News of Madison Valley

What Happened to the Monthly Madison Valley Police Reports?

OCTOBER 20, 2018 | LOWELL HARGENS

I’m sorry to report that unless the Seattle Police Department resumes reporting data on specific locations where incidents occur, it will be impossible to continue the monthly Madison Valley Police Reports series. During the past few months the SPD has been changing the system it uses to make data available to the public. This process has involved the creation of new databases which, unfortunately, specify only the general areas in which incidents occur. The SPD explains their new policy as follows:

 

“In an effort to safeguard the privacy of our community, offense reports will only be located to the ‘beat’ level. Location specific coordinates will no longer be provided. Beats are the most granular unit of management used for patrol deployment. In addition to the Departments patrol deployment areas, these data contain the ‘Neighborhood’ where the crime occurred, if available. This coding is used to align crime data with the Micro Community Policing Plan (MCPP).”

 

Unfortunately, the geographical systems that the SPD uses do not identify Madison Valley as a Seattle neighborhood. For example, below is a map of central Seattle showing the city-specified neighborhoods that comprise it. The black lines on the map show the boundaries of what the city identifies as two neighborhoods covering Madison Valley: Stevens/Miller Park to the north and Central District/Squire Park to the south.

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On this map I’ve also indicated in green the area that we have been using as a definition of Madison Valley. Neither of the two neighborhoods specified by the SPD nor their combination comes close to matching a reasonable delineation of Madison Valley. The same is true of the two SPD beats that cover our area (They are C2 and C3; you can see a map of the SPD beats here.)

As a result of these changes it is no longer possible to produce maps showing where in Madison Valley particular robberies, burglaries, etc. have taken place. It is also impossible to provide basic counts of the incidents that have occurred in Madison Valley. Thus, until the SPD recognizes Madison Valley as a neighborhood, or resumes giving detailed information about where incidents are occurring, it will be impossible to produce a monthly review of incidents in Madison Valley that have been reported to the police.

Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.

 

Editor’s Note: We want to thank Lowell for his hard work on the Police Reports column over the last five and a half years. Through his efforts, Madison Valley residents have been made more alert to the issues of safety and crime. Thank you, Lowell!

 

Topics: Crime
Robert Dunshee (8:13 am Oct 21)
Lowell, I have very much appreciated your contribution over the years. It seems to me that statistics such as you have reported are essential to reform, whether or not it happens
Kathryn (3:38 am Oct 21)
I complained when Seattle U safety survey for the micro neighborhood policing priority plans did not include this neighborhood in the list. So now it appears that means the SPD did not include this neighborhood in their list. Amazing thing when the city erases a whole neighborhood from consideration!
Karen Cheng (1:32 pm Oct 20)
Thanks so much for your efforts on these crime maps, Dr. Hargens! I found them interesting and informative in the past. Too bad it's so hard to get the right data now!
Karen Cheng (1:32 pm Oct 20)
Thanks so much for your efforts on these crime maps, Dr. Hargens! I found them interesting and informative in the past. Too bad it's so hard to get the right data now!
Andy Morris (12:36 pm Oct 20)
This is a loss to all of us who live in and love Madison Valley. Thank you to Professor Hargens for generously giving his time to provide this report for so many years.