Soundside Listeners’ Corner: Safety in Downtown Seattle

ByShannon J. Cortes

Mar 2, 2022

Sound side devoted the entire hour of its show on Tuesday to talking about public safety in Seattle, and we asked for thoughts, experiences, and solutions. And you really delivered.

We wanted to further highlight what you told us about crime and safety in Seattle, and what needs to change.

Suzy in the U district

The prosecution of some of the endemic crimes is what needs to change.

Police are arresting more people, that’s all well and good (although that’s not even happening right now), but if cases aren’t prosecuted and criminals are put in jail, that’s okay. In fact, it’s less than nothing – it’s a net negative effect because there’s an “I can get away with anything” attitude.

(People need boundaries and criminal boundaries are called jail.) (I think we have major organized crime in Seattle.)

Aidan at Wallingford

First and foremost, we need to reshape the narrative so that the problem is lack of security. “Crime” is a label that is applied inconsistently and the criminalization of certain harmful things makes them more harmful, and the homeless are the biggest victims of property crime, but they are generally not viewed that way . Access to housing makes you both less likely to be a victim and a perpetrator of many crimes.

They say more affordable housing and permanent supportive housing, more unionization, take climate change seriously, boycott Amazon. And finally, they say we need to engage more directly and evolve with the #LandBack movement and reparations, because these are some of the crimes our society was built on.

Steph in Greenwood

First, we have to accept that there are no quick and easy answers. It took 4 decades of draining our social support systems to get us here and it will take hard work and money to reverse. More police won’t help if we don’t also have treatment facilities to help people with addictions, supportive housing for people with mental illness, and good education, jobs and housing as a viable alternative to crime.

JD in Queen Anne

I think there needs to be transparency around statistics and trends. I don’t trust the police to be a neutral whistleblower. What offence? How is it categorized? Who does the crime affect? I assume we’re not talking about wage theft? Rental discrimination? Dogs in parks? What are the long term trends? Is there evidence that policing reduces crime? I think “rising crime” may just be a right wing talking point that is just a flimsy attempt to support their argument that lack of punishment is the root cause crime and disorder.

Cynthia in the green lake

We all need to work together. Neighbors and City, County, and State provide excellent services for people with mental illness, especially those with mental illness and substance use disorders.

Encourage neighborhood watches and bring back and expand community officers to the compound and to the streets.

More taxes, maybe a state income tax, more taxes on the rich and big business.

Working with neighbors in the community is how we create lasting change.

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We hope you’ll join the conversation and be part of our next listening corner. Join our network of listeners by texting SOUND to 206-926-9955.