Former Mayor McGinn: ‘Police alone are never going to be enough’ to curb Seattle’s crime problem
Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn knows from experience that the current mayor’s response to violent and property crime, targeted police deployment or “hot spot” policing, is not enough to solve the problem.
“The thing that’s concerning to me when we see crime is the immediate reaction to hire more officers,” McGinn told Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio. “But right now, we’re facing a situation where they can’t hire officers fast enough. They’re losing officers faster then they can hire them. So, if your plan right now is just hire more officers, you don’t have a plan.”
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz announced in February their plan to “reset community norms” by targeting specific areas of the city with disproportionate crime rates. The plan included a mobile precinct alongside six dedicated officers on Third and Pine.
Their announcement followed the release of a Seattle Police Department 2021 crime report which displayed violent crime has reached a 14-year high in the city.
“Where are the youth violence prevention initiatives? Where’s the gang intervention work? Where’s the community work that can help interrupt violence?” asks McGinn. “We know that community programs work. And I would love to be hearing we’re not just going to hire more officers, but we’re going to really invest in the community programs that work because we know they work.”
Falling under the umbrella of violent crime, reported robberies went up 15% from 2020 to 2021 while aggravated assault cases shot up by 20%, according to Seattle Police Department data. As a whole, reported offenses went up 9.3%, with 47,773 total cases last year.
During McGinn’s term as mayor, he launched a new program within the Seattle Police Department to increase foot patrols around the Belltown neighborhood following several early-morning shootings outside bars and nightclubs in the area.
McGinn also attempted to ban guns in public places, petitioning the state to change its law after the King County Superior Court overturned his administration’s gun ban.
McGinn still has faith in Harrell as Seattle’s mayor.
“And I don’t want to be too hard on Mayor Harrell here,” McGinn said. “You know, he’s a new mayor, he’s still getting his feet under him.”
- Tune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.