The coronavirus pandemic hit the state of Washington, especially hard. To help ease the prison population, and help the overstretched police force, Seattle recently enacted a policy prohibiting jail bookings for most misdemeanor crimes. At the same time, law enforcement in Seattle is facing a severe staffing emergency. As a result of lax punishment for criminals coupled with a shortage of law enforcement officers, burglary in busy business districts of Seattle are not surprisingly, seeing a significant uptick.
770-KTTH reports – As of Friday, April 3, burglary cases were up 87% over the previous 28 days in the west precinct according to the Seattle Police Department’s internal crime database. The precinct includes downtown Seattle, the neighborhood where the SPD says most of the burglaries are happening.
Burglaries aren’t only plaguing the west precinct. The east precinct, which includes Capitol Hill, is up 17%.
All-in, the city of Seattle has seen a 21% increase in burglaries.
Officer Mike Solan is the president of the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild. The data does not shock him.
“It’s not surprising to me that this staffing emergency coupled with our city streets almost appearing abandoned at times that our property crime numbers have skyrocketed and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight,” Officer Solan tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Rest assured, whatever meager numbers we have on the street serving our community, we will continue to answer that 911 call and still adhere to our oath of service.”
But answering 911 calls hasn’t been easy. Solan tells me the SPD is “working on pulling in detectives to wear the uniform and answer 911 calls.”
Unfortunately, the SPD is still understaffed. That makes tackling this issue more difficult.
“Before COVID19, SPD’s staffing numbers have been at critical and embarrassing levels to the detriment of our wonderfully diverse Seattle community,” SPOG President Solan explained. “As our membership exudes professionalism on a daily basis as they serve our community, this staffing crisis has been and will continue to be a major source of concern as it pertains to public safety issues. Sadly, this reality is now even more amplified due to this awful pandemic and it’s further impact on our already low staffing numbers as patrol is stretched dangerously thin.”
So, what is Seattle’s police chief doing to help the critical situation Seattle law enforcement officers are facing?
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is asking citizens to call 911 to report hate crimes. In an incredible video featuring Seattle’s police chief and a retired journalist on Twitter, Ms. Best asks citizens to call 911. Police Chief Best can be heard pleading with citizens to call amid a health crisis, even if they’re not sure it’s a hate crime, or incredibly, to call if they think they may have been a victim of “racist name-calling.”
On March 30, Best tweeted: Washington State is no place for hate. In a show of solidarity,@LoriMatsukawa joined me to remind everyone that hate has no place in our community. Report hate, including racist name-calling, to 911. We are here to help and will respond to investigate.
Washington State is no place for hate. In a show of solidarity, @LoriMatsukawa joined me to remind everyone that hate has no place in our community. Report hate, including racist name calling, to 911. We are here to help, and will respond to investigate. #WeGotThisSeattle pic.twitter.com/cFGkYopbVW
— Chief Carmen Best (Ret.) (@carmenbest) March 31, 2020
Residents of Seattle must take great comfort in knowing they have such a competent police chief in place, which puts the serious needs of Seattle citizens first…<insert eyeball roll here>.