“I want our downtown to be economically strong and safe for everyone. That’s important to our nearly 1,000 formerly homeless Plymouth residents living downtown. Councilmember Burgess’ proposals fairly balance a police response with a social services response to enhance safety downtown. We at Plymouth Housing Group welcome these ideas.”
Executive Director, Plymouth Housing
"The nightlife and music industry want more police officers on our streets. We want aggressive solicitation stopped. Our customers and neighbors need to feel safe on our sidewalks as they enjoy our vibrant nightlife. These proposals are certainly a step in the right direction."
President, Seattle Music and Nightlife Association
Program Director, Pioneer Square Community Association
The most serious felony crimes increased 22% in 2009 in our downtown—stretching from South Lake Union to Pioneer Square—compared to 2008. It was the second consecutive year of significant increases in reported Part I crime in this important area of our city. To many observers, including business owners, community leaders, social services providers, and residents, we are approaching a dangerous tipping point where perceptions of crime and unsafe conditions could lead to long-term negative consequences.
Today, I unveiled my "continuum of response" designed to address this rising crime rate and . . . (continue below jump for more, including various documents supporting this initiative.)
street disorder that is plaguing our downtown and some neighborhood business districts: more police officers on the streets, restrictions on aggressive solicitation, expanded and better coordinated outreach to the homeless and others needing social services, and more housing for chronically homeless individuals with on-site support services.
None of these steps alone will solve the challenges we face, but together these measures will move us in the right direction.
The Seattle Times has a story this morning about all this here.
You'll find much more detail in the following documents—
This PDF is an overall summary of the initiative: Download Street Disorder Summary
This PDF is the news release announcing this initiative: Download Street Disorder News Release
This PDF answers questions about this initiative: Download Street Disorder FAQ
This PDF includes a sampling of Emails received by council members describing their personal experiences with street disorder: Download Email Excerpts re Street Disorder
This PDF is the aggressive solicitation ordinance that will be introduced for Council consideration in March: Download LEG aggressive solicitation ORD
The significance of the 22% increase in serious felony crime described above becomes evident when compared to two other statistics. Citywide Part I reported crime increased 7% in 2009 compared to 2008. In the entire West Precinct, which includes the downtown core and South Lake Union, plus Magnolia, Queen Anne and SODO, 2009 Part I crime increased 13% in 2009. So, the 22% increase is indeed troubling and demands our attention and response.
Another anti-crime program is being developed for the Belltown neighborhood. It was first proposed by The Defender Association, a criminal defense group that holds a contract with the City to provide legal defense services in our Municipal Court, and has gained wide support from the Belltown Community Council, ACLU, the King County Prosecuting Attorney, and Seattle police commanders. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program is designed as an alternative-to-jail, an effort to address street drug trafficking among non-violent, low-level offenders. My office is part of the work group designing the program and preparing to launch it. LEAD is yet another part of our "continuum of response" to these issues.