A report at Fox News showing the consequences of defunding the police in a major West Coast city may not be going down well with the liberal establishment, but recent history shows how Seattle, Washington has fared from what critics see as a disastrous political agenda that may now be having a ripple effect with crime spreading to other parts of the central Puget Sound region.
One significant signal of how bad things are going is that the city and surrounding King County report the highest concentration of active concealed pistol licenses of anywhere in the state. As of Aug. 1, there were more than 102,000 active CPLs in the county, just under one-sixth of all the CPLs in the entire state, where more than 650,000 people are licensed to carry.
Going back to the administration of former one-term Mayor Jenny Durkan, who was in office in 2020 when violent demonstrations erupted in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing in faraway Minneapolis, Minn., the Fox report details how defunding police has led to manpower shortages during a period when, “Seattle data showed a precipitous rise in homicides.”
“In 2019,” the Fox report recalled, “Seattle recorded 31 homicides. That number skyrocketed by 61% the following year to 50 homicides, the highest number recorded in 26 years.”
However, the story goes on to note, “Seattle’s data on homicides follows a national trend from 2020. FBI data show murders increased by nearly 30% in 2020, marking the largest single-year increase in killings since the agency began tracking the crimes.” A Twitter site called Seattle Homicide (not connected to the Seattle Police Department) posted an alarming notice Friday about the city’s body count so far this year. The city has had 40 murders so far, andis “on track for a projected total of 63 homicides this year,” which would surpass the 2020 total.
Seattle didn't have their 40th homicide last year until November 1st. Last night's DV homicide in Ballard was the 40th of this year. We're 74 days ahead of last years pace and on track for a projected total of 63 homicides this year.
— Seattle Homicide (@HomicideSeattle) August 19, 2022
Fox flagged its report on its website with the following headline: “Liberal city saw sharp rise in homicides after progressive policies implemented.”
But is there evidence that this violent crime is spreading out? Friday, local news agencies in Seattle were all reporting about a deadly home invasion in neighboring Snohomish County in which a trio of robbers broke into a home while the family was present, assaulting the husband and fatally-shooting the wife. It was not clear if the child was harmed.
KIRO News, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, is reporting about a string of ATM robberies in the region, stretching south into neighboring Pierce County and the Tacoma area.
According to Fox News, “Shootings have meanwhile skyrocketed this year. Seattle Police data analyzed by Fox News Digital shows there have been 446 reported shootings this year, as of July 31. The shootings marked a 42% increase compared to last year during the same time period, when 315 shootings were reported.”
The report further said the problem has affected nearby law enforcement agencies in King County, which encompasses the Jet City. One member of the King County Council, Reagan Dunn, is quoted by Fox observing, “Pretty clearly, the defund, disarm and disparage movement by Seattle’s liberal political leaders has utterly gutted our criminal justice infrastructure. And we are seeing the results of those failed policies out on the streets in the form of a 50-year-high crime.”
While raising alarms about Seattle’s growing crime problem, the Fox report focused on Durkan’s tenure as mayor, marked by the takeover by rioters of the so-called “CHOP” (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) zone and the summer of violent protests—which Durkan embarrassingly predicted on national television would be a “summer of love”—and her cutting of the police budget. During her term, the department lost hundreds of officers.
There is no small irony in the fact that Seattle is the headquarters of the Northwest’s billionaire-backed gun prohibition movement, which has championed extremist gun control efforts in the form of two citizen initiatives and a city “gun violence tax” that was supposed to help reduce violent crime with social programs. The initiatives and the tax have all failed miserably on all fronts, with crime and violence going up instead of down. The liberal establishment stubbornly refuses to acknowledge its failed policies.
The city was once a destination for tourism, and even the National Rifle Association held its annual convention there twice, in 1985 and again in 1997.
Durkan’s successor, former City Council President Bruce Harrell, who is an unabashed gun control advocate and would like to see the state’s preemption law repealed, is pushing an effort to hire 500 new police officers, the Fox report noted.