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Renton's Downtown Safety Initiative Moves From Warnings to Tickets June 1

Officers issued about three dozen written warnings and citations to scofflaws during the warning and education period from May 17-31.

The first of June 2011 marks Renton's inaugural day of no-nonsense enforcement at the transit center. 

"It's probably going to make some people upset," Deputy Chief Tim Troxel told a group of business owners this morning at a quarterly meeting of the Renton Chamber of Commerce downtown committee.

Officers — in uniform and plain clothes — will ticket anyone who breaks the law. That includes the transient population, high school students, men and women in business suits, and even Metro Transit bus drivers.

It they break the law, they'll get a ticket.

Wednesday's switch to official notification follows a two-week warning and education period that began on May 17, where officers issued about three dozen written warnings and citations to scofflaws. During that same period, the department expelled six people from the transit center for a seven-day period for various offenses including robbery, open container and fighting. 

It's all part of the city's efforts to enhance public safety in downtown Renton and the Renton Transit Center. Officers will take a zero-tolerance approach for unlawful or inappropriate behavior such as trespassing, littering, jaywalking, and unlawful bus conduct as defined by the Revised Code of Washington.

The city unveiled its downtown public safety initiative early last month. The new plan calls for strict enforcement along with additional police presence — nine officers up from the six who were previous stationed downtown 

Officers will patrol the downtown core, Rainier Avenue to Main Avenue between South Second and South Third streets, from noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday because that's when the area is most active, said Troxel. The downtown will be covered by regular patrols on the off-hours and on Sundays.

Commander Clark Wilcox also attended this morning's meeting and said that the department understands that the increased enforcement will likely deter repeat offenders from the transit center, but acknowledged that the activity may get pushed into the surrounding neighborhoods and cities.

"If they go out (of the downtown core)," he said, "we're prepared to deal with it."

 

Day One of Renton's Downtown Safety Initiative:

Renton's Direct Enforcement Team (DET) took to the streets around 5 p.m. Wednesday following a lengthy briefing and first-day preparations. A jaywalker earned the initiative's first citation not more than 200 feet from the Department's small office in the parking garage at the transit center. 

"We will take action on every violation, big or small," said Sergeant Todd Frazier who oversees the eight officers who patrol the area on foot, bike and by car. "We're here to help this be a crime-free environment, and to improve safety."

The officers aren't here to profile possible violators.

"There will be no selective enforcement," he said.

At about 5:30 p.m., two officers on bike stopped another biker for two offenses: riding through the downtown business district and not wearing a helmet. The officers discovered that the man also had two outstanding warrants, one for theft and another for drugs. Instead of a simple citation for biking through the downtown district without a helmet, the man was arrested.

The department is also monitoring transit center activity through video surveillance cameras and will rely on tips from the public.

Not all police-civilian contact resulted in a ticket. Several interactions were educational. In a few cases, well-meaning transit center users simply had a question or two, such as,'Where's the smoking area?'

 

Enforcement:

Misdemeanors such as jaywalking, spitting and cussing will result in a ticket.

Individuals who partake in the following activities at the transit center may be expelled for up to one year (lesser offenses may result in a one-week ban from the area):

 *   Camping, loitering, swearing, spitting, jaywalking and engaging in unruly activity

 *   Riding a bicycle, rollerblading or riding a skateboard within the boundaries of the Transit Center

 *   Possessing an open alcohol container; consumption or sale of alcohol; sale, use or possession of illegal drugs

 *   Brandishing or using a firearm

 *   Committing a sexual act

 *   Using a public address system or other sound amplifying devices within the Transit Center

