CHS Community Post | ‘Letter intending to hold city leaders accountable for Seattle’s current crime crisis’

By Daniel Goodman
Dear Mayor Ed Murray, City Council Member Kshama Sawant, and City Attorney Pete Holmes,

Our city is in a crisis, and I demand to know what you are doing to end it. Mayor Murray, you ran for mayor on a platform of police reform and decreasing crime in our city. I’m writing to hold you all accountable for failing the city of Seattle.

Walking on Boylston 30 feet from Pine, I heard someone behind me say, “Hey!”. I turned around to a smiling white guy and his friends who looked about my age, 31. Immediately I was punched in the face. That’s all that I remember of the incident.

I don’t know how long I was out for. It was long enough for the blood from the gash on my forehead to trickle its way along my scalp, through my hair, and crust up on the back of my head where I was lying face up on the concrete. When I regained consciousness, two girls were hovering over me asking me if I was ok. They called the police for me, as my phone had been stolen. I went to Harborview Medical and got stitches for the gash in my forehead. I was told that the hole from the inside of my gums through to the outside of my face would heal on its own.

Officer Bale (#6783) gave me a business card with incident # 2015-283301 written on it. I’ve checked online to see the police report, but I don’t see it yet. Many police reports from the weekend describing incidents similar to mine are available at seattle.gov, so I’m not sure why mine isn’t there.

Thursday night a 24 year old man was shot to death walking his dog in the Central District. Saturday night, there was a murder outside of the Baltic Room, blocks from where I was mugged.

According to the SPD blotter, “Officers located several separate groups of shell casings within 1.5 blocks indicating multiple people had fired weapons.”

Considering that there were 2 murders so close to home this weekend, I’m so thankful to be alive and merely suffering from some face wounds and a stolen cell phone. But I want to know what’s going on. Is this amount of violent crime on Capitol Hill normal, or is it on the rise? Is my neighborhood becoming an unsafe place to live, or has it always been so? If crime is on the rise in Capitol Hill, what are your theories to explain the rise? What is the city doing to try to make it better? What can I do?

The Capitol Hill blog wrote:

“While the gunplay on the streets of the East Precinct has apparently become a large enough issue to justify ATF surveillance cams in the Central District, Seattle Police appear to have another summer crime initiative more firmly in hand.
Reports of robberies and pickpockets on Capitol Hill are down 34% through July compared to the same period last year.”

Are robberies really down 34%? Why hasn’t my incident been reported on seattle.gov? Can you assure me that my incident will be reported AS A ROBBERY? What checks are in place to ensure that no reported incidents are left out of the public records?

A group of thugs left me unconscious and bleeding on the sidewalk. Assault and robbery are felonies. Thank God I wasn’t one of the murdered Seattle citizens. Who is working on finding the guys who did this to me? I haven’t received any follow up phone calls from the police. Does the City Attorney’s office have a record of this? What are they planning to do if a suspect is arrested? Officer Bale gave me no direction as to what my next steps should be. His lack of direction may as well be interpreted as saying, “There’s nothing else we’re really going to do about this because this isn’t a very serious crime to us, so just try walking around your neighborhood without feeling paranoid that you’re going to be jumped.”

In March, the Capitol Hill Blog published a letter written by Pike/Pine businesses asking for increased foot patrol in the Pike/Pine area “to head off summer crime woes.” What was your response to that grass-roots approach? Did you increase foot patrols in the Pike/Pine area?

Mayor Murray, the Seattle Times quotes you as saying, “The problem is significant enough, I think, for me to pull community leaders together so they can advise us on what we should do.” We need YOU as our LEADER to TELL US WHAT TO DO, and not the other way around. We are not criminal justice professionals. You are in charge of the SPD. City Attorney Holmes, you are in charge of prosecuting such criminals. What are you doing? City council member Kshama Sawant, you’re running for city council to represent me in district 3.

Do the city council and the offices of the City Attorney and Mayor have a cohesive plan for dealing with this rise in street crime?

Is part of your crime initiative to have robbery and assault reclassified as petty street crimes and not reporting them so your statistics look better?

What can I do to support you and the SPD? Are there any neighborhood organizations or movements I can get involved with?

How can the Safe Place program be expanded? It’s great for a business to say that they want to be a safe place for a victim, but what can a business do if it wants to help decrease crime so that there are fewer victims?

Lead us on this, don’t pad statistics. Stop what happened to me from being the usual thing we read about EVERY WEEKEND. Do something to find the thugs who attacked me. This could happen to anyone in the city. If the thugs had left you or any of your family members to die at Boylston and Pine, would you ensure that the crime was reported? Would you make sure that the SPD found these thugs and were prosecuted?

Sincerely,
Daniel Goodman

UPDATE 6:00 PM: SPD has provided a statement regarding Daniel’s letter:

Our Robbery Unit has been in contact with the victim, are looking for any available surveillance footage of the crime scene, and are also investigating whether his stolen cards may have been used.

As to the larger issue of public safety and policing on Capitol Hill, our department continues to use SeaStat and our micro-community policing plans to drive our deployment strategies. SPD has been tracking robberies citywide and in the East Precinct, and we’ve deployed high-visibility patrols on foot and on bikes as a result.

We’re also working closely with the Mayor’s LGBTQ Taskforce, Chamber of Commerce, and our other community partners to identify to address issues in the neighborhood.

