Residents concerned by the recent uptick in violence crowded EastPAC’s August meeting Thursday night. “I have heard more shots this summer than I have in eight years,” one man said at the meeting, which was attended by officials from the Seattle Police Department and a representative from the City Attorney’s office.
East Precinct neighborhoods have seen a 13% increase in violent crime and a 23% increase in reports of shots fired this year. This bullet-fueled crime wave has brought murder to the Central District and Capitol Hill including the slaying of 23-year-old Ramon Mitchell outside the Baltic Room.
At Thursday’s meeting, residents demanded to know what SPD was doing to combat the crime that had made them feel unsafe in their homes and neighborhoods. “There is no higher priority in the city for the chief than dealing with the gun violence that’s going on,” said Capt. Paul McDonagh, commander of the East Precinct since April.
McDonagh said SPD has noticed an increased willingness among some area youth to “use firearms at will” and the department was struggling to solve crimes because of what he said is a “no snitching” culture on the streets. He said the department was trying to steer youth away from crime by supporting initiatives such as the Seattle Youth Summer Employment Program while also building relationships with federal anti-crime agencies such as the ATF to enhance its crime fighting abilities.
“We have to talk about race,” said Pamela Banks, Urban League CEO and current District 3 candidate. “That’s the conversation we have to have around this. We also have to talk about gentrification, and the impact it has on this community.” Continue reading