Wednesday night’s virtual meeting of the East Precinct Advisory Council brought community members fatigued by ongoing pandemic restrictions and months of protest together with Seattle Police officials who described the situation around crime in the East Precinct as a “perfect storm.”
SPD brought statistics to back up its claims including what the department says is a near 13% rise in overall crime in the East Precinct. That’s in line with CHS’s report on summer crime trends that showed overall crime down but the core, most serious crimes up 12% in a surge that began in January well before the pandemic and protests set in.
Focusing on the most serious crimes that SPD uses for its statistical analysis like assaults, burglaries, and vehicle related crimes, CHS showed crime was down 4% through August in 2020. In June during the height of CHOP, crime — including everything from animal cruelty to street robberies — dropped a whopping 14% from recent years across the precinct.
There have been areas of frustration, however, as burglaries have surged around Pike/Pine and in the area between Broadway and I-5. Homicides and gun related crimes have also climbed. There have already been nine murders across the East Precinct — there were five in all of 2019 and three the year before.
And the month since CHS’s analysis has not been a good one. In September, the East Precinct recorded a 23% jump in overall crime compared to the same month last year.
The surging stats come on the heels of months of demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality often based at the East Precinct on Capitol Hill that have frequently resulted in arrests. One community member said they were frustrated demonstrators weren’t being punished more for “tearing this city up.”
SPD officials said Wednesday night that it is difficult to prosecute these cases with lower jail capacities due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the time it takes to complete paperwork on each case.
“I think everybody is tired of all the protests and all the violence and all the property destruction,” Lt. Paul Leung said. “This is almost a perfect storm.” Continue reading