Six months since King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in Seattle said his office would no longer handle low-level theft and drug cases, the cost-cutting effort has cut the number of felony prosecutions by a third, reports Seattle Post-Intelligencer.com. Economic tumult historically has been accompanied by an up-tick in crime. Significant cuts were made late last year to the county justice system; critics said such reductions could make it easier for criminals to make trouble and harder for the courts to punish them or lead them back to health.
“The cases are not coming to us, and I’m not sure why,” Satterberg said. “Crime rates are not jumping up as people feared when the economy started to decline.” Also unexpected was such a rapid decline in the number of felony filings, he said. While crime rates generally appear to have remained steady in the county, police have reported a spike in the number of home burglaries. To address that rise, prosecutors and law enforcement are preparing to launch an anti-burglary initiative modeled on a prior auto theft task force that saw the county’s car theft rate drop by about 60 percent. By targeting repeat offenders and consolidating the cases against burglars operating in various jurisdictions, Satterberg believes they may be able to stem that increase.