Council to host meeting on fighting crime

The Vashon Maury Island Community Council (VMICC) will host a meeting next Monday meant to discuss how islanders can reduce crime and increase safety on Vashon.

Major Jerrell Wills of the King County Sheriff’s Office and the head of the Southwest Precinct, will attend and speak on how best to form and use a block watch system, said Tim Johnson, the VMICC board president.

Many groups on Vashon are talking about crime problems on the island, he said, and he hopes this meeting might help launch a more coordinated effort.

“It seemed to us the missing piece was pulling the groups together,” he said.

Several groups have been invited, he noted, but at press time he did not know which would ones would send representatives.

King County has been clear in communicating that the island is not going to get more deputies, and so, Johnson said, it is up to islanders to coordinate, identify  problems and report them. The intent is not to create a vigilante system, Johnson noted, but to augment the work of the police.

Stephen Buffington, the VMICC secretary, said that the meeting is meant to be a forum where people can learn “on-the-ground, practical steps” and is not meant to be a time for ranting about problems.

The council is hoping that an array of community-building groups will bring their skills so that social services, disaster preparedness and other issues related to community resilience can all be coordinated, Buffington added.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, at McMurray Middle School, one week later than usual because of the holiday this week.

— Susan Riemer

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