Has crime increased in PT?

Posted 8/28/19

Having lived in Port Townsend for many years I have really enjoyed The Leader as it enables me to catch up on the local news and also the upcoming week’s entertainment. For the most part I have …

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Has crime increased in PT?


Having lived in Port Townsend for many years I have really enjoyed The Leader as it enables me to catch up on the local news and also the upcoming week’s entertainment. For the most part I have supported The Leader’s change in style and content.

However for the past couple of weeks I have become very upset on two accounts. As soon as you open the paper you immediately see a full-page of the Police and Sheriff’s Logs.

1) What an awful way to portray to both tourists and residents regarding the crimes in Port Townsend.

2) Only just a few years ago this column was almost negligible, what has happened, has The Leader any suggestions or assigned a reporter to dig into the problem.

John Spencer
Port Townsend


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Tom Camfield

When I first returned to the Leader on the writing side in 1954, it already was running a "Justice Court" column each week. And it specifically listed names of the offenders—but only after the cases had been adjudicated, the culprits having been found or pleading guilty. One of my various tasks was hot-footing it down to the office of District Court Judge A. C. Grady each week and thumbing through his record book, which was always available to the press. Readers loved that column in the paper, as it showed who got caught doing what—over limit on clams, low-grade domestic assault, drunk driving, petty theft, vandalism, you name it. I checked each case off with a small pencil mark as i copied it from the book. Pleading phone calls to the Leader failed to keep a particular name out of print.

The popularity and nature of this column has varied with different publishers over the intervening years. The reports city and county cases these days certainly helps the public know what's going on around them. That's a good thing. 'And it can't be a principled thing to lure tourists by lying to them with a false facade of total innocence. Our crime rate actually is way, way less than the cities where most of these tourists come from.

The police call book back in the '50s was another thing. Chief George Willestoft kept it in the town's only police car, in which he spent a lot to time parked at Water & Taylor Sts. He got miffed at the Leader over something at one point and refused to let us look at it. Possibly what had gotten to him was the story of he and his patrolman having blindly shot up Aldrich's store one night in responding to a suspected burglary. We never pressed the issue of his call book.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Mike Loriz

I've only been here five years, so I cannot share a long-term perspective on the crime issue. However, these few years have been busy, and I'm not so sure we are that much better off than other places in terms of serious crime, as Tom suggests.

For instance: About three years ago, we were awaken in the wee hours by flashlights shining into our house. The police were outside, obviously looking for something or someone. As we discovered later, our next door neighbor, Ms Woodson, found two uninvited males in her house. Not long after, another adjacent house was broken into at night. And five cars, including one of ours, were vandalized. $2200 down the tube. (Ironically, on 8/8/2015, Woodson called the police to try to get me apprehended for having a plumber over at 10 am on a Saturday morning. Just desserts, perhaps).

Last summer, there were two stabbings a few blocks away. I walked past one of them on the way to my crab skiff.

A few mornings ago, we heard what sounded like a psychologically-distressed woman screaming nearby. My wife finally called the police twenty minutes later, as it continued. As I told my wife, I now feel as if I'm bothering the police by calling them.

Like so many things these days, it seems like doing it oneself is the way to ensure it gets done. Which is why I sleep with a baseball bat near and a (safely stored) hunting rifle not far away. If I wake with uninvited guests in the house, the second thing I'll do is call the police, if you understand my meaning.

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Dawn mohrbacher

Mike we must live near you. She came up and sat on my porch and continued Jed to scream. The police told me screaming is not illegal. I'm thinking of taking it up....

Sunday, September 1, 2019