UPDATE 8/20/2015: Daniel has asked CHS to share notice of a vigil and march planned for Saturday, August 22nd beginning in the parking lot where last weekend’s fatal shooting occurred.

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115 thoughts on “CHS Community Post | ‘Letter intending to hold city leaders accountable for Seattle’s current crime crisis’

  1. Thank you for writing the letter. Please make sure you contact every one of them directly in addition to this letter. We need to send a strong message that Capitol Hill does not accept the current level of violence as the new normal. The police pushed the sketchy drug addicts out of downtown and up to Capitol Hill where they camp for months in Cal Anderson Park. The extreme level of homeless junkies, gangs, and partying bros have turned a safe, welcoming neighborhood into a shithole. We need to take back our neighborhood.

    • Wait, all the junkies and homeless got pushed out of downtown? Just now? Because they were there 30 minutes ago when I left work.

    • It is time that we have a public forum in Cal Anderson Park with the police, Murray, council members and Pete Holmes. I want concrete answers from them on how they are going to address the public safety and homelessness crisis on the Hill.

    • They don’t really seem to care about public safety (at least in the South end) and as far as the homelessness crisis, they are making them as fast as they can.

  2. Also, everyone should call Captain Paul McDonagh, the officer in charge of the East Precinct, 206-684-4348 to demand a major clean up of Cal Anderson Park and Capitol Hill. If the community doesn’t demand change, the city and SPD won’t do a damn thing about it. Resources for policing are allocated based on 911 calls, so make sure to call every time you see illegal activity if you want the street situation to improve.

    • voicemail … big shock, i know. On the positive site,we have meeter maids in the neighborhood every day. They seem a bit oblivious to what is actually going on though. How nice would it be to see cops walking the beat??? haha, never going to happen though. Sad state of affairs. I for one am banking on Banks.

    • It would be great if the Capitol Hill Blog would ask the elected officials, including Pete Holmes to respond with a detailed plan to address the Capitol Hill safety crisis identified in the many comment on this blog post.

    • Thank you. You guys do great work. The Capitol Hill community is ready to fight back and hold the city accountable for turning a blind eye and letting the neighborhood unravel like this.

    • I was born and raised in Seattle and have spent the past six years living smack-dab in the middle of Pike/Pine nightlife. I am also a scrawny looking white female who walks most places, even at night when work lets me out late. Never, not even once, have I EVER had anyone hassle me. Not even a little bit. I stay alert and free from distractions, I look up, I make eye contact, I look focused. Yes, in an ideal world I could be drunk and looking at 20 iPhones and waving money around and not get mugged. But this is a big city and I don’t expect people to not be assholes, so I take precautions. I know it’s so victim-blame-y to suggest people take preventable measures but oh well. People attack when defenses are down. It can happen anywhere. Be smart out there.

    • I’m a 6ft 200lb athletic man. I’m aware. I never use my phone while I walk. I certainly don’t wave around money. Hell, I taught self defense for almost a decade.

      Yet somehow in the last six years (after 23 years on the Hill) I’ve been hassled. I’ve been mugged… well, they tried – bless their little hearts.

      I guess it’s just beyond your imagination that things happen to other people that are out of your very narrow and limited experience.

      Instead of lecturing victims about their shortcomings maybe you should spend more time being thankful for your very good fortune.

    • I don’t think anyone expects a perfectly safe city; that is unreasonable. What this writer is asking for is for the police to do something about the assault and robbery he suffered. I do not think that is unreasonable. We don’t just give up because this is a city.And short of arming ourselves–a foolish move–we expect those tasked with protecting the civic order to at least be accountable for these kinds of occurrences. Oh, and by the way: there is crime in the suburbs. Don’t act like an asshole.

    • So why is arming yourself a bad move? Pepper spray, a flashlight, etc. You don’t have to carry a gun.

      A perp will jump back awfully fast if you have a knife. Even a 3″ folder used by a person who knows what they are doing is lethal. (65% of knife victims survive, 85% of handgun victims survive).

    • Where in this letter does he ask that he never be attacked? Where in this article is he asking that the streets of Seattle be 100% safe? Where in this article is raising his voice to the fact that this happened to him?

      Nowhere. Why don’t you delete your near-sighted comment and read the letter again.

    • I read the article and it was kind of Me, Me, Me sounding.

      The Mayor even called this guy personally. In the South end people are getting robbed and shot daily and not a peep from the mayor.

    • Of course the author doesn’t expect zero crime. You’re being a self-absorbed idiot for trying to undermine the author’s multifaceted concerns with some irrelevant caricature of them. Personally, I have lived in major cities for over 15 years and I’ve experienced being mugged and burgled – fortunately not yet in Seattle, and fortunately not as violently as the author’s experience. However, my experiences were in London and New York, and even with the amount of much more serious crime those cities deal with, I received a surprising amount of unsolicited follow-up and expressions of concern from those police departments. It was nice to feel like they gave a shit, even though in both cases it was clear they weren’t likely to catch the assailant(s). That this guy can’t even tell if this incident was appropriately recorded is troubling.

    • That kind of knee-jerk reaction (heavy on the jerk) gets this process no where. Saying that we want better safety on the hill (or less housing,less junkies,less homeless, etc) seems to be the cue for morons to say, move to the surburbs. no area belongs solely to any one group, specifically to you “youliveblablah”

    • Victim blaming in conjunction with the use of no less than two logical fallacies: both the Utopian fallacy and The Strawman fallacy. And of course the coup de gras of telling member of the community to love it or leave it.

