Kitsap Crime and Justice

The Kitsap Sun staff writes about crime and criminal justice issues.
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Archive for October, 2008

A Wet and Rainy Kitsap Halloween: Keep Your Kids Safe this Night

Friday, October 31st, 2008

It looks to be a windy and rainy night for trick-or-treaters, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an unsafe Halloween here in Kitsap.

Here are a few tips from Halloween-safety.com:

  • Younger trick-or-treaters should be accompanied by an adult. If no adults are going, be sure to know their route.
  • Explain that the “trick” part of trick-or-treating should not be, say, egging or toilet-papering a home. In this day in age, your child will come home, but it will likely be in the back of a patrol car.
  • A sad tradition is the victimization of animals on Halloween. Explain to children that there is nothing festive or fun about hurting an animal.

There’s also the danger of walking around neighborhoods in the dark, of course. Here’s what the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision recommend:

  • Use reflectors, lights or reflective tape (that can be purchased at a local hardware store) on costumes so drivers can see your child better. Flashlights are a plus, too.
  • Make sure costumes are fitted well on a child so fabric or any part of a costume doesn’t fall into a child’s eyes.
  • Swords, knives or other fake weapons used in costumes should be, well, fake — no sharp ends that could cause injuries.
  • A home’s outside lights should be on as a sign of “welcome” for trick-or-treaters. And children shouldn’t go into homes where they get candy.
  • And hey, while we’re at it, check out your kids’ haul when they get home. Make sure the candy they’ve racked up doesn’t look tampered with.

Will a Kitsap Crime Uptick Follow Economic Downturn?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

A story in the Charlotte Observer this morning appears to confirm that one consequence of these economic tough times is more crime.

There were bright spots of crime drops in Christopher D. Kirkpatrick’s story. But here’s Kirkpatrick’s correlation: ” … The number of reported home burglaries was up 10 percent, as the economy soured and unemployment grew,” he wrote.

Home burglaries are often opportunity crimes in which thieves typically try to avoid confrontation but hope to score big by pawning your stuff.

As crime and justice insiders around here — and elsewhere — are well aware, drug addiction fuels crime like no other. But I asked each of our local law enforcement agencies if they’re seeing crimes in which the suspect (if caught) made the claim: “I was just trying to feed my family,” or some other economic-laden excuse.

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Courts to Cut Break to Those with Unpaid Tickets

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

The month of November will offer those with unpaid traffic tickets and other court fines a chance to pay them off a little more cheaply.

Local municipal and district courts are offering an “amnesty” in November, in which they’ll waive interest fees on top of the tickets and fines, said Port Orchard Municipal Court Administrator Deborah M. Hunt in a press release.

As an added bonus, any ticket paid in full by the end of November will be removed from a person’s credit report, Hunt said.

But wait, there’s more: traffic tickets paid in full will trigger court employees to send a letter to the Department of Licensing telling the state to clear the driver’s record.

Those with unpaid fines and/or tickets can call AllianceOne, the collection agency, at (800) 456-8838, Hunt said.

The municipal courts offering the so-called amnesty are in Port Orchard, Bremerton, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and Gig Harbor. Kitsap County District Court is participating too.


Cops Make Plans for Sex Offenders on Halloween

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Maryland’s 1,200 sex offenders got a letter and a sign in the mail recently, according to a story in the Washington Times.

“Halloween provides a rare opportunity for you to demonstrate to your neighbors that you are making a sincere effort to change the direction of your life,” the letter says.

The sign with the letter has a rather scary-looking pumpkin on it, with the phrase: “No Candy at this Residence,” also on it.

The intermingling of children with so many of their neighbors already has parents on alert Oct. 31. A threat of sex offenders — both real and perceived — adds to that anxiety.

So in Maryland, such offenders are asked to keep their lights off and stay inside, or face probation violations.

And Maryland’s not alone.
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Border Patrol’s Woes Continue

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Updating an earlier post, it seems the border patrol’s surge of resources on the Olympic Peninsula has been met with more attention — media and otherwise — that has been far from positive.

First off, the deputy chief of the Blaine sector — which covers Alaska, western Washington and Oregon — has been charged with the child rape of a 14-year-old Bellingham girl he had in his home as a foster child.

