Crazy shit (CS) was happening early Saturday morning, and I only learned about it when I was in the midst of it. What is the best way to keep informed when CS is happening? Are their good resources available for these sort of situations?
The Saturday morning CS involved roughly 20 police cars, half a dozen state troopers, and a smattering of fire and ambulance informally cordoning off the area from roughly 45th and I5 down to the ship canal bridge, over to 15th Ave and back up to 45th. If my math is correct, that is roughly 100 square blocks. Within that area there were at least two groups of police actively searching between houses with flashlights. I was walking the dog and simply ambled right into the middle of it. Once in the middle of it, I called the non-emergency police number and was politely told, “There is an active pursuit of a suspect in that area.” Nice to know. I asked if I should leave. “No, you do not need to leave, but you might want to go home and wait until later to walk in that area. If you do stay there, please call 911 immediately with any suspicious activity.” Again, nice to know. Wish I had known that earlier.
I am using the term “crazy shit” to refer to rapidly evolving situations that have no clear point of notifying the public, but late comers to the situation wonder “why the hell didn’t I know this was happening?” Other examples in and around the neighborhood would include the Cafe Racer shooting and lockdowns at area schools. It is something less than an emergency such as an earthquake, but something much larger than a burglary or car chase. “Police event” seems a little too clinical a term, but might apply.
I scanned through my own inventory of new sources for emergent local news and found very little:
- WSDOT and SeattleDOT twitter feeds that show traffic related incidents. Saturday morning, neither of those indicated anything of the scale I was perceiving.
- Seattle Real Time 911 gave some indication that I5 and 45th was the scene of activity, but again no indication of the scale. The units usually give some indication of scale: more units equates to bigger CS is happening.
- Seattle Police Tweets by Beat posts selective information about calls. Quoting their site “In order to protect crime victims, officers, and the integrity of investigations, calls will display one hour after a dispatcher sends the call to an officer. The feeds also do not include information about domestic violence calls, sexual assaults, and other certain types of crimes”
- The Seattle Times – The site will occasionally have alerts about bigger news items.
- The community facebook page can be useful, but you need to have the correct neighborhood page. I could not easily say what page maps to that portion of the University District.
- The Seattle Police non-emergency phone number 206 625-5011. This puts you into the 911 queue, but more important calls are answered first. The operator will answer as though you called 911.
Only a call to the police gave any information. Here is where I turn to the comments to see what other resources others rely on. Is the best answer simply to call the non-emergency number first?
Finally, anyone know what was happening Saturday morning?