entirely residential other than along Sand Point Way. We have the village and businesses along Thorndyke and Gilman, not to mention the whole industial zone of Interbay, Fisherman’s Terminal, and Commodore Way, and the city’s largest park.

        7: Just because the services are growing does not mean they are a good investment.

  7. wtmaster737 says:

    Joe, would you please elaborate on your statement, “The website is a mirror of the other patrol association which will change once our status is filed and board members are on board.” Is the MPA (non-profit) going to morph into Seattle Security, Inc. (for-profit), eventually? I would appreciate it if you could assure Magnolia residents that the one entity doesn’t have a vested interest in the other.

    • Joe Villarino says:

      Sure, Whittier Height uses Seattle Security, Inc, for there off-duty police officers that is what there advisory board decided. What I mean by mirror is that they have gone through the same issues that commented negatively or find a way to discredit anything that they feel is important. That is just one person. There website was there starting point which I use while I was doing the research on the problem in Magnolia. MPA advisory board will look into a combination of private security companies and other sites that provide commissioned police officers like That is why we did not accept any money until we have filed as a non-profit and have our board in place. I can tell you the board members are attorneys, council members, police officers, security manager, residents, and business owners so there is a vested interested in the community who are understands the issues and have asked to participate in this process.

  8. ksb says:

    A sincere thank you to Joe V. for organizing and researching this idea. Unfortunately this situation is similar to the issue Seattle Public Schools has. Only so much tax base to spread to a large number of schools, so the parents of our local public schools hold auctions and fundraisers to raise money to augment the services provided in the schools. I see this as the same. It’s unfortunate that we have to do so… but it’s the reality.

    If you don’t agree… you don’t have to participate. I only am questioning why you would come onto a neighborhood blog and insut the person who runs this blog as well as Joe who is organizing this for our community on his own time. It’s unnecessary and unkind.

    As low a “priority” as this property crime seems… NO ONE deserves to feel unsafe knowing that their house is a target. Think about if criminals broke in during the day to find you or your children home alone… what would happen? That’s unsetteling. And so because we cannot get the coverage from SPD and the response times we need… we’re choosing to augment those services with our own.

    • Joe Villarino says:

      Thank you for your support. I always say you can be part of the solution or be part of the problem. I sincerely believe in this program because I would suspect that the increase of property crimes around the country are moving toward private security. This is a trend which other neighbors across the country will look into our story of helping your community and being pro-active. I will be less active on this blog since I have a lot to work on and again if there is any questions, please email Thank you.

    • Magnolia says:

      I agree with you. Thanks, Joe for all your hard work. Also for the people who are questioning it, you don’t have to pay. If some of us want to pay & it benefits the community, then so be it. I honestly think the sooner we get this started, the better. As more people see the benefits, then maybe we will get more subscribers.

  9. Green Caribou says:

    Since JoeV seems unwiling to actually provide statistics, here is what I have found:

    There are graphs for property crimes for 2008-2013 The definition of what is being graphed is defined as property crimes (which seems to be the major issue in this discussion) “includes Burglary, Larceny-theft and Auto Theft.” Adding up the data points from the 2013 graph (I tried to be as accurate as possible) there were approx 462 reports in this category. Using that definition I looked at the 2014 spreadsheet Q1 Burglary Total, Larceny Theft Total, and Auto Theft. There were 650 reports in those categories, which translates to about a 20% increase. (How did KOMO come up wiht 800%?)

    However, the graph appears to show that 2013 was probably somewhat below aveage, and in 2009 there were 589, comparable to 2014, but unusally high. So tell me, is this a trend, or an anomoly?

    Looking more recently at the crime report map and moving the map to only include Magnolia (sorry folks N of the park, I wanted to eliminate Ballard from the picture) I discovered that January 2015 was actually by far the lowest in 5 months for burglary and car prowl reports, 19 compared to a high of 35 in November.

    Will the Magnolia Voice report that as a 45% reduction in those crimes? Will you include that 2014 was on par with 2009 for property crime? Will you include that 2013 was probably below average and publish the graph?

