UPDATE AUG. 5: The Stranger has more information on the crime prevention coordinators here.
Wednesday evening thousands of Seattle residents joined in the giant block party that is National Night Out against crime. Our news partners The Seattle Times reports more than 1,000 blocks in the city celebrated.
It might be for the last time.
Night Out in Seattle is a function of the city’s six civilian crime prevention coordinators, who work directly with the neighborhoods but could see their positions axed, as we reported earlier.
Seattle faces a multi-million dollar budget shortage, and the six, including North Precinct coordinators Diane Horswill and Neil Hansen, have been told they’ll lose their jobs next spring.
Today Marc Phillips, president of the Maple Leaf Community Council, let us know that “this is likely the last year (for Night Out) due to budget cuts.”
Horswill confirms: “I think it is important for neighbors to know that the services we provide including block watch, community meetings, security consultations, personal safety and Night Out will be gone,” she e-mailed today.
“Although the budget won’t be official until late Fall we (Crime Prevention Coordinators) were told that the 3-year-grant that we have been working under for the past year or so will be applied to other positions/programs as of 3/31/2011.”
The crime prevention coordinators do the time-consuming administrative work of orchestrating the neighborhood programs under their city contract, in addition to working directly with residents doing everything from setting up block watches to going door-to-door to warn about recent crimes. They were part of the police budget up until last October, when the positions were funded with the federal grant money.
“We’re encouraging folks to contact the mayor, Councilperson Burgess, and Chief Diaz to fund this vital service,” Phillips said.