The University of Washington Police Department and Seattle Police Department have adopted a “zero tolerance” policy for violations of law, including those which are alcohol-related and for excessive noise, that occur in the neighborhoods north of campus.
“We want to get the message out that the community is tired of these issues and there will be law enforcement action for any violations,” says UWPD Chief of Police Vicky Stormo. “We want to take away the stereotype this is the place to go party with no concern for the peace and quiet of those who live there.”
The new initiatives were an outgrowth of the work of the North of 45th Committee, composed of UW students and staff members, neighborhood residents, and representatives from the Seattle Police Department and city government which was established last year to take a comprehensive look at issues affecting the residential areas near the UW campus.
The UW and the Seattle police had earlier established Incident Prevention Teams (IPT), staffed by two UWPD officers, who patrol Greek Row and adjacent neighborhood of University Park. The IPTs, which operate under an agreement between the UWPD and the Seattle police, have increased the frequency of patrols from weekend nights to five nights a week, Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Chelsea Bergesen, UW student and president of the Panhellenic Association, the governing body for 16 UW sororities, says, “The IPTS have been a great addition to our own security for preventing non-students from causing dangerous situations at our events. The patrols work as part of our team. Especially in light of recent events, it is comforting to know that we can call not only 911 but the IPTs as well, who are focused on the north of 45th Street area specifically.”
The Seattle Police Department has begun a campaign to contact residents and landlords of homes identified as “party houses,” reminding them of their responsibilities to the community and the consequences of failing to meet those responsibilities. In addition, an email “listserv” is being created to notify residents about crime issues in the neighborhood.
A variety of other activities are in process, including: extending the area governed by the UW Student Conduct Code off campus to hold students accountable for noise violations, vandalism, and other misconduct; improving inspections of student housing to enhance safety and code compliance; new city legislation called “Clean Up Your Act,” which will increase the penalties for failing to comply with the city’s housing and building maintenance and land use codes; and expansion of the Adopt-A-Street Program in the area.
For more information about the committee’s ongoing initiatives, visit http://www.washington.edu/community/uw_neighborhood.html.
For more information, contact Aaron Hoard at 206-221-7684