Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By David Pan 

Mukilteo Police sees increase in calls for service

Higher numbers are due to self-initiated calls by officers

 

Last updated 8/26/2020 at 11:38am



The Mukilteo Police Department is busier than ever.

But that doesn’t mean that crime is up in Mukilteo.

The department recorded 29,346 calls for service in 2019, a 19% increase from 2018, the third straight year of increased overall numbers. The department had 24,617 calls for service in 2018, 16,434 in 2017 and 14,585 in 2016.

The main reason for increase is from self-initiated calls, which are included in the overall figures. Self-initiated calls are when officers take the initiative to address an issue during their down time, when they are not responding to service calls from the dispatch center.

For example, officers might head out to a location in response to an earlier traffic patrol request from the community or they might go walking in an industrial area, where there has been some previous criminal activity.

“We are doing more with the same amount of staff,” Police Chief Cheol Kang said of the number of service requests. “It’s a lot for a department our size to meet.”

Mukilteo is budgeted for 36 full-time equivalents, of which 28 are commissioned law enforcement officers.

Some highlights from the 2019 annual report, which was recently earlier this summer, include an increase in vehicles thefts – 39 in 2019, up from 34 in 2018, but fewer than 41 in 2017. Burglaries were slightly lower – 71 in 2019, compared to 73 in 2018 and 93 in 2017.

Mukilteo saw a drop of more than a thousand in parking tickets mainly due to the operational problems with the meters at Lighthouse Park.

The department issued 2,171 parking tickets in 2019, compared to 3,102 in 2018 and 2,701 in 2017. The defective parking meters have been replaced.

“The new meters should alleviate the problem,” Kang said. “The new meters are much more robust. They probably should be able to withstand the wear and tear.”

The City saw an increase in infractions, which include traffic violations and other non-criminal offenses, with 730 in 2019, up from 664 in 2018 and 530 in 2017. Criminal citations fell to 241 in 2019 from 283 in 2018 and 147 in 2017. Jail bookings were relatively steady at 151.32 in 2019, compared to 153.32 in 2018 and 112.08 in 2017.

In support service activities, the department saw declines in concealed pistol licenses, records requests, fingerprints, phone calls and counter help. The only increase was in gun purchases, in which the police conduct background checks of gun purchasers. The City had 438 purchases in 2019, up from 400 in 2018 and 429 in 2017. Mukilteo does not have any retail gun stores within the city limits.

The City purchased its first motorcycle with the goal of having that officer working the school zones and handling other traffic duties. Due to a staffing shortage, the officer currently is covering shifts in the patrol division.

But once the pandemic has been resolved, Kang said the plan is to have the officer work on collision investigations.

The Mukilteo Police Department’s 2019 annual report, along with previous years, can be accessed at: https://bit.ly/31kjvdz

 

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