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Westlake merchants feel safe, still want more cops


A doorman who works security near Seattle’s Westlake Park is demanding damages from the city after he was attacked and robbed while on the job. He also wants cops assigned exclusively to the park.

People who run businesses in the area agree that there’s a crime problem in and around Westlake Park. But the guy who runs the hot dog stand, a shoe store manager and two clothing store clerks all feel safe walking through the park, despite some questionable characters who hang out there.

“It’s alright, I try to stay away from them,” said one vendor. “Nobody’s ever threatened me, I want to make that clear,” declared another. “I don’t feel like I’m in danger, said an assistant manager at a retail store.

A 13-year-old boy is charged in King County Juvenile Court with robbing Joey Crudo last July in a vicious attack that put Crudo in the hospital. Crudo is taking the city of Seattle and the mayor to court, demanding $450,000 in damages. He says he pleaded with police to deal with crime problems at Westlake Park just weeks before he was attacked. Crudo alleges the city is therefore liable for the attack.

While sympathetic, Lucas Vincent, who works at a nearby clothing store thinks that’s a stretch. “If he’s working for a private security company, the city has no obligation to him, I mean the obligation should rely with his employer.”

Crudo is calling on police to dedicate officers full time to Westlake Park. Merchants in the area like that idea.

“It seems reasonable,” said one. “I think that putting two beat officers there daily would not be out of the realm of possibility,” said another.

Police declined to comment for this story, but referred to a press release from last May detailing a data-driven program to predict the location of crimes. Based on what they call “predictive policing,” officers in the five precincts will spend at least two hours of their shifts patrolling those areas where the data predicts certain crimes are likely.

Mayor Mike McGinn also declined specific comment on the legal claim. But a spokesman pointed out that the mayor has added money for 6,000 extra officer hours since last spring to patrol crime hot-spots through the end of the year. The mayor’s office also pointed out that McGinn has proposed funding for 52 additional police officers.

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