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Crime crackdown planned for downtown Seattle

Seattle police officers and city officials are starting a campaign to stop illegal activity and arrest violent offenders in a nine-and-a-half block area of downtown. (AP)

Seattle police are cracking down on drug dealing and associated crime.

Police and city officials are starting a campaign to stop illegal activity and arrest violent offenders in a nine-and-a-half block area, according to Mayor Ed Murray.

“We’ve heard again and again from people who work downtown [and] businesses downtown about their employees being assaulted,” Murray said. That’s just unacceptable.”

The area is the section of downtown between First and Fourth avenues and Union and Stewart streets. Murray has been under increased pressure to clean up the retail corridor that store owners, tourism promoters and others have described as disorderly and filled with illegal activity.

Bus stops will be moved, alleys restricted and newspaper boxes used by drug dealers will be removed, The Seattle Times reports.

Seattle police received 10,000 calls for service from the area, the Times reports. The entire city has less than 900,000 calls each year.

“We’re not enforcing new rules, we’re enforcing the law,” Murray said.

According to the Times, King County Metro Transit will move bus stops on each side of Third Avenue between Pike and Pine streets one block south in May. Alleys will be closed to the general public and violators will face up to $1,000 fines and 90 days in jail.

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