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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 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
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
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
August 14, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Second Amendment woes
The attack on a Metro Transit bus driver brings gun laws to mind. [“Panic on buses, cops kill gunman,” page one, Aug. 13.]
The prevailing interpretation of the Second Amendment would dictate that the most appropriate solution, bearing in mind the words of the president of the National Rifle Association, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” would be to arm everyone else on the bus.
Those who choose not to bear arms should have the option of being provided with (or providing their own) bulletproof vest.
Or consider alternate transportation.
Or stay at home.
These are small prices to pay for the freedom of living in America, land of the free and the armed.
Mike Moore, Kent
August 3, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Citizens fear the police
The story never ends. Seattle police officers using aggressive behavior, placing citizens’ lives in great danger. [“Off-duty officer exonerated in alleyway confrontation,” NW Thursday, Aug. 1.]
In the past few years, we’ve seen innocent people killed, paralyzed and often bullied under the guise of protecting our citizens. People here are afraid of the police. Think about that.
In Thursday’s paper I read the story of an off-duty police officer momentarily delayed by a double-parked van in an alleyway, once again aggressively handling the situation — in this case, confronting the driver and breaking the mirror on his van.
The judge rules in the officer’s favor though, as he states the driver of this van “escalated” the situation by brandishing a baseball bat in reaction to this officer’s confrontation.
Perhaps he (or any of us) might have made threatening gestures at this manic guy who appeared out of nowhere, yelling at him and damaging his van? Then, the van driver sees this person, who he does not realize is a Seattle police officer, point a handgun at him.
Incredible. I am afraid.
David Simpson, Seattle
June 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Court system mishandled case
I wonder how Rutherford’s attorneys would react if they were mugged or robbed by a private citizen and the Seattle Police Department did not take the tactic it did against Rutherford. [“Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal of $1 verdict in SPD case,” NW Tuesday, June 18.] Is security worth more than the $50,000 they seek?
Daily, I am bewildered as to why people on the street seem unconcerned about illegal activity around them. Could it be because of how Rutherford’s attorneys and the court system handled this case?
Jim Morris, Renton
June 17, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Money can’t cure the damage
I was appalled, angry and sick after reading the article [“Women sues after police didn’t buy rape claim,” page one, June 11]. This is the kind of story that keeps people who are raped from reporting it to the police.
It’s one thing that they didn’t believe it to begin with, but then to charge her for false reporting and fine her $500 — what the hell? She was also forced into counseling and had to lie about the rape or be evicted.
I’ve been around for 63 years and have been frustrated for most of those years about how poorly women have been and are treated. This to me is a prime example. She may and should win this suit but no amount of money will cure the emotional issues she will face the rest of her life.
Linda Bowen, Shoreline
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