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Rantz: After Seattle politicians give up, businesses tackle prolific offenders on their own

Shingletown Saloon in Ballard. (via Facebook)

The city of Seattle has failed business owner Dan Murphy. Now, he’s tracking prolific offenders on his own.

Murphy owns Shingletown Saloon in Ballard. His workers and customers have been terrorized by prolific offenders in the neighborhood, including one who he says pulled a knife on his staff and pushed over his female customers. He tried to get the city involved, but they’ve not done much. It got him talking with his business neighbors.

“I started talking and going around, up and down, on Market Street,” Murphy told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “When I had conversations with 7-Eleven and other business owners, they had the same [prolific offenders]… that pulled a knife on this guy… and they had the same story.”

This prompted Murphy to start the Facebook page Ballard Watch.

“If we had one area where we keep the story together, then maybe we could cut it off before something bad happens,” he explains.

The goal of the page is to share information about prolific offenders so his business neighbors could be more vigilant. But, moreover, he just wanted a place where he could implore people to actually call the police when these bad guys strike.

“A lot of people are passive,” Murphy notes. “They don’t call the police because he throws a rock through your door. They don’t call the police because he flips a blade out on somebody. A lot of people don’t [call police]. And what we’re doing is ‘Hell no! We’re gonna do something! We’re gonna say say something!’

Murphy acknowledges that the problem is complex but he doesn’t feel like the city is listening to the concerns of his community.

“The only way I can sum that up is the last year and half, I feel that the only people that police the streets of Market Street are the business owners,” Murphy acknowledges. “There is no policing going on at all… t’s frustrating.”

Murphy doesn’t blame the cops. He knows they’re doing what they can. He sees this as a bigger problem. During the interview, I noted that politicians don’t seem to care, stopping cops from being able to do their jobs.

Murphy notes only in the last couple of weeks have cops been more visible, but seems to chalk that up to the election cycle. He doesn’t know if Councilmember-elect Dan Strauss will help with the problem, choosing to rely on himself more than his representatives.

“People are struggling, but we’re really talking about 10% of the people are not good people,” he says of some prolific offenders. “They’re you know, they’re dangerous and some of them  need help.”

As the city spends another year pretending to offer these people help, business owners like Murphy, struggle to keep their staff and customers safe.

“I’m gonna rely on myself and the business owners that I know of on my block because I haven’t seen anything to make me more optimistic about [getting help].”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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