Bremerton councilman: location matters when it comes to homicide

Jerry McDonald.
Jerry McDonald.

Bremerton City Councilman Jerry McDonald didn’t like how most media reported on the killings of a woman and child early Saturday at Kariotis Mobile Home Park.

His issue: they were reported as occurring in Bremerton, when they are outside city limits.

“Poorly reported stories such as this do nothing for our reputation and property values,” said McDonald, who represents the district including downtown and Manette.

Here’s what he posted:

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After posting it to several community sites, the comments began to roll in. Many accused McDonald of being insensitive in a time of tragedy.

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Many of the postings were removed by Monday.

McDonald told me Monday that he in no way meant to downplay the horrific nature of the crime. But he wants media outlets, including the Kitsap Sun, to use different terms when describing areas beyond the city.

“It’s absolutely a tragic event,” he said. “But it’s not in Bremerton.”

This isn’t the first time someone’s raised the issue. It has been discussed at recent City Council meetings in regard to other crimes. McDonald said he wanted to tackle the issue quickly on Saturday in an effort to change the reporting from the get-go. He has talked with officials at several Seattle broadcast stations.

Bremerton’s city borders zigzag all over the place, ending at Riddell Road going north. But Bremerton is often regarded by media as including a much wider swath of territory. And, if you consider the postal codes, Bremerton goes all the way west to Seabeck, and north to the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.

I did a story last fall that showed how Bremerton’s rate of violent crime has indeed plummeted in the past 10 years. But when measured against that of unincorporated Kitsap County — which includes the area where this crime occurred — Bremerton’s is still higher in rate of violent crime (see below).

But does it even matter? McDonald thinks it does. He believes Bremerton is attempting to shed a reputation as having high crime.

“Those are the things people remember, the tragedies,” he said.

Do you agree?

5 thoughts on “Bremerton councilman: location matters when it comes to homicide

  1. Well, I agree that accurate reporting is important no matter what the circumstance. Sloppy reporting does not help people in the community. Facts, facts, facts checked several times would make us all better citizens.

  2. The 98311 zip code, where the event occurred, is listed as Bremerton, even though us locals know it’s unincorporated Kitsap County. The Seattle media probably doesn’t know or care about the distinction.

    1. I agree, even folks that live on Tiger Lake, which is Mason County have 98312 zip code and a Bremerton address…don’t think the news people are going to give a hoot, to them it is Bremerton if they have a Bremerton address….

  3. I see, when you, as a city council member have “press issues” you want us all to rush to your aid…but when we bring up issues within the city that we need help with you just yell at and blame us. Yeah, I’ll get right on top of your request Jerry.

    Poorly related news stories AND ineffective council members do nothing for our reputation and property values.

  4. If the councilman is so concerned with crime maybe he should work on actually being effective as a person in a position of power instead of jumping at every opportunity to get his name in the paper. There are meth heads, prostitutes, and drug dealers walking up and down my street and vandalizing property on a routine basis. I don’t see Bremerton getting rid of its reputation of slum hole for years to come.

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