SEATTLE — Businesses belonging to the Downtown Seattle Association complained in a letter to City Hall Wednesday that there is too much violence and asked for more police officers to patrol the streets
This summer, a woman was savagely kicked and punched in middle of the day at a crowded Westlake Park.
In another attack, a man was stabbed in the neck during a fight on 3rd and Union.
In front of Pike Place Market, a group viciously attacked someone at a crosswalk.
Just last week, a man smashed windows of cars and businesses on Pike Street.
“This is really unacceptable,” said Downtown Seattle Association President Kate Joncas.
On Wednesday, the group sent a letter criticizing the city’s fight against crime. It listed recent violent cases to Mayor Mike McGinn, demanding more police on the streets.
“For cities our size, we are still below the median. I don’t know if there is a magic number but we know we don’t have enough,” Joncas said.
Many of the attacks happened in the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct, which includes Westlake Park, Chinatown and the Pike-Pine corridor.
“Most of those incidents, officers made arrests right at the scene,” Seattle police Capt. Jim Dermody said.
Dermody is in charge of the West Precinct and says violent crime is down by 7% there. Overall, the mayor says, Seattle is safer.
“We are at a 30-year crime low and this year is coming in lower than last year,” McGinn said.
“I have two adult daughters who live in downtown Seattle. I would strongly urge them not to live there if I thought it was unsafe,” Police Chief Jim Pugel said.
“Areas in Philly, New York, Boston are way more dangerous. I would consider Seattle to me to be an extremely safe city,” said downtown Seattle resident Khadijih Linz.
But another resident, Kirra Steinbrueck, said, “Recently I saw someone getting beat up at 2 in the morning across the street; actually that doesn’t make me feel safe.”
With the primary election next Tuesday, and McGinn seeking re-election, Joncas was asked if the letter was politically motivated.
“The primary is not connected to this at all. This is about our neighborhood, about something that’s been going wrong for a long time,” Joncas replied.
“If you look at the timing it raises some questions,” McGinn said. “But the fact of the matter is we receive concerns like this from every neighborhood when there is crime. We take it seriously no matter when we hear about it.”
The association said the city simply needs more officers on streets. SPD said it is in the midst of hiring eight more officers this week and hopes to have 30 more by next summer.