In a stunning report at MyNorthwest.com, local radio personality Jason Rantz estimates the Seattle Police Department “is on track to lose nearly 200 officers by the end of the year,” a revelation that may seem like a dream come true for the city’s entrenched far-left establishment, but for other residents stuck there due to jobs, family or other factors, it’s a continuing nightmare.
The trouble is underscored by a report from the Washington State Department of Licensing that for the first time since August 2020, King County—which encompasses the city—now has more than 100,000 active concealed pistol licenses. It’s a jump of 1,210 CPLs since May 1, suggesting residents have had their fill of woke politics and the associated crime, inability of police to respond, and a disturbing report in the Seattle Times about a memo showing Seattle police “halted investigating adult sexual assaults this year,” according to the headline.
That kind of news can convince people they are essentially on their own when it comes to personal safety, so they buy guns and get licensed to carry them.
Another recent report at Law Enforcement Today begins with this unnerving sentence: “Democrat-run cities were warned.” The story goes downhill from there, noting that Seattle has lost 332 officers since January 2020, amounting to 26 percent of its force.
“Officials with SPD said the department has about 940 deployable officers, whereas at one point, the department was budgeted to have about 1,350 officers,” the story says.
The year 2020 saw the outbreak of COVID-19 and civil unrest that turned into riots in several cities, including Seattle, following the May killing of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis resident, by Minneapolis police. It was the event that launched the “defund police” movement, with violent results in Seattle and even worse 200 miles south in Portland, Ore. Anarchists staged almost nightly protests in Oregon, and in Seattle, they seized about six blocks on the city’s Capitol Hill, creating what they called the “CHOP” Zone, keeping police out. Then-Mayor Jenny Durkan, a liberal Democrat, declared on national television it would be a “summer of love” in the Jet City. In reality, it was far different. There were two homicides in the CHOP Zone, there is a video showing one man allegedly handing out semi-auto rifles from the trunk of a car, and the police department’s local precinct office was evacuated for several days until one morning, following the second murder, police moved back in and took the zone back from the protesters.
One year ago, King County reported 95,929 active CPLs. That number had declined from a high in Spring 2020 of more than 102,000. During the pandemic panic of 2020 and extending into 2021, law enforcement agencies “suspended” acceptance of new CPL applications despite the fact there is no provision for that in state statute. New gun owners waited sometimes for months in order to apply for a first-time CPL, while already-licensed citizens could renew.
2022 YTD Total: 19
2022 Fatal Police Shootings: 3
2021 Total: 43
2021 Fatal Police Shootings: 2
10 Year Average: 28.8
Record High: 69 in 1994
— Seattle Homicide (@HomicideSeattle) May 19, 2022
According to Seattle Homicides, a Twitter account not related to the Seattle Police Department, the city has seen 19 murders so far this year. But summer hasn’t arrived yet. A few years ago—before passage of gun control initiatives and the adoption of Seattle’s “gun violence tax” on firearm and ammunition sales, Seattle’s annual homicide count hovered in the 19-22 range.