Trouble spots for county cops

A look at the top places Clark County sheriff's deputies were most frequently called to in 2010




Officials, neighbors, seek value in motel

Officials, neighbors, seek value in motel

One doesn’t have a sign. The other is known by its large sign promising cheap overnight lodging.

Separated by about a mile of Highway 99, Callaham’s Mobile Estates and the Value Motel are regular fixtures on a list produced annually by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that tracks calls-for-service.

They are joined on the 2010 list by two large retailers, a park, a hospital and a couple of apartment complexes. City police calls were not tabulated.

The main link between one place and the next seems to be this: They’re all host to large concentrations of people.

Law enforcement and neighborhood officials took care to emphasize that inclusion on the list doesn’t mean the businesses are unsafe or crime-infested. Rather, large parking lots, absentee owners and inconsistent management barrel into an intersection of opportunities to commit crimes, and a “certain clientele” tends to take advantage, said Mike Evans, the sheriff’s office’s chief criminal deputy.

The annual ranking of top locations for police calls is generated annually by the sheriff’s office to help focus resources. Here is the list:

Prairie View Apartments, 12611 N.E. 99th St.

One of the largest apartment complexes in Clark County, the Prairie View Apartments in Sifton is regularly among the places to which deputies are called most, sheriff’s officials said. A man at the complex was shot in August during what police described at the time as an apparent drug transaction. Neither man lived at the property.

Sheriff Garry Lucas said new management took over at the apartment last summer and served “a lot” of eviction notices.

“They’ve been working with us to deal with those problem tenants,” the sheriff said.

There are 284 apartments on the complex.

“We’re working directly with the police department to make it a better community to live in,” said Gina Stephens, who was hired as Prairie View’s manager in February. “The screening process is a lot stricter than it used to be.”

Callaham’s Mobile Estates, 10804 N.E. Highway 99

With 275 calls for service, sheriff’s deputies visited Callaham’s more days than not in 2010. Mere mention of crime and a mobile home complex prompted Commander Keith Kilian to say, sighing, “10804.” The address inside the sheriff’s office is notorious.

Its trailers are old and run-down. Rent for many tenants is paid by the government’s Section 8 subsidized housing program. Tenants concerned about the program’s long waiting list may be reluctant to complain and be put in a position to look for a new place to live, Evans said.

“I think it tends to demotivate some landlords to make improvements,” Evans said.

When approached by a reporter, a manager on-site declined comment, saying, “Nothing positive ever comes from it.”

Bridge Creek Apartment Homes, 9211 N.E. 15th Ave.

Bud Van Cleve of the Hazel Dell Neighborhood Association said this complex, formerly known as Discovery Park Apartments, is a constant on the sheriff’s list. He said apartment buildings tend to move in and out of the top crime spots, depending on the quality of their management. There are 210 units at the complex.

“If they change managers, oftentimes the service calls for the fire and police drop off the list because the manager’s doing a good job,” Van Cleve said. “He gets promoted, and someone else comes in and they go down again.”

Affinity Property Management took over the complex last year. A manager said there are security patrols several times a day.

Value Motel, 708 N.E. 78th St.

The Value Motel is best known for its large sign situated east of near Interstate 5 that promises rooms for $21/$23 a night. The about-160-room motel is spread across three buildings. It was the subject of 238 calls for service in 2010. Lucas ordered a task force to look into ways to slow crime calls at the motel.

Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, 2211 N.E. 139th St.

The hospital ranks high because of calls made to comply with mandatory reporting requirements relating to domestic violence and child abuse, according to sheriff’s and hospital officials.

“I actually thought it would have been higher,” spokesman Brian Willoughby said of the 237 calls made in 2010.

He said Legacy sees more than 50,000 patients each year in its emergency room. “You can’t predict how many are going to generate calls to sheriff’s office, but many of them do,” he said.

Willoughby also said that sometimes patients become so unruly that police have to be called, particularly patients trying to scam drugs or dealing with mental illnesses.

Orchards Park, 9619 N.E. 54th St.

This sprawling park in Orchards and near the end of Fourth Plain Boulevard is heavily trafficked, Evans said.

He suspected many of the calls were not emergency calls but notes entered by deputies driving through the parking lot as part of regular patrol.

“They’re checking on it so families can enjoy the park,” Evans said.

WinCo, 9700 N.E. Highway 99

Sheriff’s officials and neighborhood leaders said the reason the grocer ranked high on the calls-for-service list is simply because it has a large parking lot.

It is equipped with surveillance, Lucas said, meaning staff is aware of most issues that arise. A loss prevention office is on-site.

Several shoppers stopped on a recent afternoon said they always feel safe shopping and haven’t run into any issues.

“We’re here just about twice a week — Tuesday and Friday. I’ve never seen anything questionable, even,” said George Bluhm, a farmer from Woodland.

A phone call to WinCo was directed to the company’s corporate office.

Fred Meyer, 7411 N.E. 117th Ave.

Similar to WinCo, Fred Meyer has surveillance in its parking lot and is quick to alert the sheriff’s office of illegal activity. Common crimes include shoplifting, auto prowls and forged checks. Calls to a manager were not returned.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office Central Precinct office, 11608 N.E. 149th St.,

West Precinct office, 505 N.W. 179th St.

The sheriff’s office’s own precincts actually top the call list. This reflects calls in the building’s jurisdiction and assigned by a deputy at the front desk. That they rank high is a sign of efficiency, Evans said.