Parking fines dip in Port Angeles

Council also told of crime reports, concealed weapons permits

PORT ANGELES — Parking infraction tickets dipped in Port Angeles by 24 percent in 2018 compared to 2017 and by 32 percent since 2016, according to the 2018 Port Angeles Police Department Annual Report.

There were 424 tickets issued in 2018 compared to 557 in 2017 and 623 in 2016, almost all downtown.

Police Chief Brian Smith attributed the reduction to less parking enforcement because of more abandoned-vehicle enforcement.

The report also includes non-crime statistics.

There were 1,082 concealed pistol licenses that were issued over three years.

They were evenly divided among 2016, 2017 and 2018 applicants.

A similar even trend was seen in crime reports processed.

There were 3,677 reports processed in 2016, while 3,546 were processed in 2017 and 3,631 in 2018.

Parking enforcement Officer Glenn McFall has been splitting his 15-hour week between issuing infractions to parking scofflaws and eliminating junk vehicles, Smith said.

The position of the city employee who concentrated on abandoned-vehicle enforcement was eliminated in 2014.

“There’s an increasing demand for us to abate junk vehicles,” Smith said Friday.

“Smith said McFall is “extremely effective” at issuing parking citations, but that’s not the only way the city obtains parking compliance.

In 2017, McFall removed or facilitated the removal of over 100 junk or abandoned vehicles citywide compared to the 555 parking infractions he issued.

In 2018, he removed 324 junk vehicles compared to issuing 424 parking tickets.

The decrease in parking enforcement has meant less revenue for the city — $8,035 in 2016 compared to $6,251 in 2017 and $5,118 in 2016.

The annual report is on the City Council’s for-information-only agenda during the regular meeting a 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.

It is available at tinyurl.com/PDN-PoliceReport.

The report also reflects an up and down trend in burglaries, 164 burglaries reported in 2018 compared to 129 in 2017 and 204 in 2016.

Smith said there were about 250 burglaries reported a few years ago.

The 2018 total “is still a big drop from where we are traditionally,” Smith said.

Regular Neighborhood Watch meetings, including one in late May at former Mayor Karen Rogers’ house, have contributed to an increasing number of property owners taking precautions, he speculated.

That includes installing motion-sensor outdoor lighting, letting neighbors know when you are gone, and of course, locking doors, Smith said.

The department has teamed up with the Clallam County Sheriff’s office on outreach that has informed about 15,000 residents on safety precautions.

Violent crimes also have roller-coaster quality from 2016-18.

There were 35, 46, and 40 forcible sex offenses in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, and 65, 55 and 66 aggravated assaults in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Violent offenses also are more of a priority than property crimes.

The five working detectives and a school resource officer-detective “spend all their time on violent crime and only occasionally work on investigating property crime,” Smith said.

Most violent crimes occur between people who know each other.

“Stranger violence is very rare here,” Smith said.

Driving-under-the-influence offenses increased from 52 in 2016 to 78 in 2017 and held somewhat steady at 75 in 2018.

“It is my sense that the DUI problem has not improved in 10 years,” Smith said later Friday in an email.

There were 108 DUI cases in 2012.

“PAPD staffing was at a high level 2009 through 2012 and that may be reflected in the DUI numbers,” Smith said.

In 2015, there were 45 DUI cases.

In addition, from 2014-18, the department received less state traffic-safety overtime for extra DUI patrols.

“We envision increased state DUI funding this year,” Smith said.

Smith said he does not see an increase in crime that he would attribute to mental health issues and said he could not say if there has been a spike in homelessness.

Trespass offenses increased from 112 in 2016 to 113 in 2017 to 136 in 2018.

Drugs-narcotic offenses have been almost identical during the three-year period: between 83 in 2016 to 85 in 2017 to 84 in 2018.

Deputy Chief Jason Viada suggested caution when comparing smaller numbers.

“Sometimes, you can think there’s just a trend when it’s really just a spike,” he said Friday.

“It’s important to remember that behind every one of those statistics is a victim, a person that is a victim.

“That’s an important angle that sometimes gets lost in the statistics.”

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].