Tag Archives: Bremerton

Bremerton Crime: Has the City Turned A Corner?

Sifting through our story archives Wednesday, I came across a story by Sun reporter JoAnne Marez from the early nineties entitled, “City in a drug war.”
She was referring to Bremerton.
She writes of violent, fatal clashes between gangs and turf wars between rival drug dealers. Here’s a clipping:
“On South Montgomery Avenue the remnants of a once respectable, middle class Bremerton neighborhood still are visible. An elderly couple putters in their yard, tending their neatly clipped lawn, watering their flowers. Here and there, a homeowner paints his house or mends a fence.
But down the block, in either direction, things have changed.
At one end sits a nondescript house with a weed-choked yard, the scene of a violent clash last December over drug turf. When it was over, two teen-age crack dealers lay bathed in their own blood.
At the other end, Bremerton police fight a seemingly never-ending battle to force crack peddlers from the street. Drive-by shootings and assaults have become commonplace.
South Montgomery is perhaps a symbol of the urban decay and escalating violence that threatens Bremerton’s once tranquil neighborhoods.”
Has it gotten better since then? Just four years ago, I wrote of Bremerton’s state high rate of violent crime per capita (the graphic from the story is pictured). But in doing the story, I found that most residents feel safe here, despite these facts as I wrote them:
“A city of renters. A city with heavy drug use. A city with nighttime drunkards who like to brawl. A city with an understaffed police force. A city whose local jail has a “revolving door.” A city whose landlords allegedly ignore their renters’ criminal activity.

Many factors can be blamed for Bremerton’s violent crime rate, one that’s emerged in the past 12 years as the highest in the state.”

More recently, however, Bremerton’s crime rate has headed south. Renewing its downtown core and fighting crime in new ways are believed to have helped.

In the coming weeks, I expect to get the statistics about crime in Bremerton and see just how the city is faring in criminal activity. I suspect crime is falling in Bremerton.

But I’m curious: how far do you think we’ve come from that “City in a drug war,” Marez wrote about?

The Odd Hideouts of Illegal Substances

Illicit narcotics seem to turn up everywhere. Inside foreclosed homes, in speaker boxes, inside packages of baby clothes. They’ve even shown up here in Bremerton inside ATM machines.

Logically, given their nature as outlawed substances, they’re often hidden creatively. But sometimes, the people hiding them might not even remember where they stowed them away.

Or, in a recent Bremerton case, their user may not have had a chance to take his stash with him.

Police were called to a local pawn shop April 8 after an employee found a baggie of white stuff inside a tool box. Officer confirmed it was meth, and began to try and find out who it belonged to. Their investigation took them to a man, who claimed it belonged to another man, who … well, it could have gone on endlessly. Law enforcement’s best guess was that it was the property of a renter who was jailed, and couldn’t take his stash with him.

Carlos Rodriguez, sergeant in charge of the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team, said he’s seen drugs — as well as ill-gotten cash and weapons — in just about every nook and cranny you can think of.

When they’re executing a search warrant at a property, they expect the unexpected.

Rodriguez has found drugs in freezers, in the heads of flashlights, even in body cavities on the suspects themselves. He’s also found guns in walls, and cash at the bottom of suspects’ garbage in wads of toilet paper.

“It could be anywhere,” he said of a suspect’s drugs.