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A homeless man was beaten and no police cars arrived. When one of the attackers was stabbed, four police cruisers, two ambulances, a fire truck and several fire department supervisor cars all arrived within minutes. After all the damage is done, is this your definition of appropriate response?
Mr. Mayor, there will be police reports to read that will give a more complete view of events. I’m not going to speculate on the events immediately before the stabbing as I didn’t witness that fight. What I did see, both from the original altercation and the aftermath, convinces me that if your administration made active policing in Pioneer Square a priority, all of this could have been prevented.
Anyone who attends a Sounders, Seahawks or Mariners game is comforted by the large police presence. Officers are there directing traffic, coordinating and controlling the “march to the match” and as people leave the stadiums are there to keep things moving along in a safe and orderly fashion. Then where do they go? Once the games are done and the CenturyLink parking lots empty Pioneer Square becomes ignored by law enforcement until there is blood in the street.
At the time of this incident there was a police cruiser parked at 1st and Washington. It was empty.
If there had been even a minimal police presence, then don’t you agree that the likelihood of a vicious attack like this would have gone down? If the first attack had been deterred, then the odds of the second, more serious fight which led to the stabbing would have also been prevented. Maybe the first attack would have happened even in view of the police, but they could have arrested the attackers. A man in handcuffs can’t start a new fight, nor get stabbed in response.
Without police in Pioneer Square to greet the highly intoxicated and volatile visitors who pour out of the bars, you are inviting violence.
I’m also not talking about a couple of mounted officers riding through, or four or five bicycle officers gathered on one corner. To be effective, the officers need to be walking throughout the park. Instead of standing together talking to each other, officers should be talking to citizens and making themselves visible. Engagement, not intimidation. They have to actually engage the community to provide a presence that will deter most violence.
Pioneer Square is a critical part of the downtown renaissance that is happening in Seattle. We can dig tunnels and knock down highways, build living space and open restaurants, but unless you make a commitment to keep Pioneer Square safe all the 12th Man signs in the world won’t matter.
Pioneer Square is the southern anchor of Seattle’s downtown, yet the policies of the Murray administration continue to give this critical neighborhood short shrift in public safety and law enforcement investment. Pioneer Square is a historic district, but what I saw yesterday makes me wonder if the Murray Administration has just written us off to the historic dangerous and violent reputation of the area.
When I tell people in other parts of King County that I live in Pioneer Square, their reaction is telling. Too often they think of the area as the equivalent of a third world conflict zone, a view fed by media reports that focus on violent confrontations such as yesterday’s. How long before people from other parts of the area think of coming to Pioneer Square is something they have to do in order to attend an event instead of something they want to do? Are we that willing to throw away all the positive emotion that came to PSQ and SODO through the Seahawks parade and celebration?
If you want Pioneer Square to be the southern parallel to the tech industry explosion of jobs, residences and businesses in South Lake Union then you, Mr. Mayor, must make an investment to keep everyone in Pioneer Square safe. Business can’t thrive in an area where you aren’t willing to make a commitment to safety.
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