LETTER: ‘Has any Council Member Ever Looked at Des Moines Crime Statistics?’

Dear Editor of The Waterland Blog,

Recently there was a story circulated around town about a Des Moines City Council Retreat, in which the council made a decision to select “public safety” as their highest priority in their upcoming 2013 budget process.

At the time I found myself inclined to be a little bit skeptical.

Yesterday I received the Spring and Summer edition of the “Des Moines City Currents.”

It consisted of 9 pages of “City Currents” and 13 upside down pages of Parks Department propaganda.

I searched diligently in the “City Currents” section, for some mention of “Public Safety”

In the council’s  15 word “Vision” statement I was only able to find the word “safe” once!

In their 12 word “Mission” Statement I found the word “protect”  once!

In Their 64 word “Goals” statement I found the words “Protect people” once!

!n their 158 word “Short term strategic objectives” statement I could find no mention of “public safety”!

I was surprised and pleased to at least find the Police departments phone number listed correctly under the heading of Des Moines Directory.

The fact that we have a public safety problem the city council created seems, to be too complicated for the city council members  to comprehend!

Either that, or they just don’t care.

Has any Council Member ever looked at Des Moines crime statistics?

I wonder if our council knew a total of 1056 criminal acts were perpetrated against the citizens they are supposed to be representing, in our city in 2011?

There were 2 murders, 7 rapes, 37 robberies, 45 aggravated assaults, 8 arsons, 100 auto thefts, 230 burglaries and 627 larcenies.

That’s not bad enough! In addition to all that crime, our police department is understaffed by 13 positions at last count.

It’s time someone took some action to correct this unacceptable situation.

The 2012 budget could be modified or amended if there was any concern for the safety of our fellow citizens by our Council.

Yours truly,
Don Wasson

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9 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Has any Council Member Ever Looked at Des Moines Crime Statistics?’”
  1. Wanker says:

    I had a bike stolen, and presented the DMPD with the name of the thief, his phone number, the Craigslist ad for my bike, the prostitution ads he set up for his girlfriend, the link to the Komo news article that had surveillance footage of the same guy burglarizing EC Computers. The only thing I got was an email a month later saying “thanks”

    I know they are understaffed, and in the grand scheme of things my bike is not that important. However, all the investigation was done, they just had to show up at his door and arrest him.

    • Mr. Wanker, I checked our files on the EC Burglary case you are commenting about and it reflects that a person was arrested, confessed and was charged in connection with that crime. However the investigation indicates it was a result of information generated out of a series of crimes investigated by the Bellevue Police. There is no reference to anyone else coming forward with information.

      I would be interested in discussing this further with you if you would please contact my office directly. Chief John O’Leary

  2. wanker says:

    I am not interested in re-hashing something from a year and 2 months ago. My message was lost in my frustrations. I was agreeing with the letter from Don Wasson, that the city is out of touch with the need for Police services. If it takes someone handing an officer all the relevant info on a suspect, and it takes the police a month to respond, there is either a staffing issue or complacency at the department. We all know that the services have been cut, this is one of the frustrations.

  3. C says:

    I agree with the letter too. I had a car stolen from my driveway in October 2011 and my neighbor across the street had their car stolen a couple of months before that. Since then we installed motion lights around our house to deter the criminals. On April 10, 2012 around 3:30am I saw a suspicious guy parked right next to my house so I called 911 and answered a ton of questions but I don’t think they ever dispatched anyone since the police never came by that morning. I was on the phone quite a while watching a guy lurk around the back of houses on our street. Eventually I saw him again with a large bag of items, jump in the car and speed off (I was still on the phone with 911). When I came home from work later that day I went to my neighbor’s house and he said his car was broken into (the prowler came from that direction). He said he wasn’t going call the Des Moines police because it wouldn’t do any good. He said he had reported a suspicious problem a few weeks before that and never received a follow up. I told him to report it so the police are aware of the crime in our neighborhood. I’m not sure all crimes are reported anymore.

  4. donna says:

    Nice to see an acknowledgement by Chief O’Leary to Wanker’s concern. A connection was made.

    Please continue down this path of communication. (Many of us have been experiencing a GREAT disconnect in this country.) Hope this is the growing trend in Des Moines. It must be one of the highest crime areas for a city its size.

  5. Marianne says:

    I agree that we need more police officers in Des Moines. My husband and I have lived in many other places and never experienced such crime as here. We have had multiple vehicles broken into. One evening last year while we were home, our car was rolled backwards while it was still light right in front of the house. The distibutor was taken. My bike was taken as well as a flower pot right in our yard at other times. Other neighbors have had their homes broken into and one car was stolen.

