Blue Byline

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

Let the sun shine, minus the crime

Post by Brian O'Neill on Aug. 17, 2011 at 9:20 am with 6 Comments »
August 18, 2011 12:00 pm

When the sun shines down, as it occasionally does here in the Northwest, its densely packed clusters of photons do a lot more than just deliver a megadose of Vitamin D.

The results are a mixed bag as sunbeams turn houses inside out and people spill forth. Many use the invigorating power of sunbeams for summer activities such as outdoor sports, barbeques, parties and events that can only be done outside.

A small percentage of people, whose summer activies are always anticipated at the cop shop, meander along the heated pavement and contribute to the seasonal spike in street crime.

Like the Taliban awaiting the Spring fighting season, much of the crime stats spike during the long, hot (or at least warm) summer days. Some of the criminal activities that move outside during the summer include drug dealing, tagging, random street crime and gang shootings.

Open air drug markets, which can amount to little more than a dealer who regularly inhabits a specific corner, is as much a summertime phenomenon as the ice cream truck. The difference, of course, is that the druggies don’t have to listen to abrasive chamber music and chase after their drug dealers’ cars in order to get their treats.

Much of the other crimes can be attributed to the double-edged sword known as summer  vacation. When school lets out there are always a percentage of kids whose summer activities have no structure–no camps, no fun events, no vacations, picnics or planned activities that would keep them from inventing their own methods for obtaining some antisocial thrills.

All of which explains why so many of these kids end up using their minimal ABC’s to tag the initials of their gang on the neighbor’s fence and demonstrate their PE skills by fighting eachother on the street and running from the cops. When that gets old they dig out some guns and really crank it up a notch.

It’s literally the same every summer.

This summer has had its share of such problems, including 13 shot in a gang melee in Kent, and numerous other drive-bys throughout Western Washington. Law enforcement officials continue to work on our responses, which include proactive gang enforcement conducted by specialized units, as well as reactive patrols that respond quickly to in-progress incidents. These enforcement efforts, which are aimed at all layers of juvenile-related crimes (most of which involve street gangs), arrive consistently each summer, much like the long, slow line of cars on Ruston Way.

It may be difficult to rewire drug addicts in a manner that prevents them from answering the silent call of the druggie on the corner on a hot summer day. But certainly we can come up with a few more dollars and a few more creative ways to keep impoverished, bored and inventive kids occupied so that the gangs don’t seem like the better option.

We might all have a better summer then.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Chamber music? Wow, you must live a much nicer area. All I get is “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

  2. BlaineCGarver says:

    I remember when kids just needed a bicycle, and a patch of woods, a park or stream and a good imagination….now, you have to provide everything or they take it as an invitation to cause trouble. Too bad you cops can’t practice a little “Beat and Release” on little wanna be’s and remind them of the wages of sin….You’d just be doing what the parents should be doing.

  3. Brian O'Neill says:


    Wasn’t it you that said, “Maybe cops should be careful if they don’t want to appear brutal.”? You’re playing both sides of the police brutality argument. Just saying.

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    Brian, puh-leeeze…try harder. If you don’t know the differenced between being “Rodney Kinged” and roughed up a tad with a little crack on the azz to send a frisky punk down the sidewalk…

  5. Brian O'Neill says:

    I know that every Monday morning quarterback would consider “roughed up” and “Rodney Kinged” to be different versions of police brutality.

  6. BlaineCGarver says:

    Which is back to what I alluded to: PC is killing you guys, and when you get sick of it, maybe some snap? And that’s what everyone sees. I sure miss the Army….

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