Can Seattle Use Zoning To Stop Drug Deals?

Can SODA, or 'Stay Out of Drug Areas' zones reduce drug deals and improve neighborhoods?
September 7, 2004, 11am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Enforced in the early '90s, the zones were a way of booting suspected dealers from drug-burdened swaths of the city, even if a suspect had not been convicted of a crime or done anything suspicious. Someone could be picked up simply for standing at a bus stop in the wrong place... But the zones and the unwieldy paperwork they generated were hard to manage. Public defenders and social service agencies decried the loss of freedom for clients. Some of the judges who issued the orders were lukewarm to the concept. Some replaced "Stay out" with the mushier "Don't loiter," while others issued so many exceptions -- allowing a suspect to go to work or see a lawyer -- that the order became unenforceable.

The 20 or so zones, whose numbers and locations are being finalized, include most of downtown Seattle and cover about half the city, Kimerer said. The department declined to release a working map."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Monday, September 6, 2004 in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
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