      So first off – nobody mentioned an expectation of zero crime. What we want is to see our tax dollars actually go int to the crime prevention and investigation programs that were promised. What we want is to have a safe and happy community.

      I’ve lived on the Hill for over 23 years. We’ve had a few surges of crime over the years and, while simple assaults and minor theft used to be slightly worse, what we didn’t experience were the concentration of shootings, murders, rapes and brazen assaults and crime all happening with in five blocks of our so-called guardians of peace.

      If that’s a problem for you they why don’t you move to some god damned war torn hell hole where internet tough guys like you can live the dream.

    • Wrong attitude…. I lived in a city of 25 million(Shanghai) a city of about 3.5 million(Busan) and both were far safer than most US cities.

      The whole “You live in a city” thing is a cop out for shitty behavior and sub par enforcement.

    • You’re comparing living in a totalitarian state like China with living in a democracy.

      Not quite the same thing…

    • It is not just the difference between a totalitarian state and the U.S. The U.S. Is the outlier. Our cities are more violent with more crazy people sleeping in the streets than most cities rich and poor in Europe, Asia or South America. It is a crisis and an embarrassment for Seattle and the U.S.

    • South Korea is a democracy and Japan is a democracy and whether it’s Busan, Seoul, Tokyo or Osaka…all of these cities are expontially larger than Seattle and the rate of robberies, murder, strong arm robbery is FAR less.

      So yea, I am comparing those and why you might consider China a totalitarian dictatorship, people go out often, get hammered, get in pushing/shoving matches…but guess what doesn’t happen…people being shot in a central city area.

    • Have to agree with you. I’ve been to Medellin, Kiev, Ulan Bator and a ton of cities over the last year or two. Very few were remotely as dangerous as the USA.

      Sao Paulo, Ciudad Juarez… sure, of course there are some bad ones. I was in Kiev for 2 months with a former Philly police officer and we didn’t see a single moment where violence was even close to manifesting itself. We are told that is normal.

      The USA has a particular demographic that causes most of the crime, and if you go to cities without it (e.g., Tokyo, Seoul) you will be surprised at how peaceful they are.

    • When citizens passively accept that rampant crime (and other social problems) are inevitable in a city, and give up on getting involved in their neighborhood, then the bad guys win and even take over our environment.

      I find your pessimistic point of view very sad indeed, and hope there aren’t too many people who share it.

  3. Thank you for writing this letter. My house in the CD was broken into around this time last year and many things were taken from us, but thankfully nobody was hurt. We never got a follow up, even though they dusted for finger prints and found what they told us were surprisingly clear prints. I’ve lived here for four years and now reports of violent crime are almost a thing I’ve come to expect. My friends who live in Capitol Hill, particularly women and LGBT, are afraid to walk around places they used to frequent in the past.

    I will be voting for Sawant because I think she is good for our city. I hope she is good for our neighborhood too. There needs to be clear plans in place soon or this will only get worse. I agree that we need to deal with the homelessness and drug use in Cal Anderson and have better responses to murders in our neighborhood.

    • You “hope” she’s good for our neighborhood? Shouldn’t you know, after her current term that she isn’t?! When has she ever talked about the crime in the CD? I have never heard her even speak about our neighborhood, much less the crime. She didn’t even bother to come to the meeting on safety at Powell Barnett park, which would have been great for her campaign. Sawant could care less about the crime in the CD. At least Banks speaks of providing more jobs to teenagers and young adults in the city. This is a step in the right direction.

    • Many of the city-focused policies that Sawant has helped bring about (minimum wage, low income housing, etc.) has helped our neighborhood. My fears about Banks are that she will have many favors to pay back to the corporations donating to her campaign and/or Murray and the like will keep her pacified. Jobs are great, and that’s something we can focus on at the city level. Sawant stands up for the disenfranchised everywhere and that’s why she has my vote.

    • Please inform us as to how Sawant has helped to bring about low income housing on Capitol Hill, or anywhere else. I am not aware she has done anything specific on this issue, other than alot of talk about rent control, which is not the same as low income housing.

  4. I have sadly watched Capitol Hill decline into a place I no longer want to live in. In the past couple weeks these are the things that have happened to me:

    I was followed to work twice a creepy man (different man both times).
    I had to be driven to work by the police because a man following me was going crazy.
    I saw a guy shooting up in front of a ton of people in the afternoon across the street from my place.
    I saw a guy on Broadway sitting in the middle of the sidewalk smoking crack.
    I saw a guy jacking off in the middle of the day in Cal Anderson.
    There are SO many people who are high just laying around all over the place.
    I frequently feel unsafe in my own neighborhood.

    I moved to Capitol Hill in 1987. I have never seen the drug use and violence this bad.

    The funny thing is, my property value and property taxes just keep going up and up.

    So thank you for writing this letter. And I already see one “you live in the city, deal with it”….I don’t think we have to deal with it. No one should have to be scared just to leave their house.
    I am getting older and am just not willing to deal with this anymore and am looking to move.

    But mostly I am just sad as I love Seattle and to see it in decline breaks my heart.

  5. While I understand how traumatic the author of the letter’s experience must have been, and I understand that crime is an issue on Capitol Hill, there are several issues with this letter.

    Namely, that you seem to take a few data points, including your personal experience of assault and the two murders, and run with them to declare that the city and CH are in a crisis and that Murray has failed his pledge to lower crime.