    • Heywood says:

      What’s the saying about lies, damned lies, and statistics? What is not taken into account is the number of unreported crimes. From all accounts, it’s a significant number. Victims understand nothing will happen if police are called because their car was broken into, or other property crimes occur. Even the 9-1-1 call center says they won’t send officers if the value is under $1500. No cop, no report, no statistics. Now you tell the lady who had her $200 wedding ring stolen that it’s not a statistical big deal. Ask her how she feels. I’ve personally had several cars’ contents stolen over the years. I never called police. Why bother? The officers just roll their eyes.

      • Green Caribou says:

        I’m not denying that, but that doesn’t change the narrative of the supposed increasing crime. This whole thing is predicated on the perception that crime is radically on the rise. 800%!!! I don’t think it is out of line to ask for some proof of that. If the person making the statement isn’t backing it up I will remain skeptical.

        If people want to spend their money that’s their business, I am just not convinced that it is a wise investment.

      • Joe Villarino says:

        You are correct most victims who again are victims of a property crime will not report it by choice because most times police agencies will file it and hope they would recover it during raids that carry stolen property for resell on craigslist.

      • Katie says:

        Hum how do you know all of this if it isn’t reported, you didn’t mention if you are one of the idiots that left something in their car so of course they keep coming back.

    • Joe Villarino says:

      The Komo4 report captured a snap shot of February 1-7. 2014 with 4 reports and February 1-7, 2015 with 36 reports and was also confirmed with Kiro7, King5, and Channel 13. Again, the numbers are fluid and will change on a daily basis, but, police agencies do there best to analyze the statistics on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to provide coverage using emphasis patrols to saturate with undercover patrols and PD officers on the ground which does work well. You have to remember criminals adjust and understand how they work its there profession to hit and run and dump the merchandise for cash or drugs. The reason I know some of these tactics because these criminal have a lot time on there hands waiting in jail and as a prior correction officers you babysit and talk and ask a lot of questions about there craft. This is there lively hood. They don’t care if they hit your house more than once.

  10. FourHourTour says:

    I am definitely less enthusiastic about this plan after having attended the meeting. The off-putting “I can’t discuss how we operate” secrecy from SPD combined with the lack of prepared information on the current crime trends made it very difficult to weigh whether this is a viable solution to our property crime problem. Realistically, how much reduction in property crime can be expected from one officer in an unmarked vehicle doing random 4 hour patrols in an area as huge as Magnolia? It seemed like the primary deterrent will be that the criminals will hear about the patrols and pick a different neighborhood. Is that what happen in Laurelhurst or are there actually more arrests in the neighborhoods that use private patrols?

    • Heywood says:

      The point of the patrols is to not tell the public the level of service. It would alert the bad guys. Laurelhurst put out the word the patrols were on the prowl and property crime was drastically reduced. You have true believers in that neighborhood. They’ve had paid patrols for seven years.

      • FourHourTour says:

        Yeah, people understand there is a level of secrecy required to make the patrols work. I just expected Joe and the SPD to have a stronger argument that this specific plan could work for reducing property crime in Magnolia given the geographic size and additional resources being considered. Thankfully for us, it looks like there will be plenty of people willing to give this a try without any goals or guarantees.

    • Magnolia says:

      I would go on line to “Seattle Crime Map”. Look at the crimes in Magnolia – your address. Then search for an address in Laurelhurst and look at theirs. I’ve been monitoring this for a few months now and there is a big difference in the crime rate in Magnolia vs Laurelhurst. 7 years ago Laurelhurst had an increase in crime and got the off-duty police and crime went way down. So I do think it is helping them and hopefully it will help us too.

  11. Fish says:

    How about before we decide to spend a ton of money on this we do a few other measures that would cost us next to nothing… First of all, there is an entire “RV Park” along Gilman Ave/Dravus. Why don’t we either remove the parking or make it 2-4 hrs? Furthermore, I feel a heck of a lot more threatened by people speeding on Thorndyke and from the Magnolia Bridge than anything else. When is the last time someone coming up the Magnolia Bridge actually stopped for people at the crosswalk? Don’t tell me for a second that the occasional car prowler or robbery is a greater threat to my well being than the reckless drivers and the RVs down by the train tracks that I encounter every single day..

  12. Green Caribou says:

    So that “800% increase” in crime was apparently a one-week snapshot of last year and this year. Did that get mentioned at the meeting?

