By Jack Mayne

SeaTac Police Chief Jon Mattsen said the city was moving from one type of crime statistics to a newer and more comprehensive system and, in general, statistics show crime in SeaTac is flat, not going down or up, but is generally trending downward.

“For most areas, for crime trends for 2018 and 2019 we are either staying neutral or moving downwards,” Mattsen told the City Council. “We are either down in every column, especially auto theft, or we are staying neutral.”

Must stay vigilant
“We don’t have some of the larger issues that some of our neighboring police agencies have, or cities have,” Mattsen said. “We still have to be very vigilant and we rely on many individuals. We are staying neutral, a little bit uptick but nothing substantial.”

On auto thefts, he said the uptick is in the McMicken Heights area and some to the south of the city:

With burglaries, Mattsen said, there is an increase in the McMicken Heights area and the south end of the city around the apartment complexes:

SeaTac had a study done by BERK, a leading police services study that has been engaged by a number of police agencies, including most recently for the cities of Kirkland, Sammamish, and SeaTac. One of that study’s recommendations was to know where video and other cameras are that could reveal details of an incident helpful in solving a crime or detailing an accident. Besides SeaTac, other cities using a voluntary video registry include Des Moines and Renton. Mattsen said a recent vehicle accident investigation used such a video process to show what the car was doing at a strategic moment.

Changing the subject, Mattsen said many in the city have asked “what the heck in going on at the SeaTac Center?” The area, now vacant and before its pending demolition, can be used as a training center for potential police actions in the future. Training in the building happens about twice a month, he said, “it’s something that is great to have while we have it.

Other things
The SeaTac Council confirmed the mayoral appointment of Barbara Brunetti to the Hotel Motel Tax Advisory Committee. Council also proclaimed February as Black History month, and introduced new city employees.

The new employees are parks operations worker Jesse Cochran and public works civil engineer Serena Y. Lee.

Public comment
Former Councilmember Stan Tombs said squatter camps keep happening in the city and he is offering free signs that say, “No trespassing, private property, Do Not Enter, violators will be prosecuted” to help protect individual property. “When they get torn down, that can put them back up without having to spend $20 a sign.”

Roger Kadeg said trees obscuring the approaches to airport runways have been removed from airport property, but some were also on SeaTac city property, which he said he was curious about. “It was a very successful project,” and a smaller number of trees from the original number of 3,000 trees but “they replanted four times as many.”

Earl Gipson said he once wrote an opinion column for The SeaTac Blog. “When you want to alter my column, I have a problem with that. We’ve become these two camps, ‘we don’t like your opinion, we’d either like to change it, alter it, or not print it.” He said blogs “have become successful because the mainstream media has failed us. I will not tolerate someone altering my opinion and my words” and “especially when they don’t tell me why. I am willing to listen, I don’t have all the answers.”

EDITOR’S NOTE/CLARIFICATIONEarl Gipson wrote “The Cactus Speaks” column for The SeaTac Blog from 2012–2019, and we enjoyed it even though we didn’t always agree with him. 

He abruptly withdrew it in late December, 2019, most likely due to us not publishing one column within his timeline, which wasn’t communicated with us (his true reasons for doing so remain a mystery to us, and sadly, our relationship ended poorly).

We’d like to clarify that the only alterations ever made to his editorials were simple copyediting fixes by Jack Mayne – an arrangement that Earl was well aware of, and had been in place since we first started publishing them. Publisher/Editor Scott Schaefer never “altered” Earl’s words or opinion over its seven year lifespan.