Once considered the gem community of Washington State, Seattle has descended into what a local businesswoman told Fox News is “a criminal and humanitarian emergency.”
Some 300 police officers have left the Seattle Police Department since 2020, violent crime is rising, the city is a magnet for what some critics call the “professional homeless,” and the left-leaning municipal government seems incapable of providing a fix. The Fox News report noted police data showing a 20 percent increase in violent crime, 24 percent hike in aggravated assault and 18 percent rise in robbery.
It was recently reported that Amazon relocated some 1,800 employees from business space in the downtown area because it is too dangerous, according to a story in the Daily Mail.
There is no small irony in the fact that crime and violence in Seattle has gone up in the years since the city passed a so-called “gun violence tax” on the sale of firearms and ammunition. The tax was supposed to bring in between $300,000 and $500,000 annually—actual revenue has never come close—to fund violence reduction efforts. In 2016, the first full year of tax collection, revenue was $103,766 and there were 19 homicides. By 2018, revenues declined to $77,518 and there were 32 murders. Last year, Seattle reported $165,416 collected from the gun tax, and the city logged 40 homicides.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the far-left city council slashed more than $7 million from the police budget for 2022, and $36 million over the past three years.
Earlier this week, the King County Prosecutor’s Office released information to the media about prosecutions in Seattle shooting cases. There were 28 different entries, including a half-dozen homicides, and the first quarter of the year isn’t even over yet (it ends March 31).
Police this week arrested a suspect in a deadly shooting who is also a suspect in a February bank robbery. The suspect is also charged in a previous robbery in Lake Forest Park, according to KING 5 News, the Seattle NBC affiliate. The same man is “implicated in a string of robberies and shootings around the Seattle area over the past several months,” KING reported. When he was arrested, police found eight firearms and a bag of “suspected fentanyl.”
One woman interviewed by Fox closed her downtown business recently, citing the murder of a 15-year-old near the Amazon office building as a last straw.
“As COVID came in and downtown emptied out, I feel like the criminal activity has really taken over the streets,” said businesswoman Olga Sagan.
Six months ago, Ammoland interviewed a 24-year-old Florida transplant who had started carrying a gun because of rising crime in the city. He was personally accosted by a would-be robber, and at the time, he worked across the street from one of the city’s notorious homeless camps.
Seattle is not an isolated trouble spot. Look to Portland, San Francisco and other cities and one can find similar problems. Portland logged 90 murders last year and San Francisco reported 56 killings. What these cities have in common are very liberal governments.
The Seattle Police Department recently unveiled a 26-page strategic plan designed to “rebuild the force and its relationships with the community,” Fox News reported.
The report says SPD “took over 1,000 guns off the street” in 2020.
Perhaps the key to turning things around is to take criminals off the street, along with the guns they are carrying (typically illegally).