Working, shopping or living downtown? You can expect to see an increase of Seattle police officers dressed in safety vests.
West Precinct Capt. Chris Fowler said Thursday afternoon that an enforcement emphasis targeting street disorder and quality of life issues at Westlake Park, Occidental Park and around Second and Third avenues and Pike and Pine streets started Wednesday.
People should anticipate seeing more officers on the streets weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 10 p.m. through the end of the year, Fowler said.
The emphasis is targeting spots that have long been problematic for police, Fowler said. In addition to looking for criminal acts, officers will be focusing on public urination and defecation, panhandling and violations of other city ordinances.
“These are areas where there’s disaffected youths, the homeless population and low-level drug-dealing,” Fowler said. “There’s a general sense of disorder.”
In addition to working closely with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and the King County Prosecutor’s Office, police have the help of Seattle Parks and Recreation for issues in city parks; Seattle City Light for problems with street lighting; and Seattle Public Utilities for issues with garbage.
“This is a short-term fix to a long-term problem. We can’t financially put an officer on every block,” Fowler said, adding “My goal is that we decrease street disorders and criminal activity.”
Fowler said the emphasis is being worked by officers on overtime. He said it hasn’t been determined how much the city will spend on the emphasis.