Topic: downtown seattle
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September 22, 2013 at 7:02 AM
Make resources available
Last Saturday’s tragic and senseless stabbing death of Troy Wolff and hospitalization of Kristin Ito cannot be forgotten. [“Guest column: How to make downtown more safe after the death of Troy Wolff,” Opinion, Sept. 19.]
We must work on ways to prevent these random acts of violence.
Community leaders who have resources to effect change need to promote change with posters and information in the parks and on the streets, encouraging people to call 911 and make reports about disturbed and threatening people and incidences.
We need to ask the homeless population to help prevent these violent acts. Having been homeless myself at times, as well as having close friends and relatives with major mental illnesses, I believe the homeless population would work with prevention tools if they were better-informed on reporting procedures.
Washington has civil commitment laws that help determine when people with severe mental illnesses need court-ordered treatment. Outpatient treatment is often possible.
Jane Smith, Tacoma
September 20, 2013 at 7:02 AM
In his guest column on how to make Seattle’s streets safer, Jack McCullough makes good and responsible suggestions. [“How to make downtown more safe after the death of Troy Wolff,” Opinion, Sept. 19.]
As a follow-up, the Downtown Seattle Association, as well as other organizations and individuals who support these steps to safer streets, need to step up and aggressively support the increases in local and state taxes needed to support them.
Loren Arnett, Bothell
In the guest column by Jack McCullough, prompted by the tragic death of Troy Wolff, several suggestions and proposals were made to deal with the problem of safety for those in our downtown Seattle area.
What is evident in all of these is that they attempt to accomplish this worthy goal by placing the responsibility for one’s personal safety on others. What is sadly missing is any mention of personal responsibility.
How different might the outcome in this sad event have been if either Wolff or his female partner had taken the steps to have a permit to carry a gun, and thus provided for their own safety.
Howard Almquist, Shoreline
September 15, 2013 at 8:01 AM
There has been much said and written about the environment in downtown Seattle lately. [“Council, stakeholders discuss downtown crime,” NW Thursday, Sept. 5.]
I have been in the area of Pine and Pike at various times making deliveries, and I have seen so many things I consider disturbing and unsafe.
I am not trained to notice, but I have no problem seeing how it must look to visitors and guests in our city. I see people moving to the other side of the street to avoid contact with someone yelling, panhandling or being a perceived threat to their safety.
I have been in the back of my truck and approached by individuals looking for “free samples,” seen others arguing on the sidewalk and close to fighting and other obvious activities that should not be tolerated.
This happens in the early morning, midday and afternoon, and there has been very little police presence to stop these activities. Why do we have to have a major crime to bring this to a stop?
If I were visiting another city as a tourist and saw this, I would not only leave that area, but also tell others what I saw and encourage them to stay away.
Alan Greear, Maple Valley
September 12, 2013 at 6:22 AM
It’s a problem
The problems in downtown Seattle are not just perception. [“Editorial: Downtown Seattle feels unsafe. Fix it,” Opinion, Sept. 8.]
I’ll focus on one day, Aug. 12. I had clients in town who experienced the shooting of a Metro bus driver, the subsequent police chase and the fatal shooting of the gunman. On our walk to lunch at Pike Place Market, we encountered both vomit and feces on the sidewalk. To cap off the day, an apparently homeless man was passed out at my bus stop.
My job moved from Tacoma to Seattle in 2010. I realize that, to many Seattleites, Tacoma is considered the armpit of Western civilization. Yes, the City of Destiny has had its problems. However, through diligence and a strong police presence, including regular bicycle patrols, downtown Tacoma is now a much safer place to be.
I implore the city of Seattle and your future mayor to clean up the downtown core for the safety of its citizens and denizens.
Jill McEntee, Tacoma
September 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM
Learn from it, and fix it
But first, write about it so that the voters of the city and the state actually see what has been wrought since President Reagan claimed that we would provide better care to those confined in mental institutions if they were moved into our communities.
I am not afraid to walk around or through street people, but I hate that they are there. I want our community to see our obligation to confront the fact of their presence.
I do not want more police officers to move them on to another corner. These people stand, sit and lie down, in evidence of the cruelty that ever greater profits flowing up to the ever fewer do not “lift all boats,” and no longer even “trickle down.”
Janet Winans, Seattle
August 29, 2013 at 6:26 AM
Former New Yorker Stuart Marvin’s pointed observations about Seattle’s grizzly downtown and his recommended solutions are right-on. [“Downtown crime shocks New Yorker,” NW Wednesday, Aug. 28.]
But as someone whose migration pattern is the reverse of his — after 35 years in Western Washington, I moved to metropolitan New York — I know why his solutions won’t happen.
In New York, citizens and taxpayers are protected from rabble-rousers and criminals. In Seattle, it’s the reverse: rabble-rousers, who are often petty criminals, are coddled and protected by city officials.
[City Attorney] Peter Holmes’ unwillingness to act against repeat offenders is an example. Ditto the mere presence of Nickelsville, the illegal homeless camp that’s a stick in Seattle’s eye with only empty City Council rhetoric directed against it.
New Yorkers wouldn’t tolerate either for an instant. I saw two NYPD officers take a paper sack containing a bottle of Jack Daniels from a man and pour it into the gutter, then he was hauled off.
In Seattle, go after scofflaws or impose legal sanctions against unlawful encampments and you incur the wrath of nonprofits and bureaucratic sycophants.
You’re then checked by official timidity, political correctness and the fear of hurting someone’s feelings, none of which matter to a New Yorker.
Scott St. Clair, Clifton, N.J.
August 14, 2013 at 7:08 PM
City leaders must face reality
Our mayor, using cherry-picked statistics, says violent crime is down in the downtown area. [“Data: Violent crime spikes downtown in summer,” page one, Aug. 13.]
As a downtown resident for more than eight years, I have seen street disorder, petty crime, intimidation and minor assaults increase over that time, especially during the last four years.
You don’t need to have a shooting every day to have a serious problem. The sidewalks are occupied by vagrants, aggressive panhandlers, loud people with obvious mental-health issues and running youths.
Part of the problem is lack of active enforcement by police. I am fully aware of the rights we all have, but I feel those stop when someone who is obviously unhinged wildly waves his hands in my face.
The other part of the problem is that downtown Seattle carries an overwhelming share of King County’s social services, which results in a concentration of these problems. Our current mayor’s solution to these is to deny they exist.
We need a mayor with a proven track record of working across interest groups to solve complex and sometimes divisive problems.
Paul Gutowski, Seattle
July 23, 2013 at 6:06 AM
City leaders must address problem
I watched the primary mayoral debate on PBS recently, and I was bewildered and disappointed to hear no mention of the escalating crime situation in downtown Seattle.
As a frequent public-transit rider, I no longer feel safe waiting for buses on Third Avenue, due to the assaults, stabbings and shootings that have occurred near there.
I have learned to become creative in finding alternate routes in safer areas. The heart of downtown has become shabby, with the smell of urine on dirty sidewalks. Bus-tunnel elevators have become mobile urinals.
In a city as scenic and picturesque as Seattle, it is shameful and disgusting that parts of the central business district have been allowed to deteriorate to this degree. Like poverty, it isn’t a pretty picture, and I am certain this is why it isn’t a popular municipal subject.
I look forward to the day when the city government, along with local tourism and business associations, will recognize and acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and begin to move forward with concrete steps to give us the clean and safe downtown we used to enjoy decades ago.
The problem won’t solve itself, and will only become worse if nothing is done.
Larisa Lindemann, Kenmore
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