When Seattle Mayor Ed Murray called his administration “significantly behind” in responding to an uptick in street crime and disorder downtown, Scott Lindsay, his top public-safety adviser blamed King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, reports the Seattle Times. “The increase in street disorder is largely a function of the fact that heroin, crack and meth possession has been largely legalized in the city over the past several years as the County Prosecutor significantly raised the bar to prosecuting drug possession (arrests and prosecutions have dropped off a cliff as a result),” said Lindsay.
“The unintended consequence of that social policy effort has been to make Seattle a much more attractive place to buy and sell hard core drugs,” added Lindsay. “With drugs and drug addiction comes property crimes and street disorder.” Satterberg held his ground yesterday, arguing that his office isn't causing the problem. More social and mental-health services are needed, he said, along with more police officers on the street, rather than more felony prosecutions. The mayor will soon announce a “9½ Block Strategy,” a section of downtown where there were 10,000 “calls for service” in 2014. The strategy will include high-visibility policing, moving newspaper boxes used for drug dealing, limiting access to alleys, activating park spaces, reviewing the siting of some bus stops and opening a shared storefront for several government agencies.