Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Tacoma’s bad rap is Seattle’s dirty secret

Post by Brian O'Neill on April 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm with 14 Comments »
May 9, 2011 9:21 am

Why, Peter Callaghan muses in his column (4-7), can’t Tacoma ever be mentioned in a context other than crime?  Good question.

While a valid answer is likely beyond my grasp, there are a few contributing factors of which I am aware. First, Tacoma is ground zero for so many wayward felons–drug dealers, gang bangers, burglars, robbers and mentally unbalanced and violent individuals–that counting the number of halfway houses, or county and state release facilities would be a daunting task.

Second, and it couldn’t be this simple (could it?), the TV stations are in Seattle–the city to the north with such a stunted impression of T-town.

Tacoma and greater Pierce County have a problem with gangs. This includes the Hilltop Crips, arguably the most well-known gang in the state. That notoriety is due, in large part, to those aforementioned Seattle TV stations. But while Tacoma has been digging itself out of a red and blue-colored crime wave, Seattle has been anything but safe by comparison.For some reason much of Seattle’s gang-related crime goes under- or unreported by local media. In meeting after meeting, both with Pierce County and King County gang investigators, I have listened to lengthy descriptions of ongoing gang crimes in both counties. Speaking anecdotally, Seattle has a bigger gang problem than Tacoma. By far.

In most ways, the difference is simply a matter of population. Seattle’s Central District (east of downtown) and south end are simply much larger in population than the traditional gang neighborhoods in Tacoma and Pierce County. The number of gangs, which vary in ethnicity from established African-American, Asian and Hispanic gangs, are much greater than their counterparts to the south.

Yet we rarely hear about the constant drive-by shootings committed by the Deuce 8 Mob, the 74 Hoover Crips or the Tiny Rascal Gang. We rarely see footage of Seattle gang unit officers investigating the almost daily exchanges of gunfire between rivals in the CD and south end. But if a gun goes off, say in Lakewood, however? That will be the only time you hear that particular L-word this month.

Yes, the Seattle media has an imbalance in its reporting of gang activity, and it is tilted towards Tacoma. That’s a shame, and somebody with a few skills in marketing needs to get on that (if they want more trash on Seattle, call me).

In the meantime, let’s join Mark Lindquist in thanking the cops and prosecutors that slapped our own gang problem down. That’s great news for Tacoma.

My take
Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    Brian, we differ on a few ideas, but I appreciate your work. Woring against the tide of the Liberal-Professionally-Always-Offended is prolly as tough as fighting gang memers. Good Luck.

  2. mr_sandman says:

    Blaine, I don’t think gang members know the difference between politcal parties. Why try to make this point? The tide?

  3. Alison7613 says:

    Uh, that would be “mentally unbalnced” not “mentally unbalance.” Just an editor’s note.

  4. Alison7613 says:

    Oops- I was having such trauma trying to log in since last night I had a typo in my message noting your typo- “mentally unbalanced’ versus “mentally unbalance” LOL Oh, silly me. It’s the technical stuff that trips me up. I mean, I have been clearing my cookies, logging in and out, and finally got the problem solved.

  5. hultmale says:

    Perhaps the TNT needs to do an expose on Seattle’s gang problem and report every shooting in Seattle. Of course, that would require complete dedication of all their resources.

  6. lilmrsjacobs says:

    Welcome aboard Brian. It will be nice to have someone at TNT who can possibly clarify when needed. I look forward to reading your blog. And Seattle can suck eggs. T-Town rocks!

  7. BlaineCGarver says:

    Sandman, I was fairly clear…did the use of semi-advanced puctuation thow you off?

  8. mr_sandman says:

    Blaine, fairly clear? Maybe when you spell correctly. Officer O’Neill, I look forward to your blog. This is great for the community!

  9. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thank you to this diverse group of readers who took time out of their busy schedule to comment. Though I meet a lot of people in my day job, it is the rare opportunity when I can share a cop’s perspective on the human condition. Some days it seems like all the accumulated death, misery and destruction are over-whelming, but eventually there comes a day (maybe two) that you can start to make sense of the chaos. Those are the days when even the slowest of us could make a few observations about the human condition.

    Thanks again. I welcome your questions and critique.

    Keep it real.

  10. So Seattle’s new media is reporting to make Tacoma look bad?

    Kind of disappointing to see such a microcosm of bashing the liberal/conservative media. I don’t really see a purpose in bickering over who has it worse. Unless we can blame it on Portland.

  11. smokey984 says:

    Always enjoyable to see a house (Seattle) criticize its neighbors lawn (Tacoma) without having mowed theirs lately…

    Officer O’Neill continue to fight the good fight! Your service to our community is appreciated more than can be understood.

    I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. – 2Timothy4:7

  12. @Dear Tacoma. no it’s not that Seattle’s media is trying to make Tacoma look bad. And it doesn’t matter if Seattle’s media is new, liberal or conservative. It’s really is, IMO, the second reason – the major media is located in Seattle. Same thing happens in pretty much every area. The city that is the home to the media center gets the lions share of the coverage. Outlying areas are more likely to be reported on if something bad happens.

    Same thing happens with TNT. Tacoma gets most of the coverage and outlying areas don’t.

  13. ratujack says:

    When traveling thru Hawaii a few years ago I stopped overnite in Honolulu and went to the beach. Standing at the Hilton looking at the Bikinis and beach I said to the guy standing next to me “beautiful, huh” we talked a couple minutes and I said where you from. He started looking around us and leaned over to me and said “TTTTacoma” I could see he was honest and he said where you from I did the same thing and said “TTTacoma” We both laffed and said most everyone says Seattle. Why are we ashamed to say TTTTacoma? I always say SEATTLE.

  14. dankuykendall says:

    I am not so sure that Seattle media is trying to make Tacoma look bad as they are trying to make Seattle look better. I have lived in and around Tacoma since 1978 and can honestly say that the media has always attempted to point the finger of blame with the show Cops leading the way with their scued image of this area.

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