Residents in South Seattle, South King County say they worry frequently about stray bullets

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SEATTLE — The South Seattle Crime Prevention Council says half of all gunshots fired in Seattle happen in the South Precinct. In fact, just this weekend there were at least three shootings in South Seattle.

Residents are very concerned — and so is law enforcement.

Last week, the King County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department and the FBI came together to come up with a strategy to fight the spike in shootings.

For Latrice Davis, a day in the park with her son is not as carefree as it looks.

“What if someone is trying to shoot at someone and it hits my child,” Davis said.

Davis has seen enough yellow crime tape in her South Seattle neighborhood where innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire.

“It’s sad these kids have guns and don’t even know how to use them,” Davis said.

Not too far away, Charlotte Thistle shares that sentiment.

“All of a sudden I heard shots right outside the house,” Thistle said.

Twelve bullets hit the front part of her home. Now, she says, her family eats dinner in the back of the house.

“My daughter is scared to go into the front after dark,” Thistle said.

The violence in South King County is also getting worse.

“It’s significantly up in South King County, I mean unincorporated King County, in Renton, in Kent, in Federal Way, Auburn, everywhere,” King County Sheriff John Urquhart said.

So what’s behind the increase?

“Some of them are clearly related to gangs absolutely, but not all of it,” Urquhart said.

The sheriff says we have to look at the bigger picture.

“We turn this gang thing into the boogeyman. I don’t think we should be doing that. We should be looking at the causes of violence, the underlying causes of violence,” Urquhart said.

Underlying causes like parenting, poverty and drugs. The sheriff also brought up guns during Monday’s interview.

“Too many guns on the streets. Where are the guns coming from? I will tell you where they are coming from -- they are being stolen and resold because people don’t lock up their guns,” Urquhart said.

Urquhart says he has deployed more deputies to patrol areas of South King County after seeing a spike in violence.

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