jeudi 29 mai 2008

The Rise in Female Criminality

Her name is Sherri and she's homeless.

People tend to think of the Southend of Seattle as the wrong side of the tracks. For those who know, the Delridge-White Center-South Park "triangle" (though I'm not sure they form one) is probably the worst of the Southend. Today I was reading the online version of the local rag--the West Seattle Herald Tribune--and decided to check out the police blotter for the neighborhood.

Those who think that the life of a cop in the Southend is all about homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and gang warfare are just plain wrong.

Here are the top three items on the ledger:

Case 1:
At Westwood Village, merchants called 911 to report that a woman had been in the store for four hours, crying and asking customers for cigarettes. Officers found her without shoes and wearing only a thin tank top and short skirt. She said she had been staying at homeless shelters and was cold. Placed in a squad car to warm up, she began screaming to be let out, saying that the seats hurt and that the car was the "wrong color." In a case of mistaken identity, she then yelled at a female officer, calling her "Sherry," and screaming, "You abused me. You abused my mom." The 33-year-old woman then lunged at the officer, but was taken down and transported to Harborview for a mental health examination.

Case 2:
There is probably cause to arrest a young woman who abandons her two-year-old whenever she receives her support check. (Relatives suspect she is on drugs or has mental issues.) Always claiming that she'll be "returning soon," she recently left the child, who was sick, with three transients. The three then left the child at a relative's doorstep, cursing as they ran off. They later denied abandoning the child. A check of the mother's residence found clothing, garbage and half-eaten food strewn all over. The child is currently staying with the relatives.

Case 3:
A woman left her High Point-area home to mediate a street fight and ended up being attacked by her husband. He threw her to the ground several times, yelling that he was going to get a divorce. Officers found her incoherent and very intoxicated. After they arrested the husband, the woman ran down the street and began throwing rocks at her own bedroom window. He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of domestic violence assault.

What is amazing about our three top stories, aside from the fact that they were deemed worthy of any ink at all, is that they revolve around women. Just wives or moms or former wives and/or moms, behaving badly. There are the usual issues--drugs, mental health, domestic violence, neglect--but with the White Center twist. These are poor folks, not Bellevue folks. As for the lady bumming cigarettes for four hours, I have to believe she was inside the Target store. That's the uncontested retail magnet for this shopping center, and the only store any normal person could ever stand to spend four hours in. Except she wasn't normal, apparently. That's why they took her to Harborview. Saying the seats of the squad car hurt was odd, but acceptable. Objecting to the color of the squad car was troubling, but not enough to take her in for a mental exam. Mistaking the police officer for "Sherry" was the strike that put her out.

But what did this woman do exactly?
Hung out in Target for four hours
Cried and bummed cigarettes
Complained about a car (seats and color)
Called someone by the wrong name.

If you want to remain trouble-free in White Center, just keep these things in mind.

The second lady abandons her child whenever she has a little cash. The relatives are tired of picking up the slack. Not much to say there. Poor little girl. She'll be better off elsewhere. What kind of parent leaves their kid with "transients"? One who is hoping the kid will bugger off.

The third lady, let's call her Nosy Parker, goes out to break up a fight. Trouble is, she's drunk and soon has a fight of her own on her hands, with her husband. Somebody calls the cops and they arrest the husband, but let the wife go. She runs down the street and throws rocks in her own bedroom window. No crime in that.

This is White Center in a nutshell, folks. I can't think of anything to add. Not so much true crime as true grime.