    If people are really willing to lay $250 on the odds that the additional patrol car, even 2 of them, are likely to be in the right place at the right time in the 3.8 square miles of Magnolia to stop a smash-and-grab? Do you think the mischevious teens, drug money thieves and the like are really scared of that?

    • Heywood says:

      Here’s a question for you ? what ax are you grinding? Whose water are you carrying? You act as though you’re having food taken out of your mouth. ‘Fess up. What’s the agenda here? Don’t tell me it’s simply altruistic. Your whole diatribe is tedious. Go to lunch. Won’t you go to lunch?

      • tired of Heywood says:

        He’s giving an opinion Heywood. Where is yours? Having an opinion different than yours is normal. It isn’t an ax to grind. Weigh in with something coherent or go eat your bag lunch yourself.

      • Green Caribou says:

        Geez, I seem to have hit a hot point where you are accusing meof something and won’t accept any answer I give! I am not grinding an ax (I don’t personally know anyone on either side of this issue) and I am carrying water for no one.

        From the MPA Website: “Due to an ongoing issue of rising crime in our neighborhood…”

        Since the entire premise is based on the notion of “rising crime” I am asking for evidence it is actually true. I haven’t been able to find it. It has nothing to do with whether there is crime in a neighborhood less than 5 miles for the center of a major metropolitan city; of course there is. I am looking for the data to match the perception; the perception that is being supported by the marketing.

        There is selective editing going on:

        For an organization supposedly so tuned in to neighborhood crime and using the media, I find it interesting that the biggest crime story of the last week, the luring incident, made it into their blog but the resolution, that it was not actually a luring incident, didn’t.
        Statements about “an 800% increase in crime” are allowed to hang out there without any explanation and without acknowledging it was based on a one week sample from one year to the next.

        My own look at the data speaks a different narrative than what is being presented. I may be wrong; the data may be there to support the perception, but it is not unreasonable to ask the person/organization presentng the problem and selling the solution to provide it.

        I’m not trying to tell people they should or shouldn’t do it. I just believe my neighbors deserve a more complete picture than what has been presented so far before signing their checks.

        • Magnolia says:

          Search google for Seattle Crime Map. Look at the 911 incidents by your address (tells what happens in the last 24 hours). Then look at the police reports. Put in a date range of anything you want?like 12/1/2014 today. Then you can further narrow it down by just looking for burglaries and car prowls. You will be amazed at how many there have been. Then if you do the same for last year – you will see the difference. Crime has definitely increased! I believe the off-duty patrols will help deter it. It is working in Laurelhurst. They implemented 7 years ago and Joe has their info. Their crime is down to nothing now that they have the off-duty patrols.

          • Green Caribou says:

            That is exactly what I did in my statistical analysis. For example, there were 7 car thefts in Jan 2015. There were 7 in 2014. There were 10 burglaries (12 if you count 15th Ave W) in 2015 and 10 in 2014. The 2014 stats come from here (we are beat Q1): If you go to the statistics tab you will see that 2013 was a below average year for crime in the neighborhood, and 2009 was above. Comparing that to the 2014 YTD numbers 2009 was nearly equivalent to last year in terms of property crime. I also look at the fact that in 2014, in our neighborhood with 3% of the city’s population we had about 1.7% of the property crime in 2014.

            I am absolutely not denying it happens. I know 2 people whose houses have been hit. What I am questioning is the perception that the neighborhood is going down the drain and that this is the best investment of time, energy, and money to save it.

  13. Green Caribou says:

    Here is a statistic I would like regarding Laurelhurst: How many houses there have security systems? When were they installed? Is there a correllation between that and the (supposed) crime reduction?

    Sadly, I have no idea how to get that sort of information.

    • roger fillerman says:

      My two neighbors were robbed and they both had armed security systems. The savvy intruders knew no one would come in the time it would supposedly take for the police to show up.
      I am more interested in the relationship between the private security companies mentioned in the other post on armed robberies and the supposedly poor quality of patrolling done by the off duty police. I signed up for the email information, but I pay $50 a month for ADT and paying for patrols who don’t circle my neighborhood at least once an hour seems like it won’t deter anything. I do think that signs posted that say our neighborhood is being patrolled might make the thieves move on. The crime spot of the RVs who are parked permanently cannot be moved out, and if they are the source of the problems it just seems like arming our homes will be a better use of the money.

