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February 27, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Spike in gun violence means more police patrols, but community's help needed, too, says Seattle mayor

Calling the city’s rising violent crime rate a public safety emergency, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said this morning that residents and business owners in the high crime areas will see an increase of police patrols, but added that community members need to do their part, too.

McGinn was speaking at a news conference at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, where Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell said that people need to pay attention to things going on in their neighborhoods. He suggested block watch-type groups walking around their neighborhoods.

“This is our community. This is where we jog, this is where we exercise, this is where we barbecue. This is home to many of us,” Harrell said.  “I’m not afraid of a lot, but I’m afraid of a bullet.”

Harrell said that he will start holding meetings for the city’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee  in the community, the next one on March 7.  He wants to hear ideas on how to address the growing street violence.

More than 100 people gathered at the Boys & Girls Club news conference to hear from McGinn, Harrell, Seattle police Deputy Chief Nick Metz, clergy and youth. Metz, who last week announced beefed up patrols in crime hot spots, said that officers are going to “be aggressive” when it comes to street violence.

“We are going to be Constitutional in our policing, but we are going to be aggressive,” Metz promised.

There have been nine homicides in Seattle this year, at the same point last year there three, according to police.

Pastor Lawrence Willis, of the United Black Christian Clergy of Washington, said that nearly 100 people, many youth, gathered at the site of two recent slayings on Friday for a prayer vigil. Willis said that members of the crowd outside Maya’s Mexican Restaurant, where two men were fatally shot last Tuesday, are scared.

“We have a community that feels unsafe,. We have young people who feel unsafe,” Willis said.

 

Comments | More in Government, The Blotter | Topics: Mayor Mike McGinn, patrols, police

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