SoDo and Georgetown see 31 percent rise in crime
The shutdown of the Jungle tent encampment under Interstate 5 in late 2016 shuffled a portion of the homeless population and some associated crime, with SoDo and Georgetown appearing to be the destination.
Known as The Flatlands, SoDo and Georgtown have seen crime rise 31 percent as of last year, compared to the mere 1 percent citywide rise, reports The Seattle Times. Much of the crime is related to property damage, with a sharp uptick in commercial burglaries, thefts, and motor-vehicle thefts, including 510 cars broken into.
For KIRO Radio’s John Curley, this is indicative of the city’s general attitude toward solving homelessness.
“The police have been told to go with kid gloves when it comes to homelessness, so they’re not moving the RVs, they don’t care if there are drugs, they don’t necessarily respond to cars getting broken into,” he said. “It’s all low-level stuff. They don’t want to deal with it and just turn a blind eye.”
According to business owners, the area is developing a sense of lawlessness with garbage piles, graffiti, drug abuse, broken-down RVs, prostitution, and numerous incidents of theft and property damage. It’s impacted the feelings of safety among business owners and customers, as well as those living in RVs, themselves the target of many of the crimes.
“I feel sorry for the people down there who have businesses,” Curley said. “It must be an awful thing to have to deal with that every day.”
In response, police have dedicated a squad from 3 a.m. to noon in the area when most of the crime is occurring, and have dispatched a Community Police Team to perform outreach to those living in RVs.