Call to action after report on Seattle’s ‘most prolific offenders’

May 15, 2019, 8:23 AM

There’s been a massive call to action after a damning report on the 100 most prolific offenders in Seattle. Business owners are fed up and want the criminals locked up for good.

KIRO 7 has documented the same criminals being arrested over and over again.

These offenders committed thousands of crimes in Seattle in just two months last year.

Now, two-thirds of them are suspected of committing still more crimes since this report came out –107 new crimes in all.

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All of it has touched a nerve in neighborhoods including Ballard.

Lori Glynn stood behind the counter at Ballard’s Camelion Design, recounting what happened here Wednesday.

“Three gentlemen had walked into the store and they dispersed,” she said, retracing the men’s steps. “And then two of them went right and one went left. And one went through the middle here.”

She immediately remembered surveillance video of a swarm of teenage thieves who descended on several Seattle stores in February. Their strategy: At least one person splits off to steal the employees’ personal belongings.

“We saw them and recognized them from the video prior, on your news station,” Glynn said. “Yes, I saw it on the news a couple months prior. They’d hit West Seattle and Wallingford. And I know that they have come to Ballard now. And they’ve also been in Burien.”

The Downtown Seattle Association and six Seattle neighborhoods commissioned this System Failure report.

They identified the 100 most prolific criminals in Seattle.

Terry E. is one of them. One morning last September, clerks said they spotted him stealing items at four stores in Ballard in less than an hour and a half.

He was finally thwarted at Market Street Shoes. But it took several minutes more for Seattle police to nab him.

“It’s a challenging environment,” said Mike Stewart, who runs the Ballard Alliance, a neighborhood business and community advocacy group. “It’s challenging to own and operate a small business right now.”

Still, Stewart, whose Alliance helped sponsor the study, says they are already seeing action from Seattle’s mayor.

“The emphasis patrols that are happening between now and the end of the month are a very good first step,” he said. “And we’re excited about trying to figure out other ways to address this challenge.”

It is not the end, he said, but the beginning.

“This is the beginning of what could be a very, very long journey,” Stewart said.

He says that journey must also include a systemic change in the judicial and mental health systems here and across the state.

Some of that is surely on the agenda.

By Deborah Horne, KIRO 7

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Call to action after report on Seattle’s ‘most prolific offenders’