Block watch groups and community activists in South Seattle, rattled by the recent beating and death of Danny Vega and a string of robberies, have a new ally in their fight against crime: Phoenix Jones.[pullquote]”You should be able to walk your neighborhood safely.”—Phoenix Jones[/pullquote]
“We’re going to regulate the south end,” Jones told PubliCola Wednesday morning.
According to Jones, he received an email from a woman last week, telling him about recent robberies near the light rail stations, asking him to come fight crime in the south end.
His response? “You should be able to walk your neighborhood safely.”
South Seattle has historically been a hotspot for gang activity, drive-by shootings, drug dealing and, most recently, a rash of robberies. For years, neighborhood activists have complained about a lack of a police presence in the area, and called on the police department to assign more officers to the South Precinct to fight crime.
Jones says he has already made one visit to the south end for reconnaissance, and found trouble right away. According to Jones, “some little street punk” flashed a gun at Jones and an associate, who were both wearing civilian clothes instead of their usual costumes.
Jones says he and his partner got into a physical altercation with the gunman and called 911 before the suspect fled. We weren’t immediately able to locate a report for the incident.
When asked why he’s only now beginning patrols on south Seattle’s the long-troubled streets, Jones says he didn’t think he had the strength in numbers he needed for the job.[pullquote]Criminals in the south end are “not going to take to [Jones] as kindly as east side frat boys.” -SPD officer[/pullquote]
“I didn’t really feel like I had a big enough crew,” he says. “I felt like putting my crew in that kind of danger was unnecessary. There’s so much crime in that area.” Now, Jones says he’s recruited additional members into his Rain City Superhero Movement crew, and they’re ready to take on crime in the south end.
Police are still concerned that Jones is going to get himself hurt—or hurt someone else—during his crime fighting escapades, and one officer tells PubliCola that Jones in for a different experience from his patrols in Belltown, and that criminals in the south end are “not going to take to [Jones] as kindly as east side frat boys.”
Jones says he’s aware that South Seattle is a bit different than Belltown, and says he’s planning to modify how he and his team conduct their patrols. “We’ve got to tone down the flashy show,’ he says.