    Then later in the letter you admit that you don’t know if crime is really up or not. You quote a statistic that suggests lowered crime in one category in CH, then simply question the validity of the stat by accusing SPD of padding it. You don’t provide evidence of this.

    Then, later, you once again declare that there is a rise in street crime without quoting any statistics. You seem to view the lack of progress in your single case as an symbol of SPD’s lack of commitment to combating street crime, when it is actually one case and nothing more.

    Is it possible that the city is in crisis? Yes, though declaring it to be so without providing any evidence doesn’t seem very responsible.

    As for your assault: terrible. Also a hard crime to “solve”, given that the assailants were long gone by the time anything was reported. Short of punching you directly in front of a cop, they were unlikely to be caught, and that’s true in cities outside of Seattle.

    • I disagree. I’ve always felt safe in Seattle. I don’t any longer. I carry pepper spray to protect myself (not that it will help when it happens so quickly). But I am hyper vigilant and actually find myself acting tougher and more aggressive than I really am (walking more astute, looking people in the eyes, and making my frame bigger). Part of this is due to a homeless population that has grown substantially on Capital Hill. I see them everywhere and it is terrible for for them and as well as me witnessing it. I do have to wonder if statistics are being under reported if the poor guy attacked can’t find his robbery as being reported.

      Regardless of feelings or pulling apart this guys letter to the Mayor/City. Let’s demand action. I know we have an under staffed police department. That is why crime is rampant on the hill. With better training to investigate these crimes and citizen awareness it will get better. But that takes action by the city and the citizens standing up against crime in the city. We need to take our streets back from crime!

    • You realize the letter was ASKING for that evidence. We keep hearing promises but there is no accountability.

      I walk through Cal Anderson two to three times a day on my way to work five to six days a week. I have for almost 15 years. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen police foot or bike patrols in that park.

      This letter is a citizen asking for some accountability. Your criticism is not only off base but frankly fails at reading comprehension.

    • Out of the million incidents I’ve witnessed on Capitol Hill since I moved here in 2009 was a crazed man beating several people in Cal Anderson with a large wooden rod. While myself and at least 4 others called the police and explained the urgency of the situation (mind you, this was on the turf, as close in proximity as one can be to the police station in Cal Anderson), two police on foot walked up leisurely about 10 minutes later after everything was done…and did nothing.

    • Yeah. I walked in tot he 12th Ave precinct once with the printed contact information of a wanted person for notorious crime on the Hill. Where he lived. His Facebook account. And where he was at that moment. Because I knew him.

      And the desk cop didn’t even look up at me and told me that I’d have to call the detectives.

      She did;t offer me a number. Or to use the phone there. Or even look at me. And she let me, a material witness, walk out the door in disbelief.

      So I called the detectives (I had to find the number myself) and left a voice mail – of course.

      The FBI called me two weeks later. The SPD nearly three weeks later. they had no idea the FBI was even involved or how they got my info.

      The FBI made the arrest nearly a month later. The SPD could’ve that day I walked in.

    • I had the same experience with the east precinct on several occasions. It is clear that many of the officers don’t live here and don’t give a shit about the neighborhood.

    • The reception desk cops at precincts are called Duty Officers and are notorious for being the last people on earth with any ability to provide customer service.

  6. My heart goes out to the victim. No one should have to deal with an assault.

    However, I would like to know when this golden age of Capitol Hill being a “safe and welcoming space” was. I have lived here since the 70’s, and remember when Pike/Pine was a creepy, empty area at night, full of prostitutes and petty thieves. Beatings and mugging were commonplace, and murders were not all that unusual.

    I’m all for more police and less crime, but let’s not pretend that we’re experiencing a “crime wave”

    • I’ve lived here since 1987. And no sorry it was way safer. There were more bashings and petty thefts but there were not same concentrations of shootings and murders. there weren’t. Not with in the hill proper. And I believe there was a post here on the crime stats a year or two ago that verified that. And that was all before the 12th ave precinct was built.

      One would think that with a more robust police presence right here on the Hill and with larger and larger police budgets there would be at least a deterrent effect. But there is not.

  7. I can’t believe the callous lack of concern here. Maybe accepting crime like this as “the new normal” is part of the problem? I wonder if all you people will feel the same when it happens to you?

    • These fucking idiots that are picking apart the letter are why we have such a huge safety issue in the neighborhood. Where is the sense of community? The point is people are getting hurt and feeling unsafe now. Who gives a shit if it was even worse in the 70s?!? Why should we just put up with it because it is a city? A healthy neighborhood and city should be safe for old people, women, people of color, young people, LGBT and everyone else. The status quo is unacceptible. Let’s work together to make it better, watch each other’s backs, and build community.

    • I don’t want to pay more cops and would rahter suffer the indignity of being a victim of a random street crime than be the victim of police malice.

    • It’s true there will always be crime, but American cities are stupidly dangerous. If you say anything about it people say “violence happens everywhere!” Which is true, but not on the same level as America. It’s time to stop making lame justifications and excuses and fix the problem.

    • Did you actually read the letter? There letter is actually asking for those statistics. The letter is asking for the political accountability needed to make policing decisions.

  8. It’s summer, time for the annual angry letter about Capitol Hill crime to elected officials. At least this year’s wasn’t embarrassingly overwrought like last year’s from business owners. Congrats on not typing in caps.

  9. Thanks for everyone’s support. It seems only through supporting one another and banding together are we going to affect change.