  14. Green Caribou says:

    BTW getting away from the stats for the moment, credit where credit is due: I do appreciate, regardless of other issues, that they are doing their financial homework, staying above board, and refusing to accept contributions until there is a clear financial structure in place.

  15. dougie says:

    $250 a year is nothing but it sounds fishy that an amount is deemed appropriate when there is no way to tell how may people are willing to contribute. THAT does not smell right. The right way to do this is to say $50,000 (or whatever the number is) buys the community 1 security in the neighborhood for 24 hours (or whatever the time period is). What is NEEDED ASAP is people to join this governing board; have complete control over who is engaged in the “non profit” and the ability to remove anyone; and have complete control over the money; research options and clearly communicate to the community that “X” dollars buys you “Y” service.

    If more than X is raised then that money can be applied to pay for next years services with reduced rates to all subscribers, or refunded to people, or increase the level of security. There needs to be complete transparency and no control vested in one person. There are professionals of every strip in this community and you folks need to step up in numbers that provide for some redundncy.

    Oh, and non profit does not mean no one is profiting. I could set up a non profit and pay myself $200,000 a year salary; thats entirely legal. What we need is security and not funding someone’s security business start up, not to say that is whats being proposed here but its not clear that its not what’s being proposed here.

    Oh all you people badgering about needing proof there is a crime problem, just go away. Seattle has a ridiculously high property crime problem for a long time and that is not changing anytime soon. No one need to waste any more time research. The community voted on the significance of the problem by showing up to the meeting.

    • Green Caribou says:

      That would be the 1% of the neighborhood. Just thought I’d point that out.

      Again, I am not saying there isn’t a problem; I’m saying I haven’t seen convincing evidence it is getting significantly worse and that it warrants the kind of breathless crisis reporting and response with people lining up to throw money at a solution that has been pre-selected for them by an organization that as yet has no formal governance. That’s also why I say good on them for refusing to accept it.

    • Katie says:

      No one is looking at this correctly Lauralhurst only has 10,000 people Magnolia has 20,000 that translates to $250 Laurahurst vs $500 Magnolia a year at least that what it would have been in math class did something change in basic math?

      • Green Caribou says:

        Actually, depending on what the actual service area for the Laurelhurst patrols is, they have about 4400 residents in .8 sq miles. That is roughly 1/5 the poulation in 1/5 the area; it is not bordered by a major industrial zone (unless you count the the hospital); it doesn’t have any commercial zones other than Sand Point Way (I have no idea if those businesses are included in the service area); there is no major concentration of apartments. Even if you exclude Discovery Park (but there are residences there, too) Magnolia is roughly 3.5 times the size. The park is about the same size as Laurelhurst.

        Whittier Heights certainly has more through-traffic than Magnolia or Laurelhurst with with 15th, 65th, 80th, 85th, and 8th all major arterials with a lot of businesses, but it is tiny geographically (.5 sq miles). That’s roughly 1/7 the size of Magnolia.

  16. Green Caribou says:

    A comment I posted on the Magnolia Voice FB page yesterday containing some of the stats questioning the legitimacy of this “crisis” was removed. Other comments from people thanking Joe and saying how bad thigs are were left in tact. Maybe that tells me everything I need to know about the “reporter’s” agenda.

  17. elas says:

    Of course, more patrols public or private would be great but it’s unclear to me:
    1. That crime has really increased (certainly there’s been a lot of anecdotal information about this but so far no valid statistical data to back it up)
    2. That patrols would be the most beneficial use of our money
    3. That an additional patrol in Magnolia would have any meaningful effect on crime.

    It’s great that so many people are interested in reducing crime in the area and we should be thankful to have such neighbors but simple dumping money into the first option that presents itself might not be so wise. And this idea of “you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution” is a little too GW Bush “you’re either with us or against us” for my tastes. Will a security company sign up for commitments to actual % reduction in crime as part of their guarantee?

