United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Community Gathers To Further Efforts To Keep White Center Safe And Thriving
Leaders Praise Community for Organizing to Take Next Steps Following Law Enforcement Operation
More than 75 people gathered last night at the Jim Wiley Community Center to advance ongoing efforts to foster an economically vibrant commercial core and safe streets throughout White Center. The meeting followed a three month law enforcement operation targeting crime in the South King County region. The operation dubbed “Center of Attention” resulted in the seizure of 68 guns, kilo quantities of meth and cocaine, and more than 50 arrests. The meeting, organized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, was part of a first-of-its-kind effort to engage a community – including area residents, local business owners, non-profits, educators, government agencies, elected officials, and faith leaders – to continue addressing issues after a major law enforcement action.
“We know that we cannot arrest our way out of the crime problem. Long-term solutions require bringing together a variety of resources and community efforts, and I commend the White Center community for continuing to step up,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “We will work together to address the most persistent issues in the community and identify resources for lasting growth. Long-term success depends on the people in this room.”
“Those who attended the meeting demonstrate the genuine commitment and energy of the White Center neighborhood to growing their vibrant, safe, family community.” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Thanks to the successful collaboration of local and federal law enforcement authorities, White Center can remain a great place for families and businesses.”
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, King County Councilman Joe McDermott and State Representatives Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon attended and answered questions from the community.
Community members urged residents to patronize downtown businesses and attend upcoming gatherings such as the “Trick or Treat Festival” (Monday, October 31st), White Center-Delridge Community Safety Coalition meeting (Thursday, October 27th), and North Highline Unincorporated Area Council Meeting (Thursday, November 3rd). Several people, including those who run after-school and other youth programs, talked about the need for additional support for early learning and positive alternatives for young people. Other community members urged more attention to graffiti, establishments allowing unlawful activity to occur, and public drinking.
Political leaders pledged to examine options around residential nuisances, business district tax incentives and services, and drug and mental health counseling in the area.
Law enforcement, including King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, urged the community to continue to report their concerns by contacting the recently re-opened King County Sheriff’s storefront on 16th Avenue SW or by calling 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity. The records of calls and concerns can play a key role in targeting resources to South King County issues.
Executive Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Bates will lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office community outreach efforts in the White Center area. He can be reached at (206) 553-7970 or Thomas.Bates@usdoj.gov.