KIRO: ‘Hate crime issue becomes important in Seattle mayoral race’

The sparring between mayoral candidates Ed Murray and incumbent Mike McGinn at a Wednesday forum hosted downtown by the Greater Seattle Business Association focused on hate crimes on Capitol Hill:

Speaking to the Greater Seattle Business Association, Mayor Mike McGinn emphasized steps he’s already taken to deal with the violence.

“We’ve added more park rangers, we’re adding more officers, we turned on the lights in Cal Anderson Park to help,” McGinn said.

Seeking to become Seattle’s first gay mayor, State Sen. Ed Murray would bring back the tactics he used to fight gay-bashing 20 years ago.

“We developed police training, we developed safety patrols on Capitol Hill, we held education forums and we were able to actually turn that problem around,” Murray said.

In late August, CHS reported on the community response to a string of reported hate crimes on the Hill this summer and talked to LGBTQ community leaders including the GSBA’s own Louise Chernin.

Meanwhile, the Seattle Times is making the case for public safety as a campaign issue with its recent editorial bemoaning downtown’s unsafe reputation even as it acknowledges SPD statistics showing a downward trend in crime. The Stranger, headquartered across the street from summertime crime hot spot Cal Anderson, has sunk its teeth into what it calls the TImes’ “divisive political ploy.”

The debate moved online following the day’s forum when the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce Twitter account wagged a finger at @mayormcginn for spreading the Stranger’s essay:Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 9.49.32 PM

On Capitol Hill, the most recent CHS analysis of crime in general showed an overall downtick in the first quarter of 2013. We’ll update our numbers with the latest updates from SPD soon in plenty of time before the scheduled October 3rd Capitol Hill Mayoral Candidates Forum sponsored by the chamber and CHS.

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12 thoughts on “KIRO: ‘Hate crime issue becomes important in Seattle mayoral race’

  1. These competing points of view only show that crime statistics can be selectively presented in a way that argues different opinions. I would trust the SeattleTimes data any day over The Stranger. The Seattle Times’ article made a convincing case that, while overall crime (including property crimes) is slightly down, the more violent crime is somewhat up. But, regardless, Seattleites’ perception that crime is increasing is the important thing and needs to be reversed.

    “Street disorder” crimes (drinking, camping, drug use, urination, defecation, sitting in public spaces and panhandling, etc) must also be mitigated. Downtown Seattle, and parts of Capitol Hill, are rapidly getting a sleazy reputation and as places to avoid…and that is bad for residents as well as tourists.

    • I disagree here. The Times article explicitly acknowledges the reality of the data — what they don’t explain is that anytime they claim an uptick or a downtick, they fail to explain what that is in relation to — the Times is the one manipulating perception here. Perception does matter, but the best way to combat a faulty perception is with FACTS. The Stranger article points out that overall, in the past 30 years (they actually show they time period they are referencing unlike the Times) crime is down.

      Personally, I don’t trust the Times editorial board as far as I can throw them.

      • Regardless of how close we can get to hard statistics the atmosphere and environment of city areas is what people see and experience. Whether The Stranger likes it or not, downtown Seattle is becoming a shithole of anti social behavior and people have every right to not want to expose themselves or their families to that. Business owners are all too aware of the impact on customers. If hipsters want the full urban experience they should go move to Skid Row in LA. People who live, work, or visit either downtown or Capitol Hill should not have to accept limitless crap going on around them just because some people living out their suburban angst and writing for The Stranger like it.

  2. Traditional summertime spike aside, I’m let scratching my head by the notion that Downtown is increasingly a place to avoid. More jobs and more *people* are moving to downtown and nearby neighborhoods than ever before. I guess we didn’t get the memo.

  3. As if we were wondering who Michael Wells and the chamber were supporting for mayor and would take their opinion at face value.

  4. Michael Wells hasn’t yet decided who he’ll be voting for, thank you very much. I’m waiting to hear substantive answers to the very complicated questions about the future of our fair city from both candidates. And election speak doesn’t often allow for that.

    PS -The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce does not endorse candidates. Never has, never will.

    • Spoiler alert: Michael Wells is voting for Ed Murray and will continue passively-aggressively supporting him, “being disappointed” in McGinn, and pushing for more cops and parking at the expense of social services, progressive change, and bike/ride/ped infrastructure.

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