    • Katie says:

      Great, finally someone that wants to get to the bottom of things. How about taking a look around. Do you have a yard that is overgrown, when you leave your car do you make sure that you didn’t leave anything in it, do you alarm your house when you are not there, do you have outside lights on all night, do you have an active block watch in your neighborhood? The only way to stop crime is to stop encouraging it.

    • suzanne on Viewmont says:

      totally agree. Sounds like someone is “the enemy” if they don’t go with the party line. Exactly like Bush. Joe’s solution, a good solution, isn’t the only one…and asking questions isn’t being unpatriotic!

    • Green Caribou says:

      My wife and I wonder if an equivalent reduction could be achieved through old-fashioned neighborhood networking; caring about and looking out for each other. Our neighbors call us when our dog gets out, they feed our cat and take in our mail when we’re gone, etc. I tell them if someone is house sitting. I have called them if I’ve seen their garage door left open, seen weird activity, etc. Even the neighbors we don’t know well we are on at least see-and-wave familiarity with most of them.

      • beth on 30th says:

        You are fortunate. My neighbors are boorish asses. Everyone out for themselves. Network caring in my case means I looked out for a neighbor with a broken water line spewing down the street… who later reported me for having spotlights on my yard that bothered her…two years ago. Now that I adjusted them she probably wishes they showed her yard at night too, given this current discussion! Many people are nice, many aren’t. In “Freezing Seattle” counting on neighbors isn’t the way to go….

  18. ron says:

    Happy to see folks getting involved. If we depend on the police? We will be the ones who loose.Pay for security.Our homes are all very expensive. We can afford it. Cut down on a few nail salon visits. Protect your biggest asset. Hired security will help. It sure will not hurt. Are you willing to take the risk with your home? And what happen when one of these bad guys decide to do more than just steal your family jewels.
    My children and wife are my most important assets. Not some iPad.
    Stats are for bigger crimes. Those like ours are not reported. This is not a MBA report. This is where we live.Protect or be a victim.
    It’s not homeland security. It is security at home.

    • elas says:

      Even if you don’t think the police are going to find the criminal, it’s worth reporting the incident so the stats are tracked. It’s really easy to do. I’ve done this myself although I’ve never had an incident in Magnolia.

      And as far as I can tell, Magnolia does not have a violent crime problem.

  19. Magnolia says:

    For those of you who are questioning the crime stats, all you have to do is go on Seattle Crime Map and look at the 911 incidents for Magnolia. Today 2 car prowls and 1 burglary. The other day was about the same. I’ve been looking daily now for quite a while & it’s a lot of burglaries and car prowls/thefts happening daily or every other day. Too much for me. Joe doesn’t need to provide the stats as they are there for everyone to see for themselves. This is why I am ready to help pay for the added patrols to help our community be safer. Laurelhurst crime went down with the extra patrols and I suspect we will experience the same. It’s just another preventative thing we can do to deter crime. I don’t see anything negative with having extra patrols?it is bound to help. If not, then of course I’m sure our board will re-assess and we can change directions, but for now since we have 3 communities that have successfully implemented this and we have the means to do it ourselves, I think it’s a good idea.

    • maybe yes and maybe no says:

      But posters have said again and again that we are a bigger area and a more diverse population. And there is no reason to believe off duty cops are a better choice than a private security system or a private security firm. I respect the fact that Joe has organized all this, but his background is with the police (is this incorrect?) so I don’t know that he is the person to make an unbiased opinion about whether a private security firm or off duty police are the best way to go. Simply “doing it” by writing a check is NOT in my opinion the way I am going to go. I am convinced there is plenty of property crime in Seattle and I pay for a security system and use it along with alternating lights that go on in my home. I won’t pay for any patrolling company or off duty policemen without seeing something distributed to everyone who signs on showing a decrease in crime that resulted from the use of that particular form of patrolling in a neighborhood the size of Magnolia and with such diverse neighborhoods.

    • Green Caribou says:

      I haven’t seen the stats to back up those claims either. Not easy to do for Laurelhurst since the “beat” in the SPD stats since the neighborhood of Laurelhurst is a tiny part of the “beat” (L3) that appears on the SPD stats, which extends all the way up to NE 125th. Whittier Heights is maybe 1/3 of the area of B3

  20. WG says:

    Taking a good look at Crime Maps for Magnolia convinces me that we should do more as a community to prevent crime. Some of the comments (Green Caribou, etc.) suggesting that perhaps we really don’t have the increase in crime in our community necessary to hire patrols seems mistaken – crime at our present level is already too much. I think focusing on the need for ‘statistics’ is beside the point and is outside of what is relevant to us. This is a community news blog after all.