 *   Engaging in gambling activity

 *   Committing a theft that may be punished as a Class A or Class B felony

 *   Causing damage, including graffiti, to any park property

Tonya Alan Skuse June 02, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Saw 3 uniformed officers tonight when I got off my bus. Pleased to see them. Will their activity be reported in the police blotter? Would like to see what enforcement is happening at the TC. When I left in my car tonight, I noticed 2 men, with what looked like an open case of Rainier, around the corner from the TC in front of the window blinds shop on S 3rd. I wonder if the officers ventured around the corner. Bike commuters cannot ride into the TC? they have to dismount at the boundary? Where is that boundary?
Jenny Manning June 02, 2011 at 05:00 AM
Great questions, Tonya. I'll get back to you about bike commuting in the downtown area. I'm sure others would like to know, too!
kanajune June 02, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Expelled from the transit center for robbery? Oh my, that'll fix that (sarcasm). I am glad they are trying, but I think they need to get a bit tougher on criminals, who don't really pay tickets anyway.
kevin bruce June 02, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Great, A Small area to hold just like the Green Zone in Baghdad. What about the other 2000 square miles of Renton. ANARCHY? They Must work ALL of Renton, If not. More good people will leave your Gang Infested city. Just as I did. I sold my house in 98 and only pass by now on 405. I don't dare stop to shop. I may end up getting robbed. I got ripped off more than 20 times from my home before I was forced to leave. I lived in Renton for over 18 years. Never again.
kanajune June 02, 2011 at 04:18 PM
How sad that communities such as this have been so greatly transformed over the years by the rise of juvenile crime. I grew up in Renton in the 60's and 70's, used to hitchike into Seattle for a lark. Now I would not even take a bus in this area for fear of being mugged. I think our antiquated juvenile court system is partly to blame. We still treat these offenders as if they all came from the Cleaver family and turn them right back out to attack and rob citizens. Some of these "kids" have rap sheets as long as their dreadlocks, yet the system still treats them as kids up to pranks. We have to take this seriously and reform our laws if we stand a chance of stemming this change of tide. You do a grown up crime, you go to grown up court. You make it a career, you get taken out of society. Else, I forsee cities like Renton 10 years from now completely in the control of gangs and sounding a whole lot more like their counterparts in Mexico.
Tina Hilderman June 02, 2011 at 07:39 PM
"the department expelled six people from the transit center for a seven-day period for various offenses including robbery".......wow, that seems so harsh? Seven whole days? You'd think they would be in jail instead.
kanajune June 02, 2011 at 07:44 PM
My sentiments exactly. Sounds like they are trying to fight the criminals with Nerf bats!
Gregg June 02, 2011 at 09:59 PM
You can ride your bicycle anywhere cars can go. However, although bikes are allowed on sidewalks in other parts of downtown, the ones immediately surrounding the transit center are off-limits.
kevin bruce June 03, 2011 at 12:07 AM
In 1940 robbery would get you 20 yrs in the House. I say 3 strikes and we deport them where they will feel at home. Dead, in the middle of the pacific ocean. They can float on all the plastic swirling around some ware between our coast and Hawaii. Let me know if you have a better idea to FIX Rentons image
mishki June 07, 2011 at 10:50 AM
That transit center is inconvenient, regardless if there is crime or not. Getting to and from it is a pain because of traffic, it's much easier to get on 405 than drive to this TC and then park in a garage... What waste of time. The garage doesn't even open at night. This is beyond inconvenient. It works more like transfer point since a lot of bus routes terminate there. And that's why the crime and gangs are there. It's dysfunctional as a destination because there is nothing there, so it can not possible attract any demographics with higher educations of incomes, etc.. If you will end many bus routes in the middle of nowhere you create a destination for teen gangs, mentally unstable, and other unpopular demographics. King county transit planners and the city of Renton are pretty much to blame for artificially creating this ghetto hub. There was really not much of a criminal activity there before the Transit Center opened... You rip what you sow
jdrabe August 14, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Most of the residents of downtown were dead set against this transit center. We saw what was coming and tried to warn the city council about our concerns. All they could see was a big $$ handout from Metro. Now I can say "told you so" and let the words fall on even deafer ears. Zero tolerance for all laws, no matter how minor, is even worse than allowing this thing to stay open. I don't think many of us are so concerned with riding a bike in the wrong spot as we are about the genuine criminal element preying on the downtown area. Aren't the police in this town capable of exercising anything remotley resembling common sense and mature adult judgement? Can't you make the message clear to transients, gang bangers, hoodlums and other miscreants without chasing away the good guys as well? If not, just shut the damned thing down.
kevin bruce August 14, 2011 at 02:27 AM
7 days, banned from the transit center for robbery. Should have been arrested and made to watch from his cell as we build him a hanging tree. They want wild west, lets give it to them.
Jason Krueger May 24, 2012 at 10:22 PM
"Officers — in uniform and plain clothes — will ticket anyone who breaks the law. That includes the transient population, high school students, men and women in business suits, and even Metro Transit bus drivers." However, this does not apply to Renton Officers that break the law.
jdrabe May 25, 2012 at 04:22 AM
true

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