    Jesse, I wish I’d had you helping me write this letter. I’m not a reporter, and it sounds like you would have had some valuable input. Or maybe you would have just tried to point out what was wrong to show how clever you are and not tried to provide any real help, like for example, looking up statistics to see what’s going on. I combed through seattle.gov and wasn’t able to find any stats, but since I brought awareness to this issue, KOMO asked Sgt. Sean Whitcomb about it, and he replied that crimes against persons, which include assault, robbery, and homicide, are up roughly 38 percent on Capitol Hill since last year.

    I chose to phrase this as a “crime crisis” because I want the city officials to act with expedience and not wait for there to be another victim.

    I fear some of you who’ve commented won’t see that this is a huge issue until something happens to you or someone dear to your heart. That reflects a concerning lack of empathy within you. Do you live in Capitol Hill? Were you one of the people who were drunk and waiting in line for pizza at Hot Mama’s 30 feet from where I was beaten and left unconscious and bleeding?

    Nevertheless, I hope you’re always safe and oblivious!

    • I live in the block between 15th and 16th and Olive and Howell. In the last few years, on New Year’s Eve a young woman was followed through our alley, and as she tried to get into the door to her building, she was stabbed to death by a stranger. Around that time, but in the summer, across Madison, a man was killed with a hatchet by a stranger. Big city, little city, country, on an island, the fear of someone killing you (never mind anything less) is a valid concern. I, myself, no longer feel safe here either, and I don’t know if there’s a fix.

  10. DANIEL, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT TO BE HAPPY TO STILL BE ALIVE??? DISABLED NATIVE AMERICAN ELDER JOHN T. WILLIAMS, TEEN AGER TRAVON MARTIN, FATHER OF 6 ERIC GARNER AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NATIVE AMERICANS, AFRICANS IN AMERICA, ORDINARY WHITES AND OTHERS WERE NOT AS LUCKY AS YOU AND DIDN’T SURVIVE???

    THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION ABOUT GOVERNMENT ACTION / INACTION??? VOTE THE DOWNTOWN STATUS QUO POLITITIANS OUT OF OFFICE. NEXT, CLEAN OUT THE SEATTLE POLICE DEPAETMENT THAT HAS FAILED AND IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO MAKE SEATTLE A SAFE CITY FOR ALL???

    I GOT MUGGED BY 6 JAIL GUARDS IN THE COUNTY JAIL, SO WELCOME TO THE CLUB AND DON’T GIVE UP??? JUST GET STRONGER AND SMARTER??? Omari Tahir-Garrett, VIETNAM VETERAN, WORLD TRAVELER, HISTORY TEACHER (FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL 1969,HORACE MANN BLACK ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL 1972-1974, IMMACULATE ALL GIRLS PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL 1978)

    WEBSITE: OMARIFORCITYCOUNCIL
    WEBSITE: AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN NEWS DIGEST

  11. I used to live over on Eastlake in the 90’s and spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill because at the time, there wasn’t much on Eastlake and I had no problem and felt pretty safe late at night on Cap Hill back then, but not anymore.
    Things have changed and gotten much, much worse there. I have a friend who lives close to Cal Anderson Park and I refuse to go there because I feel I am just putting myself in a position of getting robbed or worse. My friend can look out her window and see crime happening on a daily basis at that park, but no one seems to be doing anything about it.
    I live on Queen Anne, so similarly close to the city like Cap Hill and the difference between the 2 neighborhoods is like night and day. Yes, we have crime here, mostly car prowls, but it is rare to have violent crime, whereas violent crime is much more common on Cap Hill, so this is NOT an issue of ” you live in the city, so suck it up or move to the suburbs”. This is an issue of crime getting completely out of control in one area of the city and it needs to be addressed.
    Just because you live in the city doesn’t mean you should be subject to being robbed or beaten every time you walk the streets of your neighborhood.

    • I walk to work every day. Never beaten once. I walk home from work every day. Never robbed once. You can’t explain that. I go out every Thursday through Sunday. Never been a victim of a crime. What am I doing wrong?

    • I’ve never been mugged, stalked, ripped off, beaten up, or even followed either. But I’m not so smug and know-it-all as to think it couldn’t happen, either.

    • Have you ever been raped? Have you ever had polio? Or been in a plane wreck? Or see a snow leopard? Or been on the moon?

      I’m going to blow your mind: You may not have directly experienced something for it to be real.

      You must be a real peach to be around when somebody you know get’s raped.

      “Heeeey. I walk through that park all the time and I’VE never been raped!”

    • I’m not hungry right now. Therefore, neither is anybody else on Capitol Hill.
      That’s the logic shown in your comment.

  12. I read CHS all the time to see what is going on in the neighborhood. Tons of great stuff and lots of changes are occurring. CHS also publishes Crime Blotters from time to time and it seems that every weekend, the same story repeats itself of people being violently jumped for their cell phones. It seems like there are groups of thugs who specifically come to Capitol Hill on weekends to start fights and prey on people who end up walking alone while drunk (or not) and get violently assaulted for a phone and wallet. These all seem to happen between midnight and 3 AM and a very concentrated area. Even if you have your head on a swivel, you are no match for a 3 on 1 assault.

    It is no surprise or secret that this is happening (and increasingly happens each summer). The question is simple…why are there not significantly increased patrols of SPD on foot and bike in this area during those hours? Cops love overtime, right? Why is there not a strictly enforced loitering curfew from 12-6 in Cal Anderson.

