Message from the Police Chief: Safety reminders for the holiday season

The Federal Way Police Department will have extra holiday patrols, additional surveillance camera and more.

We are fortunate to live in a community where the residents are so supportive of their Police Department. We are very thankful to all those residents and businesses who have delivered kind words, cards, cookies, and food to the hard-working men and women during the past year. Your kindness has lifted the spirits of our officers and professional staff.

We are now in the holiday season. This is a time for family, friends, and other loved ones to peacefully enjoy time with one another. Unfortunately, this season, there will be unsavory individuals seeking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. This calls for some safety reminders. Please take universal precautions and practice good crime prevention tactics, such as:

  • Always pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Don’t use a phone while driving (more on automobile safety later).
  • A distracted person is an attractive target to criminals. To reduce distractions, minimize your use of a phone while walking.
  • Always remove valuables from your vehicle when you leave your car unattended.
  • While shopping or visiting a gym, if you must leave an item in your car, secure the item in your trunk before parking.
  • For neighborhood safety, get to know your neighbors and talk regularly about neighborhood safety concerns. Participate in your (or consider forming a) Neighborhood Watch Program.
  • Always lock your residential doors, including when you are home.
  • Keep bushes trimmed around your doors and windows.
  • Where finances allow, add security lighting.
  • Report suspicious activity to the police! Call 911 for something that is in progress. For other observations, call our non-emergency number: (253) 835-2121.

We will deploy extra holiday patrols at various business areas throughout the city. These patrols are in addition to regularly assigned patrol officers. We partner with The Commons management, assigning three officers full-time to patrol the mall and surrounding property, which reduces crime and increases shopper safety. We will continue partnering with other large and small retail businesses. We work in close partnership with loss prevention and store security officers to mitigate and prevent shoplifting.

We use Automatic License Plate Readers on some of our patrol vehicles — this curbs crime in which stolen cars are often used. The system scans license plate numbers as officers patrol their sectors, comparing thousands of plates with state and national crime databases. When the system detects a stolen car, it notifies the officer.

The Police Department has purchased two portable surveillance camera trailers to impact and reduce criminal activity in the city. These high-visibility cameras will be linked to our Safe City system. We will deploy the trailers during the holiday season this month to deter shoplifting and to support our business community.

We continue expanding the Safe City Program, which is unique to Federal Way. We expanded the number of surveillance cameras throughout our city to more than 460 views. This technology helps us reduce and solve crimes in our community.

Given all of the media attention, people tend to be hyper-focused on personal safety related to crimes of violence. However, traffic collisions are the greatest threat to you and your family this season — to any law-bidding person year-round. Traffic accidents are random and injure far more people than any crime.

To protect yourself and your family this holiday season, we ask you to be especially aware of the rules of the road.

  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Turn on your headlights earlier than dusk.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid distractions while driving.
  • During the dark hours of December, please be especially committed to abstaining from using your phone while driving.
  • Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Our officers spend a significant amount of their time responding to vehicle accidents and other traffic matters. Please remind your family members, particularly teenagers, to drive safely. Doing otherwise sooner or later has serious, life-altering consequences. ​

We are proud to be part of this community. We commit to providing the people of Federal Way with the highest level of police service possible. We work toward strengthening our relationships with the stakeholders in our community.

The mission of the Federal Way Police Department is for every member to consistently earn the public’s trust while enhancing the quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses within our City.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season. It is an honor for us to serve you!

Police Chief Andy J. Hwang

Federal Way Police Department