Seattle retailers meet with city officials about crime

May 8, 2019
Written by John Engber, Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle Director

About 100 people attended a town hall on Monday to hear how City leaders intend to address a wide range of public safety concerns in North Seattle’s District 5.

They heard from Mayor Jenny Durkan, Councilmember Debora Juarez (who hosted the event), Assistant Police Chief Eric Greening, and police Captain Eric Sano. The city officials answered questions submitted in writing from the audience, which included Hannah Kubiak of Bartell Drugs and Amanda Evans of Mud Bay, who shared their concerns with Councilwoman Juarez after the event concluded.

Some of the concerns expressed were:

  • What can the city do to improve the retention and recruitment of police officers?
  • Should the police precinct that covers the entire north end of the city be divided into two precincts?
  • What can be done about homeless encampments, drunkenness, drug dealing and noise in public parks and rights-of-way?
  • What can be done about prostitution, which is visible in many places?
  • Can the city release re-offender rates?
  • What can be done about encampments that return after navigation teams remove them?

While stating that Seattle crime rates are declining, Mayor Durkan acknowledged that citywide statistics don’t adequately describe pockets of crime in neighborhoods. Durkan and the police officials highlighted their efforts to deal with crime and illegal drug use. The Mayor also pointed to the 25% increase in shelter beds as a major reason for the first-ever decline in the One-Night Count, the annual countywide count of homeless people.

Ms. Juarez praised Mayor Durkan for pushing a countywide approach to dealing with the homelessness crisis. Juarez said that every community in the county has homelessness, which means the county and cities of King County will be more successful in addressing it by working together.

The crowd expressed a great deal of frustration about criminal activity in Seattle. Afterward, several people suggested that the lower crime rates result from people not reporting many crimes, believing that the police will not respond.

We are very interested in hearing about the experiences of Seattle retailers. Please contact me at 206-850-5517 or [email protected]