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September 17, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Another senseless downtown murder, and Seattleites begin to wonder where it’s going to end. [“1 killed, 1 hurt in random Seattle stabbing,” NW Sunday, Sept. 15.]
A man is killed protecting his date from an apparently addled street person while leaving a soccer game in Pioneer Square, and the police response is to tell people they need to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe. That’s the advice a young private gets from his tough top sergeant before going out on a patrol, not the advice the people of Seattle should be getting from their police as they head downtown.
Enough talk. Seattle has a downtown safety problem. The police know it, the city attorney knows it, the mayor knows it, the city council knows it, the downtown business people know it, the people of Seattle know it. But nothing gets done beyond more talk and more studies.
A good start would be to drop enforcement of parking laws and other non-safety statutes, and put all police resources on protecting the folks who pay their salaries. Our leadership then needs to figure out a plan to resolve the downtown issues, determine what it will cost, and sell the program to the voters. We the people then need to drop all this “no new taxes” nonsense, and give our elected officials the funds needed to give us a safe downtown, rather than the watch-your-back downtown we have today.
Jim Secan, Seattle
Fund mental health
The tragic death of Professor Troy Wolff reminded me that more than a decade ago, a nearly identical tragedy happened in almost the same location.
A retired Seattle fire chief was stabbed to death by a mentally ill man after leaving a sporting event in downtown. The fire chief’s family used their grief to press for a mental health court system in Seattle — one of the first in the nation.
This was a wonderful step forward with addressing the mental health crisis in Washington state; however, it does not solve the problem of too few beds for those who are mentally ill.
Unless our state legislators get serious about funding mental health, we will continue to see these tragedies.
Jim Knight, Seattle
September 9, 2013 at 6:58 PM
I read your editorial regarding downtown crime. [“Downtown Seattle feels unsafe. Fix it,” Opinion, Sept. 8.]
Statistics are a useless measure. Downtown crime, the filth, a total open-air drug market, prostitution … go walk at night between First Avenue and Third Avenue, between Union and Virginia. It’s a disaster.
Welcome to my world: I reside in the middle of it.
Mayor Mike McGinn’s idea of more cops in cars downtown? Useless. Put a dozen beat and bicycle cops down here and let them do their jobs without the constant fear of the Office of Professional Accountability and Department of Justice breathing down their necks.
It’s not just a slight statistical tick up in crime, it’s a war zone down here.
Detective Mac Gordon, Seattle Police Department, Seattle
Clean up the streets
Regarding the editorial on downtown Seattle, I couldn’t agree with you more in one major regard: Now is the time fix this. I do not agree that the solution is to throw more money at social programs.
Many people simply need to take responsibility for their lives. Perhaps we should have some of these folks participate in mandatory cleanup programs to teach them the value of putting in a solid day’s work; clean up vandalism, pick up litter and so on.
Seattle is way too tolerant of many things; vagrancy, letting trash build up, tagging, public urination and public-drug use. Although I am not necessarily a fan of the man, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York did amazing things in his city and made New York one of the largest feel-safe cities.
Why reinvent the wheel? Call on other city officials who have successfully turned their cities around. We enjoy the symphony, downtown restaurants and other places of interest downtown, but unless things start turning around, we may take our interest.
Has anyone noticed how clean and safe Bellevue seems these days? What’s their secret? I believe the mayoral candidate who embraces and acts on cleaning up Seattle’s streets will get the vote.
John Hargarten, Seattle
August 21, 2013 at 6:43 AM
Violent crime is worse
To the letter writer who was upset about drug crimes, I understand your annoyance. [“Northwest Voices: Crime in Seattle,” Opinion, Aug. 18.]
I get annoyed with drug users at times, too. But to equate a drug transaction with violent crimes, such as murder, rape, assault, domestic violence and armed robbery, is ridiculous.
Let’s get real here. What’s the bigger threat to you — the man beating up his girlfriend, someone assaulting a bus driver, or a recreational drug user looking for a good time?