    We now absolutely refuse to go out on The Hill on weekend nights, especially after midnight…it’s just not worth the gamble.

    • I don’t want to pay more cops and would rather suffer the indignity of being a victim of a random street crime than be the victim of police malice.

    • If you do happen to find yourself near Cal Anderson after 11:30 pm when the park closes, then call the SPD. Sgt. Whitcomb told me that the park closes at 11:30 pm, and people can’t be there after that. Why it is the SPD can’t just ride some bikes through there and clear it out is another question. I remember being brought in when I was a dumb college kid for being in Central Park after hours.

  13. It’s an unfortunate story. Right now the focus by Murray is on LGBT victims. Homelessness, police brutality, and everything else is a distant 2nd. I suggest claiming someone called you a faggot before they punched you that way Murray will personally set up a task force to find you phone. You’re lucky you weren’t Black.

    • Oh, good one, yeah. Because pitting us all against each other works great.
      And how do you know he isn’t? Or gay either, for that matter?

    • Classic Internet logic…

      Just because we are talking about one thing in particular, doesn’t mean we aren’t concerned about anything else. People can care about more than one problem at a time.

    • Epic fail indeed. Seattle and Capitol Hill is a total lawless, crazy, drug-addicted, transient shit show right now. It the politicians and the police chief don’t have the political courage to restore public safety and livability to the neighborhood then we need to show them the door.

    • Agree – and I have lived in many different cities, some much bigger than Seattle, and I have never encountered the sheer density of dangerous, undesirables anywhere else. (And by “undesirable,” I mean someone a normal person would consider a threat to their safety and well-being if encountered on the street. Which means almost all drug addicts and the mentally ill, because of their unpredictability.) Seriously, people, the amount of completely disgusting, useless, dangerous people I have to walk by in the course of my normal day IS NOT NORMAL and is not a necessary part of living in a city.

  14. I live near the Columns dog park at Boren between Pike and Pine. Much like Cal Anderson, this is an array that has been overrun by open air drug use and and drug sales and illegal camping. I see it every single day. I love having somewhere close for the dogs to run, but I don’t love the sea of orange needle-cap s and people nodding out all around the benches and street.

    The other night I was thrilled to see two officers out of their car in the lot where someone was shot two days later across from Baltic room. I went over to thank them for having a presence in our neighborhood. They told me that they had been called to address the campers that have moved back in above the freeway, despite the new No Trespassing signs. But, since this is WASHDOT property they have no jurisdiction and cannot cross through the fence. They also indicated that WASHDOT doesn’t really care to clean it up.

    Ok, fine. I asked, “As long as you are here, can you please take a walk through the columns dog park across the street? Our dogs are play in front of obvious open air dealing and using at the columns park, at Boren between Pike/Pine. People are nodding out all over the park. Again, this wasn’t somethign they could help with. Not even a walk through.the park. The reason being is that they were West precint, not East. What a shame. I could go on and on. THe ONLY time I see police on the street in my neighborhood is when they are writing parking tickets. SPD, if you get board of that, please let me know. I can point you to exactly where the drugs, crime, and violence are happening *every single day*. I’ve lived in this neighborhood 12 years and I’ve never seen it this bad. We should be ashamed.

    • Not totally different – parking enforcement officers are SPD employees – http://www.seattle.gov/police/parking/default.htm

      Never the less, why are they the only ones on the SPD payroll we see on the streets?

      Why can’t a cop from the West precinct walk through an open air drug market in the East precinct?

      Why can’t cops from either precinct do anything about illegal activity above I-5?

      Parking enforcement doesn’t need to arrest dealers/criminals, but we should expect more “real” officers from the SPD in this area.

    • All the camping on WSDOT property along I5 has gotten way out of hand in the last couple of years. Some of the campers are undoubtedly junkies and criminals, and it would indirectly help crime in our neighborhood if these camps were cleared out. WSDOT staff will do this, but only if they receive a citizen complaint with specific information about location, numbers of campers, how many tents, etc. So, don’t look the other way….take the time to report what you see……send reports to: McBridJ@wsdot.wa.gov

  15. Hey, I’ve got a good idea. Let’s have a march and rally supporting the SPD! We can start at SCCC and march down Broadway. I am sure we can get a few elected officials like Ed Murray and Kshcommie Sawant to give speeches supporting longer sentences for criminals and tougher policing. You have to break a few heads… eggs to make an omelet.

  16. The vocal and left part of Capitol Hill with a connection to City Hall has been influencing the city’s approach to the area. Unfortunately for everyone that approach tries to equate every street criminal and the hard drugs ecosystem to every person of color and therefore talk of cleaning up the area is portrayed as a racist assault by the “privileged” majority. Most people of color are not doing crime and want to be safe in their communities just like anybody else. When residents of Capitol Hill have had enough of the window dressing of parlor tolerance they will demand the city clean up the area and make it livable for the people who live there. And development written as luxury priced housing and mostly bars as retail business base does not lend itself to a livable community.

  17. Hmmm….

    Let’s take a look.

    Assaults on the rise…

    LGBTQ bashing on the rise…

    Increasing traffic congestion and gridlock…

    Non-existent parking…

    No room on the bus at rush hours…

    Increases in taxes…

    Increases in rents…

    Increased displacement…

    Less green space, less tree canopy…

    How’s this density working out for you neighbors? Before you answer, keep in mind that it’s going to increase. We are told this is for the common good. Who is it really good for?

    The developers benefit. Many of them don’t live here. None of them pay impact fees on their developments.