Secondly, Paul Richmond, a Port Townsend attorney (who once ran against Congressman Norm Dicks, who I’ll mention shortly) has filed a public disclosure request for a video he claims was taken by government agents at a protest of the checkpoints in Port Angeles Sept. 20. He says the border patrol’s activity on the Olympic Peninsula is part of a government build up. Here’s more from a press release:

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There’s a New Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit in Town

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Traffic offenders beware Following its inheritance of traffic investigations on all 800 miles of its county roads, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office has responded by establishing a traffic unit.

Led by Sgt. Brad Mandeville (whose brother Cam is a lieutenant with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, by the way), the 6-man unit is capable of conducting all crash investigations, as well as provide an enforcement presence in the mostly rural county, where open roads and high speeds can have deadly consequences.

The sheriff’s office says Mason County  — which lost help from the Washington State Patro in conducting investigations on county roads in July — had the fourth highest rate of drunken driving fatality crashes per capita between 1993 and 2003.

Here’s more on the topic from the sheriff’s office:

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Three Robberies … One Set of Suspects?

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I met with Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives yesterday morning about three robberies that have occurred since April that have more than one thing in common. In fact, they have the detectives thinking there’s a strong possibility they were committed by the same two people.

The first, an armed robbery at the Silverdale Dollar Tree store in April, reads like this (as published in the Kitsap Sun on April 17):

Deputies were called to the store, at 10300 Silverdale Way NW, shortly after 9 p.m. Employees there said two men, wearing dark clothing, hooded sweatshirts and bandanas over their faces, entered the store and demanded money. One of the men had a gun, reports said.

The second, another armed robbery at Great Clips hair salon in South Kitsap Sept. 22, went this way:

Both (suspects) were wearing dark glasses and black-hooded sweatshirts, witnesses reported. Both suspects wore bandannas covering their faces and “puffy down-style jackets,” (sheriff’s spokesman Scott) Wilson said.

The suspects, carrying metallic or chrome-colored semiautomatic handguns, entered around 8:40 p.m. and ordered people in the building to the floor, Wilson said. They ordered one employee to the register and demanded cash. It is unclear whether they actually got any money, he added.

Five days later, two armed men held up the Auto Zone store in East Bremerton. Here are those facts:

One of the suspects was reported to have been armed with a sub-machine gun that resembled an Uzi.

The clerks were taken to the rear of the store and tied with duct tape while the perpetrators removed an undisclosed amount of money from the store’s safe

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Shocking: We May Have a Patient’s Pot Limit

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

The shenanigans of defining a “60-day supply” for card-carrying medical marijuana patients may actually be over.

I’m not holding my breath, though.

Still, the Department of Health, a few months past its deadline, has put forth this limit for patients: 24 ounces of finished product, 15 plants. That rule will go into effect Nov. 2.

I asked Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge this morning what his thoughts were on the new limits. He answered simply.

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Law in Focus: The Peninsula Checkpoints

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

(Blogger’s note: Back to help us untangle our often complex legal system is Stan Glisson, a local Bremerton defense attorney. You might remember his last segment explaining the legal woes of Paris Hilton. Here’s his take on the recent stop-and-ID checkpoints the U.S. Border Patrol is conducting on the Olympic Peninsula.)

Since 9/11, Americans’ civil liberties have been limited in the name of national security. Is additional safety worth minor intrusions into our personal lives? Or as Benjamin Franklin said, is a society that trades liberty for safety deserving of neither?

For several months, the U.S. Border Patrol has been increasing its use of checkpoints on the Kitsap Peninsula as a mechanism for seeking out illegal — and possibly terrorist — border crossers. All along the peninsula, residents are reacting with a mix of surprise and outrage: If I haven’t done anything wrong, why am I being stopped and questioned by the police?

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Border Patrol Checkpoints: Not Just Here

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Turns out that the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints that have ruffled some residents’ feathers on the Olympic Peninsula aren’t unique to our area.

The border patrol is conducting them in Vermont, Louisiana, New York and elsewhere, reports USA Today. And they’re not limited to stopping cars — they’re boarding buses, ferries and trains too.

Federal law allows the border patrol to stop anyone in transit, up to 100 miles from any international border crossing, in order to search for illegal immigrants. If other crimes are found to be committed — and no illegal aliens are found — the border patrol can investigate those crimes.


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