Burien residents rally for public safety

Burien citizens described incidents like rolling gun battles in the street, burglaries, and aggressive panhandling at a meeting Monday.

BURIEN, Wash -- Concerned residents and business owners in Burien, held a rally for public safety at the city council meeting Monday night.

Organizers said they're fed up with what they see as rising crime in the downtown core, mainly near the library.

One man was injured in a shooting outside the library on January 7. One suspect was arrested.

"That's what put me over the edge," said Chris Hemp, an organizer of the rally. "I think the council has become disconnected to the community and they need to hear about how rampant crime is in Burien."

Business owners are beginning to post more 'No Trespassing' signs out front and put locks on their dumpsters to deter the homeless.

Recently, a man was found climbing the roof during a break-in near Isis & Peony flower shop.

Owner Robin Desimone has had enough.

"I'll be putting razor wire on the top of my building, and it will look like a concentration camp," she said. "We are doing everything we can to keep these people out, and it's still not enough."

Interim City Manager Tony Piasecki says the new budget will include two new police officers that would be dedicated to patrolling the downtown core. They will start this Summer. Currently, two off-duty police officers stand guard at the library.

"We don't have official numbers from the police department yet. What they have told us is they have seen an increase in 2015 over 2016, not unlike what a lot of other communities have been experiencing," said Piasecki. "Having additional police resources, I think, is one part of the puzzle. Working with the business community, working with the block watches, keeping the downtown clean, all of those things enter into how we deal with public safety issues for the city."

About 30 people signed up to speak in front of city council Monday night.

One woman described a past incident where she was on the street when someone fired shots from a moving vehicle.

"The sound of rapid gunfire and the sight of broken glass was frightening. There are many reports of gang violence in this city, and it is sad because i grew up here," she said. "It should be safe for everyone."

 

Copyright 2017 KING


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