Late last night, twenty-six-year-old Preston Thompson was riding his motorcycle on Tacoma’s east side when he was hit by a car. The driver stopped, got out of the car and ran. He has yet to be found. Preston was taken to Tacoma General Hospital where he later died from injuries sustained during the wreck.
It turns out that one of my coworkers is best friends with Preston’s father. It’s a quick reminder to me that these deaths are never anonymous. Every one of these people means something to someone. That’s part of the reason for this site. I want these victims to be remembered for more than the day or two they show up on the local news. These are residents of our city. They are people you probably walked by last week. And but for the grace of God, you could be one of them.
Early Sunday morning Tacoma lost another resident to violence. Residents near South 19th and Fawcett report hearing two gunshots and seeing two cars drive away. A passerby found an off duty police officer and pointed out a body in a dark alleyway. She appeared to be 30 to 40 years old and had been shot in the head.
Residents report that the area has recently become a haven for prostitutes, drug dealers, and transients. In July an apartment building known as The Fawcett House on 1945 South Fawcett was condemned due to code violations. Unfortunately boarding up a building in a bad neighborhood is exactly the sort of base of operations for any number of criminal activities. Neighbors report seeing drug deals, sex acts, and other activities in broad daylight in this area.
There’s no doubt that now that someone has been killed the police will do something about this. But what it will likely be is the same sort of band-aid on an open wound policing most of Tacoma has come to expect. The Fawcett House will likely not be as much of a problem, but that just means some other house will.
That isn’t to say that all the blame should be put on the TPD. These communities are just as much to blame. While you can ask any number of people about criminal activities around that alleyway, I’d be wiling to bet that the neighbors didn’t do much to stop it. I doubt there were many phone calls to the police and no one did something as simple and going to Home Depot and buying a couple spotlights for that alleyway. Or failing that, how about getting a few photos of these people? There are always things you can do when crime infests your neighborhood. And if you ask me, these aren’t just things you can do, but things you should do. You have to ask yourself what sort of neighborhood you want to live in and what you’re doing to make sure your neighborhood lives up to that. Remember, community policing is just as much about community as it is about police.