Declining police presence in the city center? It’s not, Seattle police say – KIRO 7 News Seattle

SEATTLE — Fewer police officers in downtown Seattle, particularly along Third Avenue near Pine and Pike streets, are being noticed by some residents and businesses. With that, they say trouble is coming again.

On Wednesday, there was still a mobile police station outside McDonald’s on Pine Street. In fact, there has been a near-constant police presence since several murders and other violent crimes in the area in February and March.

Neighborhood residents said they’ve seen fewer officers in recent weeks, and now they’re noticing the problems are coming back.

Between Pike and Pine, an SPD vehicle was parked where a navy blue mobile compound once stood.

“And that (the police vehicle) isn’t even all the time. On 24 hours it’s maybe four hours, five hours,” said Amir Yousuf, owner of International Cigar and Tobacco. “Some days they’re not there, and that’s when things happen.”

Several others said they noticed fewer officers.

“I was really grateful, but right now I’m seeing a bit of a slack,” said Robby Watts, who works downtown. “There will be a huge drug presence here, especially at dusk.”

People said the neighborhood was still significantly better than before the police crackdown.

“I’m glad they cleaned it myself because it makes it harder for people who want to shop like me,” said Monica Triplet, who was shopping downtown on Wednesday, but some say they have noticed that crime was coming back.

Yousuf showed KIRO7 several surveillance videos of trouble that happened when he said the police weren’t in the neighborhood.

“The other day this guy punched (an employee), grabbed the thing and ran away,” Yousuf said. In another incident, he said a man tried to use a credit card that didn’t belong to him. When Yousuf didn’t accept the card, the man smashed the glass at the counter, took the products, and fled.

“As soon as the police move, trouble starts, so that’s my worry,” Yousuf said. “If they move completely, things will come back. So whatever work they did, it will reverse, go to zero.

KIRO7 asked the SPD why there were fewer officers in the district and whether this was related to staffing and overtime issues.

sergeant. Patrick Michaud said in an email that “the number of officers has not changed” and that “the mobile precinct is still dedicated to fighting crime in and around 3rd Avenue”.

In fact, the SPD said it was in the process of adding a second mobile precinct to the area and that it planned “to use crime data to rotate the two vehicles around downtown areas. as required”.

People said they hoped Seattle police would keep their attention on the Pike/Pine core.

“This area needs special attention because everyone knows it’s famous – not for a day, two days, but for many, many years,” Yousuf said. “Every time, clean for a few weeks, a few months, and they go away. Then everything comes back, so I’m very scared.

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office said, Mayor Harrell is committed to ensuring that 3rd Avenue – and our entire downtown corridor – is safe and welcoming to all neighbors. He continues to work with SPD and community partners on immediate and long-term measures to improve the safety and vibrancy of downtown.

Despite reported issues in the neighborhood, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) said foot traffic is returning to downtown in a big way.

The latest report shows that for a week in June, foot traffic was 76% of pre-pandemic levels and there were 2.8 million people in downtown Seattle (including residents) during the week of June 5.