Violence is always bad. I’m not going to judge nonviolent crimes. I’ll leave that for you to do.
Brian Fehr, Kirkland
August 20, 2013 at 6:48 PM
Question the money
According to the recent article in The Seattle Times, the money being used to extend police patrols comes from “better-than-expected city revenues.” [“McGinn taps $400K to boost patrols in crime hot spots,” page one, Aug. 16.]
What does that mean? Where else would or could it have been spent? It seems like there should be room for some discussion about those numbers.
Steven Albright, Seattle
August 18, 2013 at 7:53 AM
Drug crimes rampant
Major crimes versus violent crimes — what’s the difference? [“Downtown getting safer? Not according to numbers,” page one, Aug. 15.]
In Seattle, it’s the sleaze factor that is so disgusting in the Westlake area. There are no police around and nothing but drug transactions going on, right in the heart of the city. The mayor can say all he wants, but he’s wrong.
I’m a Seattle native, but feel much safer in Manhattan than I do in Seattle. I live on the Eastside, but would like to go downtown more often.
The last time my husband and I went to Westlake, we saw three drug transactions at 10 a.m. I’m embarrassed by the city and how the tourists must view it.
And yet the Police Department can spare the officers to hand out Doritos at Hempfest?
Katie Chace, Bellevue
Don’t blame Mayor McGinn
There are so many letters written demanding the mayor do something about violence downtown. These are written by good people who should know better. [“Northwest Voices: Terror for bus drivers,” Opinion, Aug. 16.]
As someone who has been involved in Seattle business and crime issues for the last 35 years, I know that the mayor can do very little to deal with an immediate outburst of crime downtown, other than throw more police at it.
Our downtown violence cannot be turned on or off like a faucet.
How many downtown violence waves and violence task forces have there been? How many nonprofits have been funded to deal with this issue?
Since we seem to be attacking the mayor, how about City Council public safety chairs? What about the president of the Downtown Seattle Association, or our various former police chiefs? Just like the mayor, they are good people who have tried to work on various solutions. Some have worked and some have not.
You cannot hold one person responsible for such a complex problem. Let’s continue working on the effective things that make a difference.
Eugene Wasserman, Seattle
We need crime prevention, not statistics
Mayor Mike McGinn can’t fool commuters and business owners by disingenuously hiding behind the Seattle Police Department’s baked numbers that suggest a drop in violent crime in the downtown business core.
Every day, thousands of commuters, tourists, shoppers and business owners witness lawlessness, bullying and drug-dealing on downtown streets.
Ask anyone how many police officers they see during the morning and afternoon rush hours, and the answer would be: “Few, and rarely.”
If the mayor intends to defend the people and business interests he is sworn to serve, he needs to do only one thing: Get on the phone every morning and afternoon with West Precinct police Capt. Jim Dermody to demand that the Police Department’s assets are actually in place.
We need crime prevention, not crime statistics.
Guy Detrick, Kirkland
August 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM
City must increase security
What does Seattle need? Seattle needs a mayor and a police chief who don’t take half measures. [“Metro driver recalls terror, riders who rushed to help,” page one, Aug. 14.]
A man walking downtown yelling “War!” at the top of his lungs [as shooter Anwar Duckworth was seen doing last week] obviously should have been picked up. Seattle underserved our poor and mentally ill. In doing so, we underserve the people who live and visit here.
I feel safer walking the streets of Manhattan. New York City has a “buck stops here” attitude in the mayor’s office. They have turned the former mugging capital of the U.S. into a visitor-friendly city. Police are out and plentiful, and they don’t idly watch someone who is potentially dangerous to themselves or others.
This shooting happened a few bocks away from Pike Place Market. The market is the center of our tourist economy.
These troubles are not new. The downtown Metro corridor has been a blight for years. It’s time for full measures.
JoEllen Loeb, Seattle
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