  21. Harold & Maude says:

    OK, I’m a Magnolia resident with several decades of living here and enjoy a robust retirement from thirty years in law enforcement – my prior life. Now that I’ve posted my thin credentials time to move on.

    Has anyone stopped to think that Seattle Security, Inc (SS,I) appears to be the sole contractor of choice at this time? Is anyone truly aware that SS,I is a for-profit business solely owned and solely operated by the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG)? Are 98199 residents aware of the history of SPOG and its impact on the City as a whole? Whether anyone is aware or not I’d suggest do your homework before jumping into throwing $$$$$ at a venture such as this.

    I’d also ask that Joe provide his credentials in the real world of security. Credentials such as actual extended security management responsibility, any in-depth studies of security, security surveys, direct and indirect costs of security, the simple cost of manning one viable and effective security post for one year – etc, etc, etc.

  22. William says:

    Well here is your proof. I have been following his progress from California and I hate when people have to question my boss. I have worked with Chief Joe in Florida and California as my security chief and he has the highest integrity that I know of. He has received director of the year and managed many multimillion dollar contract with IPC. He received this award out of 400+ directors from the US and UK. Its sad that people have to question peoples motives in helping there own community. Joe has told me he is not running for office here and this was a community that needed some help and he was willing to just organize it and move on. He has worked with many communities in Florida, California and Washington, He was even the Director of Westlake Mall downtown Seattle. So does he know his stuff he sure does. If this community doesn’t want this patrol to happen he is happy to move on. By the way, the picture of his son he was mad that day because they planned to go to Disneyland, but chief needed to work and cover one of his officers who was sick. He is one of a few that carries 3 stars on his collar for the company. So, Mr. retired PD. I would never thought you would talk bad about SSI, what happen to the blue code of secrecy. The website did not mention anything about SSI.

    • Magnolia says:

      Thanks for this post. I am appalled at how many are attacking Joe’s integrity and intent. If you met him, you’d know he’s just another concerned neighbor. However, he is going above & beyond by putting in some of his personal time to help his community. Also, it won’t be just him making these decisions. Introduced at the meeting were the other board members who volunteered their time just like Joe. So I am comfortable with whatever they propose. At least it’s doing something proactive & come on Magnolia it’s $250/year per household. This is based on what the other 3 communities did & they started out small at first (1-2 days coverage) & expanded as more subscribers joined. Anyone who looks on the Seattle Crime Map and compares Magnolia 911 crimes to Laurelhurst and has tracked this for months like I have would know they have hardly any crime, whereas we have more than Magnolia has typically had in the past.

    • Harold & Maude says:

      You misuse “there” for “their” just like Joe does.

    • Harold & Maude says:

      And not to rub salt in the wound Joe – I mean “William” – nice door signage but IPC went bankrupt in 2013. Also Willie Joe – how come you don’t show IPC on your Linkedin account if you had such an esteemed career there?

  23. Factsplease says:

    I was unaware of the proposed private security patrol until we got an unsigned letter in the mailbox today about contacting Parking Enforcement to ticket and tow vehicles on Commodore and Thorndyke.

    As annoying as the busses and campers can be, I was more turned off by the language in the letter about “these people” and how they are committing (unspecified) crimes here, and it’s “time for them to go!”

    My husband and I own a business near Fisherman’s Terminal and I walk that route down Commodore nearly every day. I can’t say that I’ve noticed anyone dumping garbage or felt unsafe. The few times we’ve had people park on our block for more than a couple of days, I’ve asked them to move and it wasn’t a big deal. I can’t speak to other property crime in Magnolia and fortunately haven’t experienced it myself, but this strikes me as more of a solution in search of a problem and I really dislike the idea of a private vigilante group roaming around the neighbor deciding who belongs and who doesn’t.

  24. skeets says:

    I recommend that folks consider CPTED strategies – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. There are many resources online including these: and

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