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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 1, 2008 at 3:54 PM

Gang violence and drugs

Don’t let it escalate

Although The Seattle Times story made some great points, I had to read it twice as I was surprised there was no mention of the “d” word (drugs) [“Word on the street: Seattle violence is rising,” News, Nov. 26].

Are gangs just about turf, cloths and hand signs? It is the business of drug dealing that is the fuel for this criminal vehicle and I believe it is an area where the Seattle Police Department needs to stop turning a blind eye. I drive Jackson Street and Yesler Way daily for work and see 10 hand-to-hand drug deals a week. I don’t remember reading about Seattle’s drug-dealing tolerance policy anywhere, but apparently we have one that starts at the top and seeps down to our line officers.

I was also struck that the powers that be were afraid to label the string of recent shootings as gang-related. Let’s call it what it is and work on the root cause. In Los Angles, Detroit and Chicago, the homicide victims of gang violence number in the hundreds in each of those cities.

Seattle police should not be concerned with whether the suspect they arrest for selling narcotics is released within days of his arrest, or whether the jails are full, or that there is prison overcrowding. Their job is simple: See a crime and make an arrest.

Being a gang member is a lot less attractive looking from prison behind bars. I would like to make a suggestion to our chief: Please take back two of the corners at Jackson Street and Martin Luther King Way.

One dispute, one turf battle, one drive-by, one stray bullet that kills an innocent, 13-year-old girl who is attending the Seattle Girls School across the street and the Seattle PD brass will have egg on their face that they will never get off.

— Eric Kormondy, Seattle

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