Rantz: As Seattle City Council defunded police, two victims were stabbed nearby
As the Seattle City Council voted to defund the police Monday, two victims were stabbed just blocks away. One of the victims died at the scene. A second was stabbed, by a stranger, in the neck.
The stabbings — the third in four days — spotlights a city spiraling out of control. As homicides soar and violent crime escalates, police staffing dwindles. And the council just made the situation worse.
It’s almost as if the council, blinded by ideology, is trying to cause further pain and suffering.
Seattle City Council defunded police after two stabbings
As the Seattle City Council debated the final 2021 city budget on Monday, a man stabbed a woman to death in Belltown just before 11 a.m. The stabbing occurred at an apartment building operated by Plymouth Housing. It serves formerly homeless people.
“She loved her job,” Jolene Paris, a resident, told KOMO TV. “She just wanted to help us.”
The 58-year-old suspect, formerly homeless, fled on foot before officers arrived. He was arrested later that afternoon, about an hour before the council approved a budget cut of 18% to the SPD. Among the cuts, the council will pursue a dangerous plan to have social workers respond to some 911 crisis calls.
The tragic irony is the victim was a case worker, potentially like one the council will send on 911 calls. Unarmed and untrained, they won’t have a chance to defend themselves against dangerous residents in crisis.
This wasn’t the day’s only stabbing.
Stabbed in the neck in Seattle
The second stabbing occurred around 3:30 p.m. on Monday afternoon in downtown Seattle. It was a random attack.
A 33-year-old man was walking nearby when a 27-year-old man stabbed him in the neck. The victim first thought he had been randomly punched, but soon realized he was bleeding. The victim was sent to the hospital and will be OK.
According to the police, responding officers found a pocket knife on the suspect, who also has a Department of Corrections felony warrant for escape from community custody.
It’s not a coincidence
It’s not a coincidence that there were two stabbings during council deliberations to defund the police.
The stabbings are a direct consequence of a city spiraling out of control. We have historically low police staffing. Indeed, the city has the lowest deployable staff since at least 1990. The fewer the officers, the higher the crime and the longer it will take to respond to violent crimes and track down suspects. And the problem is getting worse.
Not only have 144 officers already left the department in 2020, the number could very well exceed 200 by the new year. The Seattle City Council seems to be unbothered. They continue to push forward to defund Seattle police while the homicide rate grows as fast as our homelessness crisis. There is no end in sight.
As we are at crisis staffing levels, who would want to work in Seattle as an officer? There are scores of officers eating up accrued sick time ahead of leaving the department for a neighboring agency. And when they leave, their positions won’t be easily filled.
Perhaps the council thinks social workers can help address the problems the city faces. But one case worker lost her life today. I fear more tragic, senseless, and avoidable loss of life will occur.
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