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Few answers on how to change the way Seattle should approach repeat offenders

SEATTLE - A day after police say Christopher Morisette randomly stabbed three men in downtown Seattle, public safety is yet again on many people’s minds.

But during a public safety meeting at City Hall on Wednesday with various Seattle city leaders in attendance, Morisette’s case was not brought up once.

Q13 News asked Council Member Lorena Gonzalez about why no one acknowledged the incident during the meeting and she said the gathering was about addressing public safety as a whole and not about a specific case.

The committee meeting headed by Gonzalez was scheduled to get information on the Mayor’s emphasis patrols that initially targeted seven hotspot neighborhoods including Ballard, Sodo, Georgetown and the downtown core.

“What are the outcomes? What are we trying to achieve through this effort?” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez asked questions about the effectiveness and results of the program this time around considering emphasis patrols are nothing new.

She and other council members on Wednesday requested more data for clarity.

Seattle Police say data so far is trending in the right direction in some parts the city such as Fremont.

During the meeting, SPD leaders said they are seeing a 42% decrease in major crimes in Fremont for the month of June compared to the same time last year.

SPD says Fremont experienced a 52% jump in property and persons crimes from 2017 to 2018. They say the new data is encouraging, but areas like the downtown core still pose major challenges.

“With that kind of density comes issues and challenges, we are trying to manage that the best we can,” Assistant Chief Eric Greening said.

The Downtown Seattle Association says crimes against people jumped 43% from 2016 to 2018 in the downtown core. The organization calls that unacceptable.

The unprovoked stabbing of three random people is the latest example of prolific offenders.

Repeat offenders play a role when it comes to an increase in crime in some parts of Seattle.

Gonzalez said she couldn’t speak about Morisette’s case specifically but says overall when it comes to repeat offenders, we have to find a different way to handle the issue.

“We have to have a clear set of strategies around how to address people who continue to repeatedly cycle in and out of our criminal justice system,” Gonzalez said.

Morisette has been arrested 22 times before in the state of Washington, including assault in Seattle in 2018 and an attempted residential burglary in 2017.

Court documents from 2017 state that Morisette was homeless for years doing “all drugs” and suffering from “every mental illness.”

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