    The growth machine continues to devour and cannot be sated. Growth itself is unsustainable.

    Think about this and think about it when you vote in November.

  18. This is a constructive discussion that will hopefully move to action by individuals and by the authorities. It represents a move forward from the general poor victim stance that generally has been the liberal response the street scene and related behaviors of the underclass who are taking over our streets. I suspect that if we were to roll back rents to that of 2000, and invite those on the streets to pay that amount for housing, that few if any would be able or willing to write a check and move into a place; that the claim that the city has ejected these folks is a straw man argument.

    More likely we will find people who have gravitated to the life, due to any number of reasons, but in the end are victims of themselves. We need to reconsider and study the impact of the welcome mat that we have extended to certain people. We basically tell them that the laws and standards of civility don’t apply to them. Rather than tell people that they can’t park for more than 72 hours in one place with their campers that we should change the parking rules. Rather than encourage productivity and jobs, we build long-term encampments. The visible difference on the streets is staggering over the past 2-3 years. What is driving this? Why do the cops and the city feel it is OK to ignore what is happening in plain sight? Take back Cal Anderson. Take back the columns and more. Funny but not surprising that there are crops rotting in the fields due to lack of labor to pick them, while we have people claiming the economy offers them no opportunities.

    One day soon someone who is legally packing a concealed weapon will find themselves being mugged at 3 am and exercise their rights. That will be tragic and interesting, to see how the community and blog readers respond.

    • The fact that an emotional, not particularly-well-crafted letter received this many comments highlights the high level of neighborhood concern regarding the rise in violence, crime and general sketchiness in the neighborhood. I hope the city hears the alarm bells and takes substantive action.

  19. FYI
    EVERY SINCE THE GOVERNMENT / CIA STARTED BOMBING URBAN CENTERS WITH CRACK COCAINE AND AK47s (WHERE DID THEY COME FROM???), THINGS HAVE BEEN GOING DOWN HILL AND VIOLENT SELF -HATING CRIME SKY HIGH (“BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR”)???

    SO YOU ARE WAITING ON GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM(S)??? GOOD LUCK. EINSTEIN (NO DUMMY) SAID, “YOU CAN’T SOLVE A PROBLEM WITH THE SAME ENERGY THAT CREATED THE PROBLEM”??? THE REPULICAN GENIOUS RONALD REAGAN SAID, “GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM”??? SO NOW WHAT (STREET SLANG WHA’S UP)???

    I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH AND MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE PAID UP??? ALSO CHECK UP ON THE GOVERNMENT’S “WEED AND SEED” PROGRAM THAT HAS PRODUCED TODAYS ENVIROMETAL SOCIAL CRISIS??? AS THEY SAY “NOTHING IS NEW UNDER THE SUN”, “WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND” AND “AS YOU SO, SO SHALL YOU REAP”???

    YES, IT IS TIME TO GO TO THE NATIVE AMERICAN RESERVATION HOW NICE OF THE EUROPEAN COLONIAL SETTLERS TO “RESERVE SOME VERY, VERY TINY PORTION OF LAND FOR THE INDIGENOUS (ORIGINAL) PEOPLE AFTER THEY REPEATEDLY “MUGGED AND RAPED THEM OF THEIR LAND,, CULTURE AND HISTORY???

    DID AND/OR DOES THE DUAMISH TRIBE EXIST??? QUITE A QUESTION TO ASK??? WHO GOT MUGGED AN ROBBED OF THEIR CELL PHONE AND WHO GOT MUGGED AND ROBBED OF THEIR CONTINENT??? WHEN, HOW AND BY WHOM??? Omari Tahir-Garrett, VIETNAM VETERAN, WORLD TRAVELER, HISTORY TEACHER AND CANDIDATE FOR SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL (2018)
    WEBSITE: OMARIFORCITYCOUNCIL
    WEBSITE: AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN NEWS DIGEST

  20. For the people who have the “it’s a city deal with it or move attitude”…

    Why should I be forced to move?

    I pay my taxes, volunteer, participate in community events, spend money at local businesses, people know my name around the neighborhood.
    Why should people like me leave and dealers, drug addicts, and criminals stay?

  21. Police officers in Seattle have been on an unofficial work slow down ever since the DOJ stepped in to stop harassment of black residents. The SPOG thought they had an ally in Mayor Murray. When he had to back away, they became especially negligent and lazy in “his community”. Expect more of the same until Seattle again allows them impunity in the treatment of black residents.

    • I agree. I think SPD is intentionally letting the neighborhood go to shit because of low morale or to make a political point.

    • The DOJ consent decree had nothing to do with biased policing. In fact it said they found no evidence of it. It had to do with excessive force and certain tactics. Read it….the assertion that work has slowed is true though. I don’t blame them. Damned of they do, damned if they don’t.

  22. It is sad to hear stories like the one in this letter. I do feel that it is time for something to be done about Cal Anderson. That being said, I do not like hearing that the cops don’t care and turn a blind eye. I have seen some fantastic policing out there and am consistently impressed by the calm, effective exchanges.

    I am a small woman and walk everywhere. I have never been hassled on the Hill. In fact, I have called out other people getting hassled loudly, with no issues. That is one of the best things about the neighborhood. I feel that everyone has my back. Please do not get complacent out there.

    I do believe an open forum needs to happen about the park and what to do next.

