Following increased neighborhood concerns over crime around Cal Anderson Park, Mayor Mike McGinn announced yesterday that lights in park will now stay on throughout the night as part of his new crime prevention strategy. The nighttime lighting, which includes the flood lights on the turf field, went into effect last night. The park’s hours will remain 4 AM-11 PM (sorry to anyone who had their hopes up about midnight softball).
McGinn also announced that he would spend $400,000 for increased police patrols, to be used through the end of the year.
“These patrols, initiated in early spring to combat the major crimes that typically come with warm summer weather, will continue to address hot spots where crime data show additional resources are needed. This additional funding will extend the violence prevention emphasis patrols detail through the end of the year, funding 6,000 extra officer hours.”
“We’re getting more officers out on the streets, including on foot and on bike, to protect public safety and respond to recent serious incidents and community concerns,” said McGinn in the press release.
According to the mayor the crime data will be used to target busy transit corridors, such as 3rd Avenue in downtown and Broadway on Capitol Hill. The city is also in the process of hiring 30 more police officers. The increase patrols comes on the heels of full-time park ranger patrols inside Cal Anderson Park.
McGinn’s announcement came three days after Martin Anwar Duckworth shot a bus driver in the face while exiting a downtown bus. The announcement also came on the same day that the Seattle Times published this front page story that reported downtown crime has stayed constant over five years even through McGinn has touted crime reductions on the campaign trail. Following the story, council members Sally Clark, Tim Burgess, and Bruce Harrell penned this blog post about what further actions the mayor should take to stem violence. Here’s an excerpt:
“Last Monday morning’s shooting of a Metro bus driver reinforced for many a belief that downtown street crime and disorder is out of control,” wrote the council members. “Seattle has a reputation as a city of innovation and creativity. We can use this spirit to tackle public safety challenges, but to do so requires that the Mayor acknowledge the problem, embrace a continuum of response (including arresting and prosecuting the high frequency, persistent offenders causing the most harm), and give our police officers clear and consistent direction to keep our community safe.”