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Mayor Law Announces Comprehensive Plan to Improve Safety in Downtown Renton and City Parks

May 10, 2011

For more information contact:

Kevin Milosevich, Police Chief, Renton Police Department 425-430-7555
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director 425-430-6569, cell 206-491-8158

Plan Adds Additional Officers to the Transit Center and Downtown Renton

City Also to Launch First-Ever Park Rangers Program

RENTON, WA—The City of Renton is launching a comprehensive program to enhance overall safety in downtown Renton. The new initiative will assign three additional police officers to patrol downtown Renton. The plan also includes zero tolerance and rigorous enforcement of illegal behavior, an increased number of high resolution cameras at the Transit Center, increased lighting, additional cleaning, and several long-term measures. In addition, as part of its plan to enhance safety in its parks and trails, the city will be launching its first-ever Park Rangers program to patrol the city’s major parks and trails to help deter criminal activity.

“While serious crime in our downtown and Transit Center is much less than in our neighboring cities, we still have people who do not feel safe there,” said Mayor Denis Law. “It is my priority and our responsibility to do what we can to make people feel safe throughout our community. These initiatives will give the police, our other city departments, and the community, the tools they need to ensure that our city remains an enjoyable and safe place for our residents and visitors.”

While the city has seen an overall reduction in crime, it continues to experience unruly behavior and youth-related crime such as fights, minor thefts, etc. around the Transit Center.

“We are increasing police visibility, supporting our residents’ and business owners’ quality of life and reminding anyone pursuing criminal actions that they will be arrested,” said Police Chief Kevin Milosevich.

The downtown safety plan includes the following:

Additional Police Presence

  • Three additional officers to patrol the area in downtown Renton from S. 2nd Street to S. 3rd Street and from Rainier Avenue to Main Avenue. These officers will conduct both foot and bicycle patrol of this area.
  • Officers will also be assigned to all special events in downtown Renton including Farmers Market, Return to Renton Car Show, and functions scheduled at the Renton Pavilion Events Center.
  • During the summer months this team will be supplemented by three School Resource Officers.

Enforcement

  • Rigorous enforcement of any illegal behavior at the Transit Center. The city will use a zero-tolerance approach to deal with issues like trespassing, littering, jaywalking, and unlawful bus conduct as defined by the Revised Code of Washington.

Enhanced Safety

  • Increase the number of high-resolution cameras at the Transit Center.
  • Increase the lighting at the Transit Center to improve visibility.
  • Make sure the Transit Center is well-maintained and kept clean.

In addition, the city is reviewing several additional options. These include:

  • Meeting with school district representatives to consider various options that will enhance the safety in the downtown area and Transit Center.
  • Restricting Burnett Avenue S and the connector to Logan Avenue to transit vehicles only.
  • Considering a ban on fortified alcohol in the downtown area to discourage transients.

Park Rangers Program

Along with the comprehensive downtown safety plan, the city will also be rolling out its first-ever Park Rangers program. As part of the program, trained volunteer park rangers will patrol the city’s major parks including Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Liberty Park and the Cedar River trail. The rangers will patrol the parks, wear uniforms to be easily identifiable, and will work closely with staff from the Police Department and Parks Division. Their tasks include ensuring the safety of residents at city parks, patrolling parks to monitor the surroundings, providing information on park safety, upholding the rules and regulations, serving as a liaison with the community, and deterring criminal activity with their presence. They will have radios, and their duties will include directing traffic and assisting with crowd control when necessary.

“Providing a quality park system for residents continues to be a priority for our city,” said Mayor Law. “The creation of the Park Rangers program marks another important milestone in the improvement of our parks and trails, and continues our mission to ensure that our residents have a better, safer park system than ever before.”

"Today’s plan symbolizes our continued effort to reduce crime in all areas of our city and to improve the sense of safety for our citizens,” said Mayor Law.

For more information, visit rentonwa.gov