    • I would like to expand on something. It is strange to me that as soon as you start talking about crime, you get to the homeless population. While I do think something needs to be done about Cal Anderson, I do not think that is where most of of the violent crime is coming from. A couple of years ago we had the horrific mugging wave that turned out to be 5 or 6 kids between 16-24 that were not homeless kids. While the needles and open drug use is a problem, I am not sure the crashed out guys are the violent muggers. Neither are they the gang bangers, who usually also turn out to be our young people. Just to keep that in perspective a bit. Cal Anderson is sometimes one of the coolest places to see the community come together and it is a shame that it is devolving in from of us. Maybe an open letter to Parks and Rec to create some real rules and help put pressure on SPD would help.

    • It seems strange to me that every time that the homeless meth addicts and insane people that travel to Seattle and settle into the park every summer are not viewed as a public safety issue. Some “campers” literally have piles of stolen bike parts and stolen mail in the park. They all seem to be on bikes this year. Where did they get them? Desperate drug addicted people do desperate things to get money for drugs. Mentally ill people with no medication and no support living on the street do insane things. We need to take our head out of the sand and deal with the problem on multiple levels.

    • I know for sure that some of the kids in Cal Anderson are not really homeless. They are “traveling” which seems to mean having your parent’s credit card to run around acting homeless. While annoying, you shouldn’t assume that the stuff is stolen.

    • I know they aren’t all bad kids, but when bikes are missing and phones are stolen and there is a pile of bike parts and phones next to some meth addicts living in the park, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to connect the dots and expect that the police will at least look into it.

    • The east precinct show very clearly that the burglaries are clustered in close proximity to Cal Anderson Park and along I-5 by the traveling junkie campgrounds

  23. In 1992, I was burglarized at my apartment at Federal & Republican. When I called the police, they took my report over the phone, and gave me a case number for my insurance. They refused to send any officers out to investigate because they said the solve rate on burglaries was almost zero. I had hoped that things had gotten better, but apparently not.

  24. Capitol Hill and Seattle are not alone. The number of homicide by firearm is up in most US cities this summer.

    Combine excessive numbers of guns, a gutting of social services over the past decades due to austerity measures, a police force/union reluctant to fire problematic officers, record high temperatures due to global warming/climate change and an ever increasing disparity of wealth and we’re absolutely going to see an increase in violent crime.

    It should be evident to anyone paying attention that our leaders will ignore everything that they can unless we hold them accountable.

    I’m glad that this letter calls out Sawant because she’s the one most likely to come up with a concrete plan/s to truly address the root causes of this problem. The rest will most likely take some position that will not step on the toes of their donors, ie Developers that have largely contributed to the crisis that we are in and/or make some sweep that will last a few weeks, ie cleaning up Cal Anderson park.

    This neighborhood is changing fast and of course it’s not the people that are moving in to the expensive apartments that are committing the crimes. It’s the disregard for the human lives that get thrown to the wayside when we make policies that allow for such incredible growth with so few regulations. It’s complicated and it’s nuanced but if you really love this neighborhood you’ll want to explore the ways we’ll need to act to keep it great.

    See you at the vigil! Thank you for writing the letter!

    • Seriously? The developers are responsible in any way for what you are complaining of? Data please? Such as showing me which folks on the street, doing crimes were happily renting on the hill or anywhere until a rapacious rent hike by an evil landlord or developer? Do you live in an apartment? A condo? A home? Thank a developer if you did not build it yourself. Don’t like what is being built? Blame the city for permitting it, since art and beauty is in the eye of the beholder and darn if those builders and developers did not call me first and ask my permission and opinion. Developers are just people doing a particular job. Some do it well, and some do not. All expect a profit from their efforts, time and risk, just like every reader here expects to be paid for their work. Back to the main theme here – please help me and others understand the true cause. And it would really help if you started with buying coffee or a sandwich for one of the so called displaced victims and ask them their story. Then report it here.

  25. take protecting yourself into your own hands. no one will care more about it than yourself. take self defense classes, use “court vision” when walking around town, buy a gun. cops react to situations, rarely do they prevent them

  26. This was a crisis in the making two mayors ago. There was an ordinance (law) that stated “no camping within the City of Seattle”. It was the political hot button and the law was to vague, so out it goes with nothing to replace it. The mess you see is a result of that decision.

    Next up is prosecutorial discretion. This is where our city attorney plays pic and choose what to go after; fair or not this starts another chain of events.

    Now lets beat on the cops for all the evil things they have done. DOJ is in, the entire SPD command gets pushed, fired, demoted out. The highest of standards are imposed on the working stiffs. Fart or say a bad word and your in the dog house.

    Lets put this together and see how it plays out.
    Camping in the city- not a crime
    trespass, loiter, drinking, urinating, littering, pot smoking, yelling, jaywalking, pets off leash, pets gone wild and any other small time nuisance – prosecutorial discretion
    Cops morale and proactive work – your seeing it in action.

    With all the development, bars and booze on the hill it has become the place to be. Criminals love it and know the cops are on a tight leash.

    How do we fix it? The same way we broke it, demand our elected officials to make decisions that will have the desired affect.

    • I agree with your assessment. Unfortunately, I don’t see the leadership and political will to address it. The lawless atmosphere on the Hill created by all these factors is building on itself.

    • It seems like we have hit rock bottom with the neighborhood crime and homeless junkies camping out all over the Hill. The community is finally fighting back. I hope the city attorney, police chief, council and mayor finally take note. If they don’t we need to show all the incumbents the door.