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King County Courthouse
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King County Courthouse block receives 300 police calls per month

The King County Courthouse has been plagued with crime and unsanitary problems for years, but court employees say the magnitude has dramatically spiked in recent months. (penjelly, Flickr)

After reporting earlier this week on the number of assaults taking place on King County Metro buses, KIRO 7’s Amy Clancy told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that there have been three recent assaults outside of the King County Courthouse.

Clancy said that KIRO 7 has “known that the issue of public safety is a concern at the King County Courthouse” ever since May 2017, when a homeless person attacked a juror right outside the court building.

“Elected police officials, lawyers, jurors, witnesses, an intern, court employees have all been the victims of assault, harassment, and being spat on,” Clancy said, paraphrasing a conversation she had with a judge Wednesday afternoon.

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Although the city has taken action to combat the problem, such as sending extra police to patrol the area and power-washing the sidewalk multiple times per week, there is still a long way to go. Clancy said that KIRO 7 cameras have captured images of feces in the courthouse’s doorways, as well as a police call on Wednesday that resulted in two arrests just across the street from the courthouse.

“It’s almost 24/7 — as a matter of fact, according to one of my sources, there are about 300 calls to police for that block every month,” she said.

Clancy interviewed people walking to and from the courthouse who said that they did not feel safe in that part of Seattle and that if it weren’t for having to visit the courthouse, they would avoid the area. It is a very real concern, Clancy said, if the government is forcing citizens to visit a location that is not safe.

“A lot of people don’t have a choice — if you are testifying, if you have a court date, if you work there, you can’t just avoid the courthouse,” Clancy said. “It’s not like a place where you go shopping … there could be very real legal repercussions if you don’t show up for court.”

Clancy, who noted that her family has been in Seattle since the 1800s, said that seeing what Seattle has become saddens her greatly.

“Something has got to be done regarding personal safety in a place that people cannot legally avoid,” she stated.

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