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Op-Ed: Seattle Should Do More About Crime in Business Districts

To combat a rash of incivility and outright criminal acts, three Business Improvement Area directors argue that Seattle needs to commit more law enforcement resources to business districts.
November 24, 2018, 11am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Following a public safety forum hosted by several Seattle Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), Erin Goodman, Lisa Howard, and Michael Stewart say the street crime situation in Seattle business districts is getting worse. They point to employees and customers who've encountered "aggressive and threatening behavior from people suffering from mental health and addiction, property damage, theft, human waste, discarded needles and drug dealing."

"We believe the city of Seattle has confused 'decriminalizing homelessness' with tolerating criminal acts," they write. "Whether [perpetrators] are homeless is not the issue. People are committing criminal acts, and because the city will not arrest or prosecute, there are no consequences and the problem is growing worse." 

The BIA directors suggest placing more beat cops on the streets of business districts, removing illegal encampments, increasing the availability of mental health and addiction services, and focusing on crime to "arrest and prosecute those people engaging in criminal activities regardless of their housing status."

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Published on Thursday, November 8, 2018 in The Seattle Times
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