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String of violent crimes alarming for White Center residents

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WHITE CENTER, Wash. – Neighbors and business owners in the unincorporated King County area called White Center tell Q13 News they are frustrated and worried after a string of deadly violent crimes.

There have been two shootings and a stabbing just within the past few weeks around the central business area. Some people worry they are not getting adequate police patrols because of where the neighborhood is found on a map.

White Center sits between Seattle and Burien but it’s patrolled by King County sheriff’s deputies. But some neighbors worry the area could turn into an island of crime.

“I’ve lived here for 14 years and I’ve heard of violent crimes coming through but not back-to-back,” said Bobby Beaman.

Beaman owns Big Barber Bobby’s Sky’s Barber Shop on 16th Avenue Southwest and he said it stays busy during the day; but when the sun goes down he said the can streets turn dangerous.

“People don’t want to come down here at night and it’s because of the element that exists in White Center,” he said.

On Thursday night, the sheriff's office said a botched robbery ended with a man being shot in his leg. Last week, another man died after being stabbed in the chest. In mid-February, someone found a man shot to death in the middle of the street.

All of this happened near the core business district of White Center, right where neighbor Bennie Sack shops.

“We need to put police officers together with human services and get more people straight into treatment and off the streets,” she said.

The recent spike in violent crime has many business owners worried their customers might not return.

“A stronger presence of authority here, then people might think twice,” said Beaman

“Unfortunately, it gives this area, this neighborhood, a bad name,” said Elizabeth Gordon, manager at Bud Nation. “That’s what gets focused on instead of underlying systemic issues that need to be dealt with.”

Gordon worries that the politics surrounding the future of White Center’s possible annexation into the city of Seattle is only getting in the way of bringing much-needed resources into the island of unincorporated King County.

“If this neighborhood was valued by Seattle, King County and the greater government for the benefits it does have, then more attention would be put into this area and major crimes like that would not be happening,” she said.