At meeting about violent Hilltop crimes, residents tell neighbors to look out for one another, work with police

Staff writerNovember 18, 2013 

Hilltop residents gathered Monday night to voice concerns about recent violent crimes in the area, asking neighbors to look out for one another.

“We’re not setting off the panic alarm, we’re saying: ‘OK, we can’t be complacent,’” said Hilltop Action Coalition community coordinator Lisa Lawrence.

Dozens attended the meeting at the Tacoma Police substation at 1524 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Hilltop resident Carl Anderson was one of them, and he urged people to call police when they see anything suspicious.

“You see some jerk wrestling into some guy’s garage — I saw that about a month ago — call these guys,” Anderson told his neighbors.

The coalition holds regular monthly meetings, but it organized this one in particular after several recent crimes.

One of the incidents was a Nov. 5 assault on a couple walking through a parking lot near South 19th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Justin Winter, 29, and Mishele Dupree, 39, told KIRO-TV that they were attacked by 15 to 20 young people at the direction of a teenage girl they’d argued with days earlier after denying her a cigarette.

Tacoma police Chief Don Ramsdell and other officials took questions Monday and said investigators were reviewing surveillance footage, hoping to identify suspects. He noted that Hilltop remains one of Tacoma’s safest neighborhoods and has changed drastically from when he patrolled there decades ago.

Winter said he suffered a broken jaw in the attack.

Another incident was a drive-by shooting that wounded two men Nov. 11 in the 1700 block of South Ainsworth Avenue, which police said was also an ongoing investigation.

No arrests have been made in either incident.

“They can’t clean it up if they don’t know,” resident Lauralee Cederlund said Monday about Tacoma police, adding that she’s had a great experience with her community officer. “Call.”

That was a theme of the meeting.

“Get involved, come to your block watch meetings, take down license plates if you see suspicious behavior, call the police,” resident Kevin Carrere told his neighbors. “Hilltop is a great place.”

For more information about the coalition’s meetings, call at 253-590-8747.

Staff writer Stacia Glenn contributed to this report.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com

www.thenewstribune.com/crime-news

@amkrell

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