Mayor Durkan, Chief Best Announce Additional Steps to Improve Public Safety in Communities Across Seattle

Ongoing Emphasis Patrols in Seven Neighborhoods Will Continue; City Has Begun Additional Regular Summer Emphasis Programs at Golden Gardens, Alki Beach, and Capitol Hill & Continues Operations to Combat Gun Violence in the Central District and Rainier Beach

Seattle (May 28, 2019) – Following a neighborhood tour on Capitol Hill this morning, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and Chief of Police Carmen Best announced additional steps by the City of Seattle to improve public safety in communities across Seattle. The ongoing emphasis Seattle Police Department (SPD) patrols that began in May in seven neighborhoods across Seattle will continue and will be reevaluated later in June. As it has done in recent years, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) will also have its regular summer emphasis programs in Golden Gardens, Alki Beach, and Capitol Hill (for nightlife).

“We have a responsibility protect the safety of our neighborhoods and communities while also ensuring they are welcoming, vibrant and active places for people to live, work and play,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “Our departments including the Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Seattle Public Utilities are in neighborhoods across the city making improvements to our neighborhoods. I am grateful to the community members for their input, and to our SPD officers and other City employees who are helping address these community priorities.”

On May 2, SPD began focused operations in seven areas based on community input and data analysis, which are corresponding with community improvements by City departments. The seven neighborhoods are: downtown, near the Third Avenue corridor around Pike and Pine; SoDo; South Park; Georgetown; Pioneer Square; Fremont; and Ballard.

The emphasis patrols are not reducing regular SPD and City of Seattle operations, including police patrols, criminal investigations, gun violence prevention efforts, and operations to combat gang violence throughout Seattle. For example, the City is continuing its work to prevent and respond to shots fired and gun violence in areas like the Central District and Rainier Beach. SPD has also done a series of recent operations in North Seattle, South Seattle, Northgate, and Pioneer Square and Chinatown International District.

SPD will continue to evaluate the impact to understand continued and future deployments in those and other areas. In the first three weeks, initial data shows the calls for services has decreased while proactive community policing has increased substantially.

 “We will continue to address criminal behavior in these target neighborhoods and monitor needs in other areas. Regular operations and criminal investigations will continue throughout the city,” said Chief of Police Carmen Best. “We hope that added police resources, partnered with enhanced services from other City departments, will make a positive impact for our businesses and residents.”

“Our job is to ensure all voices are heard – their concerns, their needs and aspirations – and align our programs and services to support them,” said Andres Mantilla, director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. “Our investments are focused on connecting neighbors with the City and with each other and partnering with community to find solutions.”

“SDOT is pleased to be working alongside our colleagues in law enforcement and other City agencies, to enhance the safe transportation of people and goods throughout the city,” said Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe.

“Seattle City Light is in the midst of a concerted effort to upgrade streetlights to more reliable, energy efficient LED technology,” the utility’s general manager and CEO, Debra Smith, said. “We recognize that streetlights also contribute to residents’ feelings of security. Having an opportunity to hear directly from neighbors on where we can do more in working with other city departments is super helpful.”

“Public safety is essential for Seattle’s economy, and especially Seattle’s neighborhood small businesses. The City is committed to partnering with businesses to hear their concerns and find solutions to the problems they see every day,” said Office of Economic Development Acting Director Bobby Lee.

Over the past month, City of Seattle departments – including the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle City Light, the Seattle Department of Transportation, Department of Neighborhoods, the Department of Parks & Recreation, the Office of Economic Development, and the Human Services Department – have formed multi-disciplinary teams that are engaging with communities to identify and address maintenance needs, including: tree and landscape maintenance on City-owned properties; replacing streetlights; removing graffiti; improving sign and pavement markings; and removing debris from illegal dumping. This process has included ‘neighborhood walks’ with community members to identify priority work that are currently being addressed. In the coming weeks, the City will be announcing a series of summer programs in neighborhoods across the City for youth, children and families.