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Durkan’s response to Central District gun violence: ‘a multitude of strategies’ including emphasis patrols, social programs, and a new public safety advisor in the mayor’s office

The mayor touring downtown last week as part of the rollout of her pre-summer, seven-neighborhood emphasis program to ” make neighborhoods safer, cleaner, & more vibrant”

In the wake of last week’s shootout at 21st and Union that left a 19-year-old dead and two more people wounded, Mayor Jenny Durkan has been publicly silent about the reignition of gun violence in the Central District even as she and her office’s representatives appeared at two previously scheduled events this week to talk about crime in Seattle.

But behind the scenes, the mayor’s office says it is taking steps as part of a longterm strategy to make the city safer and to do more to address the factors Durkan says are behind the shooting incidents in the Central District.

First, Durkan is adding a respected senior public safety advisor to her staff.

Second, the mayor is convening a “multiple City department” meeting with community groups and “stakeholders” to identify immediate actions and next steps in the neighborhood as well as provide updates on the investigations.

“We must approach public safety in a holistic manner to most effectively address the root causes of gun violence in our communities,” a letter sent this week by Durkan to “community members and organizations concerned with the recent spate of gun violence” and shared with CHS by a representative from her office reads.

“SPD continues to work collaboratively across departments, assisting with Parks and Recreation’s Late Night programming and hosting Seattle Police Activity Leagues with camps throughout the summer as well,” Durkan writes. “We know this work goes beyond SPD and must include a multitude of strategies to expand opportunity for our residents.”

Most useful for neighbors could be a stakeholder meeting that is being planned but is not yet scheduled.

Last September after another flare up in shootings, Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best held “a roundtable to hear from community on how we can best coordinate the City’s efforts around youth opportunity and violence prevention in the Central District.” One outcome, Durkan says, was some $7 million in youth safety programming budgeted in 2019 across the city. Another was additional SPD emphasis patrols.

A SPD spokesperson told CHS after the deadly shooting Friday that gang emphasis patrols were already underway in the Central District prior to the latest wave of gun violence.”Seattle Police Department is very concerned about gun violence and has been and will continue to do gun violence emphasis with our gang unit in this neighborhood and other neighborhoods affected by gun violence,” the spokesperson said, adding that the emphasis effort “ebbs and flows as the data shows that we need to do more.”

Neighbors in the area, Tuesday, appeared in front of District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee to call for faster, smaller investments beyond policing to try to make the area safer.

The group is calling on the Seattle Department of Transportation to begin studying the addition of environmental design elements like speed bumps and traffic calming barriers near where gun violence has occurred in an effort to transform 21st Ave and make shootouts and drivebys less likely. Sawant said she is planning a community meeting including neighbors and representatives from the Black community like Africatown to discuss more ideas and she said her office would be pushing for better engagement from City Hall and departments like SDOT.

Tuesday night, Mayor Durkan appeared at a previously scheduled event in Ballard to discuss her “Pre-Summer Emphasis Program” in seven neighborhoods to try to get ahead of summer street crime and violence. Capitol Hill and the Central District did not make the cut. A representative from her office, meanwhile, appeared Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce with East Precinct officials to discuss safety around Broadway and Pike/Pine. The Central District shootings came up — but only in passing.

For neighbors feeling frustrated by the situation, Durkan’s most important move might be the hiring of Julie Kline, a longtime senior deputy prosecutor for the King County Prosecutors Office. The newest member of Durkan’s office will be tasked with helping to coordinate the mayor’s public safety efforts and provide “a consistent point of contact” for the issues. She begins her role May 29th, Durkan says.

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9 thoughts on “Durkan’s response to Central District gun violence: ‘a multitude of strategies’ including emphasis patrols, social programs, and a new public safety advisor in the mayor’s office

  1. Maybe our first problem is a Mayor how has to explicity “tour downtown”, instead of a Mayor who actually walks in and lives in our city, and experiences it like a normal citizen.

    I’m tired of our city being a whistle-stop on Durkan’s national political aspirations. We need a mayor who wants the job for the sake of the job itself.

      • Yes, I’m anti-Durkan. She’s done nothing but delay needed changes and mire everything down in as much Seattle Process as possible. She wants to claim success for projects that were established before her, and has done nothing but slow shit down. Central City Connector, 35th Ave Bike Lane, delaying and shrinking the Basic Bike Network, tent clearings, no movement on improving housing or zoning…. what has she actually done?

        We had an opportunity to elect a number of people who obviously cared a lot about this city and wanted to work to make it better. We squandered that by electing someone as centrist, corporate-liberal as possible, who’s determined to make no meaningful impact on the city.

        The fact that she’d rather make sure to not make anyone upset in the city with any of her actions than actually step on any toes to make real change.

        She’s trying to get the ‘Mayor’ title on her CV without doing any of the work, without actually having any impact on the city, because having an impact you involve making some people upset.

        She’s pretty obviously trying to leverage her US Attorney tenure into politics, with this as a first step. Look at how little she’s done for the city, and try to tell me she actually cares about changing this city at all.

        If she cared about the city at all, she’d be doing real things, even if they weren’t things I agreed with. Instead, she’s doing her damndest to mosey through without making any waves, and move on to whatever aspirations she has. Good riddance.

  2. Unfortunately a lot of lip service by the Mayor. There are no foot patrols in any parts of downtown or neighborhoods. People aren’t afraid of Police any longer because they aren’t visible and they seem to have been stripped of their authority. So what good are they if criminals don’t respect the presence of Police? I guess that is what some people want. Personally I think folks should be slightly intimidated by cops. Doesn’t mean we need to accept abusive cops, but lets be realistic. Most cops are hard working loyal public servants.

  3. I never see the bike patrols anymore. I remember they were a regular thing, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

  4. I live a block away and have seen exactly 0 police officers in the neighborhood before and after the shooting.

    • I’m really sorry I voted for Jenny jerk in. She said she would have open door policy she’d work for the people that she was for us it’s all a bunch of Lies. You can’t even get through anyone in her office to be able to schedule an appointment with her. I doubt even if she saw this note that she’d even make an attempt to contact me or anybody else that would be interested in meeting her. Ask her about the conditions of the Lehigh Abbey Lincoln Apartments . How many people have overdosed due to opiates alcoholism poisoning and recently a rate that happened in the building. She finally after nearly three years got the security guard there. I tried to talk to Sharon Lee at Lehigh apartments and said that something like this would happen before long someone would get injured and or killed but nobody paid attention thank God I got out of there. I never wanted anything to do with Lee hi at all. I believe that they’re into it for the money and that’s it. They do not take care of their properties. You can ask anyone that lives there how unhappy they are.