    This is an unacceptable level of public safety and action needs to happen now not later.

  6. todd says:

    ALL – Hiring more officers is not always the solution. Most of time these officers are assigned to hide out between 5AM and 9AM and issue citations to TAX paying, hardworking Des Moines residents doing five miles over limit trying to get to work on time. These are people that have money to pay the fines imposed by the system. The criminals are not working , have no money and are consider by the police a thorn in their side to deal with. These criminals are consider petty to the police and just mean a lot of paper work and hassle. It’s not a case of too much crime, It’s case of what is the police department priorities. Ask yourself just how often that you see a police cruiser patrol past your house and through your neighborhood? Ask the chief how often the officers are on patrol and the answer is “we need more officers”. I say nonsense. Stop the constant every sunny day speeding patrol from 5AM to 9AM and patrol the streets from 10AM to 3PM and 1AM to 4AM, this is when these criminals are out causing turmoil on the residents. Tony Piasecki is our “non-elected” city manager who is totally responsible for the police department reporting to him. Tony needs firm understanding what we are paying for. We only have so much tax money that we can afford and Tony needs to spend it wisely. Additional Des Moines is looking for a new police chief that will report to Tony. If we really want make a change talk to your city council and encourage them to hire a chief with our protection and cost priorities. Consider the pros and cons of making the police chief an elected official not reporting to anyone but the people who voted the chief into office. It just may be time that Des Moines residents become the entity that Police Chief reports to, and not to Tony. I know that having a police chief as elected official has both positive and negative aspects. However when the Taxpaying public can no longer take it. We may have to start electing our chief. Tony Piasecki has been our “non-elected” city manager for 15 years! Tony needs to go, we need a new police chief and a new city manager. The city has outgrown Tony capabilities. My last thought is that I much rather hire officers that live in Des Moines, I would much rather subsidize our officers to live within the city limits rather than hire more officers that have no personal connection to our city. Our officers need to be our neighbors and have more skin in the city, rather than a job they just come to and go home from. Make Des Moines a police officer home, put the money to help them live in the community and see how officer performs when he or she connected to community be on the job. People who live in Des Moines care about Des Moines. Officers who live in Des Moines attend church in Des Moines, their kids go school in Des Moines, they play and coach kids baseball in Des Moines, they shop at QFC in Des Moines, they go for walks at marina in Des Moines, so on so forth. If we really want change, then lets subsidize these officers to live in Des Moines. That will make a BIG difference, not hiring some person from Orting or Tacoma because that is where the officer can afford to raise a family. We are their family and sometimes you just have help in different ways.

  7. Pat Nardo says:

    I believe tht a great part of theproblem in Des Mines was caused by a lack of common sense leadership, which hopefully, will be reinforced under our new mayor Kaplan. Too much time and money has been spent on trying to restore the old and useless buildings at our beach park and making nice with the Chinese hotel builders association. A huge amount went to a Chinese dinner …in China… for no reasonably good purpose. Time and effort was wasted in defining a Chinese city as our “sister” while they force abortions and kill prisoners to harvest organs, mistreat any one who would try to speak freely and tyranize our meek friends, the Tibetans. We have a great city manager who may have had his hands tied… I know personally that he is honest and cares a great deal for Des Moines. The same goes for our John O’Leary who is a chief to be proud of. It is easy to sit on the sidelines and criticise, even when it ti justified. Look for the cause of much of our troubles. Poor budgetary guidance and misguided priorities. A couple mre council embers need to be replaced an the sooner the better for our city. For more really good Chinese meals you only need to travel within Des Moines! If you want truly good leadership, vote for and support someone you trust to speak for you!

  8. Cindy says:

    The city council continues to view Des Moines as a tourist town and gear it’s interests toward fulfilling that mission.

    The truth is, this is a city of 29,000+ ‘citizens’ we are NOT tourists.

    It’s time this city’s leadership acknowlege that FACT and start supporting the citizens needs instead of catering to the tourist trade and businesses.

    OUR tax dollars need to be paying for the needs of those who live here inplace of the businessses and tourists interests being placed ahead of those who live here.

    Voters spoke to that affect when they voted against the combined beach park project that was combined with paving our streets. So now the citizens will be ‘punished’ by potholes.

    The city governments attempt to hold the tax payers hostage by combining those those two completely separate projects under one vote failed.

    Citizens have voted to raise the tax lid for police and STILL that department continues to be cut.

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