Comments from a recent blog post matched the skepticism I expressed about the crime situation in downtown Seattle.
An article in Thursday’s Seattle Times indicates the skepticism was justified:
In a panel at the event, City Attorney Ann Davison, citywide Councilmember Sara Nelson and King County Regional Homelessness Authority CEO Marc Dones discussed how to manage public safety and offer mental health, addiction and housing services to those in need downtown.
Davison, who took office in January and has committed to cracking down on crime, and Dones, whose commitment is to providing services to those experiencing homelessness, agreed that the missing component in solving the city’s crime and homelessness crises is collaboration among partners.
“I believe fundamentally that how we interrupt cycles of violence and crime are by addressing material needs that drive crime cycles,” Dones said. “People steal bread because they’re hungry, not because they’re mad at other people.”
Officials said most of the charges in cases referred to the City Attorney’s Office involving High Utilizers were theft (1,019 charges), trespassing (589 charges), assault (409 charges), or weapons violations (101 charges).
Another related article tells us even more about why businesses are leaving:
Amazon moved into the 312,000-square-foot location in 2017, taking over the top six floors of the old Macy’s building. The office at 300 Pine St. is about a half-mile from the company’s headquarters on Seventh Avenue.
Since Feb. 21, there have been at least three shootings, two stabbings and one carjacking in the area, according to the Seattle Police Department.
Olga Sagan, owner of Piroshky Piroshky, decided in February to close the bakery’s Third and Pike Street location, citing high crime in the area and fears about employee and customer safety.
These aren’t people “stealing bread because they are hungry” or even “mad at each other”. There are food banks (I’ve donated hundreds of pounds of lentils to them, Barb has donated money, food, and her time) which give food to the needy. The people with the responsibility to reduce crime cannot possibly arrive at the proper solution if they don’t have an accurate model describing the problem. Or, just as likely, they do have an accurate model and they don’t view the crime as a problem. They view it as a way to destroy capitalism. In which case, changing course is not on their agenda.
In either case, don’t expect conditions in downtown Seattle to improve anytime soon.