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Renton Police Cracks Down on Unlawful Behavior

July 20, 2011

For more information contact:
Preeti Shridhar
, Communications Director 425-430-6569

City’s Public Safety Initiative Targets and Fights Crime

RENTON, WA—As part of the city’s ongoing public safety initiative, Renton Police are rigorously cracking down on any illegal behavior throughout the city including downtown Renton, Renton Transit Center, the city’s parks and trails, and other neighborhoods. Renton Police Department has had several recent accomplishments in its continued efforts to reduce crime. These include solving the homicide case of Lindbergh High School student Kathy Minh Chou; continued success with its anti-graffiti campaign; arresting or expelling offenders in downtown Renton, the Transit Center and our parks and trails; and targeting and arresting repeat offenders.

Latest data and analysis indicate significant success in the city’s efforts to enhance public safety and decrease the amount of serious crimes being committed. "Our recent analysis and statistics have been highly encouraging,” said Mayor Denis Law. “We will continue to strategically focus police resources in problem areas to reduce crime and help make people feel safe."

The city's strategy includes the following:

Downtown Renton including Renton Transit Center

Reducing crime in downtown Renton and the Transit Center has been a priority for the city for a long time. In addition to previous efforts such as installing state of the art video cameras, the city has implemented several recent strategies for additional emphasis. Renton Police Department’s Special Operations Unit has uniformed officers at the Transit Center/downtown core 100% of the time. Since June, they have made contact with 272 businesses and have also increased police presence in downtown Renton during special events. Police officers are also aggressively implementing the city’s zero-tolerance policy at the Transit Center and have issued warnings, citations, and expelled individuals if they engage in unlawful or inappropriate behavior. In the last 45 days, they have made 768 contacts, 6 felony arrests, 23 misdemeanor arrests (not associated with Transit Center laws), 18 felony/misdemeanor warrant arrests, 100 criminal citations, 198 Notices of Infractions, 97 written warnings, and 30 expulsions.

Parks and Trails Safety

The city has also increased patrols in city parks and trails and has been enforcing a new ordinance that gives city staff and police officers the ability to expel individuals from all city parks if they engage in unlawful or inappropriate behavior. To date, the city has expelled 47 individuals from our parks ensuring that the worst offenders have been removed for a long time. In addition, the city has implemented reduced speed limits, trail striping, signage and a comprehensive trail education and etiquette program. The city recently rolled out a Park and Trails Rangers program, where volunteer rangers will patrol the city’s parks and the Cedar River trail. Their tasks include patrolling the trails and parks to monitor the surroundings, provide information on trail and park safety, educate patrons on the rules and regulations, serving as a liaison with the community, and helping to deter criminal activity with their presence.

Graffiti Abatement

Renton has seen a 50% reduction in graffiti and vandalism since it launched its Wipe-Out Graffiti program in 2009. This comprehensive program is an interdepartmental effort and includes identification and arrest of taggers, an anti-graffiti ordinance that helps prosecute graffiti offenders, reduce the damages inflicted on property owners by providing restitution for victims, free graffiti paint-out kits for victims with limited resources, volunteer efforts, partnerships with businesses and a comprehensive education and outreach effort.

Proactive Enforcement, Covert Operation, Using Crime Analysis to Target Repeat Offenders

A unique and highly successful strategy that the city has implemented to crack down against crime is the city’s “Pro-Act” policy—to interrupt criminal enterprises, especially high-impact repeat offenders, using proactive and covert enforcement methods. A small group of offenders are responsible for more than 80% of the crimes. By targeting these repeat offenders and using crime analysis, specialized surveillance techniques, plainclothes officer and unmarked cars to catch them as they commit repeated felony acts, Renton Police Department has made numerous arrests, returned stolen property to owners and has sought maximum sentences for the offenders. This helps put them away for a long time and achieve long-term crime reduction.

“These successes are proof that our crime reduction strategies are working,” said Police Chief Kevin Milosevich. “But in order to continue this success, it is crucial that we continue to target known offenders, and focus on long-term prevention.”

“Improving public safety in our neighborhoods and business communities continues to be our priority,” said Mayor Law. “Today, we are seeing the unmistakable benefits of a comprehensive and coordinated law enforcement strategy thanks to the great work of the Renton Police Department.”