Diaz oversees violent weekend, his first official one as SPD chief

Jan 16, 2023, 3:11 PM | Updated: Jan 17, 2023, 9:37 am
Adrian Diaz being sworn in as next chief of Seattle Police (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

After a weekend of shootings alongside a narcotics bust, multiple assaults, hate crimes, and even a power outage affecting 8,000 residents, many people who call Seattle home are worried about 2023’s violent start.

“We had a violent weekend, even by Seattle standards, for what we’ve been seeing over the past two years and the rise in violent crime and shootings and homicides,” Brandi Kruse said on KIRO Newsradio.

While 2022 was a more violent year, according to Seattle Police Department’s Crime Dashboard, crime followed 2021’s rollercoaster-esque pattern in the back half of the year, crescendoing within the same months (July, August, October, December).

January 2021 saw 42 shootings while January 2022 witnessed 65.

“A man shot to death inside a restaurant, three people shot outside of a popular bar on Capitol Hill,” Kruse listed off. “A guy shot after he was asked for a cigarette by a stranger in Seattle. A guy sitting in his truck shot with a grazing bullet to the head in Seattle. A 16-year-old boy shot in Tacoma. Two teenage girls shot outside of Mount Vernon grocery store in the parking lot. Just a few of the things that happened in the past few days in western Washington.”

All this occurred on Adrian Diaz‘ first official week as Chief of Police for Seattle. Diaz was the interim chief for two years following former Police Chief Carmen Best’s resignation in August 2020, and was confirmed by the Seattle City Council with an 8-1 vote.

Seattle City Council confirms Adrian Diaz as police chief

The only “no” vote came from Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

Diaz spent his first week on the job speaking to the media about what was happening throughout Seattle.

“For me, the violence is bad, combating violent crime is getting more officers on the streets,” Diaz said on KIRO Newsradio with Brandi Kruse last week. “I mean, that is the simple fact, we need officers to be in the right place at the right time. I think in the last five months, we have seen a decline. We have adjusted our resources. But we’ve also had our officers working multiple shifts that are working emphasis. They’re working anything from downtown emphasis to gun violence emphasis, and we’re spreading them out really, really thin.”

Morgan Williams, an economist at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, conducted a study to see how valuable extra patrol officers are to a city. Williams and his colleagues, Aaron Chalfin, Benjamin Hansen, and Emily Weisburst, found adding an additional police officer to a city prevents between 0.06 and 0.1 homicides, according to Planet Money.

Based on the data, the average city would need to hire between 10 and 17 new police officers to save one life a year which would cost taxpayers annually between $1.3 and $2.2 million.

But to complicate things further, the federal government puts the value of a statistical life at approximately $10 million, according to NPR.

Seattle Mayor Harrell commits to hiring 500 SPD officers by 2027

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Diaz oversees violent weekend, his first official one as SPD chief