Rantz: MLB All-Star weekend couldn’t mask Seattle’s crime surge

Jul 9, 2023, 6:00 PM

A man is passed out in Seattle as an outreach worker asks him to move on Thursday, July 6. He did n...

A man is passed out in Seattle as an outreach worker asks him to move on Thursday, July 6. He did not move. (Photo courtesy of Jason Rantz, KTTH)

(Photo courtesy of Jason Rantz, KTTH)

Less than 24 hours into the MLB All-Star Week and Seattle already had suffered a violent and bloody weekend. By Sunday morning, the lawlessness continued.

Between Friday night and Saturday morning, the city experienced three fatal shootings, with two in SODO, the site of the All-Star Game. In one homicide, a man was found shot to death outside an unidentified business Friday night around 11:30pm. Less than 12 hours later, around 9:30 a.m., SODO saw another homicide. According to a police source speaking anonymously to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, the victim’s body was found holding a gun. There were, the source said, roughly 100 rounds recovered. A third shooting death occurred in the Leschi neighborhood.

More on the shootings: Seattle sees violent start to All-Star Week

The state law and Seattle policy against vehicular pursuits impacted an active shooting early Sunday morning according to an incident report obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. Around 2:50 a.m., officers attempted to stop a vehicle with an incorrect plate, but it drove off. Under the Democrat-passed vehicular pursuit law, police were not able to follow. Moments later, that same car drove by different officers who saw the someone in the fleeing vehicle firing shots out of the window, but the target was unclear. City policy prohibits nearly all vehicular pursuits, regardless of time of day and, even if they were given the green light under the new state law, officers have still not received the mandated training. Police say roughly 20 shell casings were found across three blocks in three separate calibers. There were no known injuries.

Seattle Police staffing an issue for the MLB All-Star Week

Seattle Police Department staffing remains severely strained as officers are working what’s called a “blue/gold shift” where every officer works 12.5 hour shifts, with no new vacation time being approved. The department is being supplemented by the King County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

“If we weren’t on blue/gold, we would have been screwed city-wide, for sure,” one officer tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Since 2020, the department has lost nearly 600 officers with fewer than 1,000 deployable officers. After the Seattle city council embraced the defund movement, with councilmembers Teresa Mosqueda, Tammy Morales, Andrew Lewis, and Dan Strauss leading the way, the department experienced a mass exodus of officers. While Mosqueda is seeking a seat on the King County Council, the three other councilmembers mentioned are seeking re-election. With so few officers and a city and state that embraced soft-on-crime policies, we have seen record high homicides since 2020 and 2022 saw a 15-year-high violent crime rate.

More from Jason Rantz: Seattle cleans up the city for MLB All-Star Week, not for us

But city leadership, and a mostly compliant media, continues to send the message that there’s nothing to see here.

Nothing to see here, keep it moving

It wasn’t just a violent weekend as the city continued to experience the non-violent crime surge.

Between Friday and Sunday morning, Seattle Police responded to 51 reports for motor vehicle theft, 47 for assault, and 48 for a combination of larceny burglary, and robbery.  With the exception of a small dip in February, Seattle has seen month-over-month crime increases through May (the latest monthly data available) when counting all categories.

But you wouldn’t know it if you listen to Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell.

The mayor continues to focus exclusively on the positive during MLB All-Star Week, even pretending that he didn’t increase homeless sweeps to impress MLB executives and tourists visiting the city. And while it makes sense to be a city cheerleader during a major event that brings significant dollars into the local economy, it’s indicative of a larger problem from the mayor and others in city leadership: no one wants to admit we have several crises on our hands.

No leadership

The Harrell administration has been mostly silent when it comes to the issues facing the city.

While Harrell has undoubtedly engaged in some efforts to clean up the downtown area, he does it so slowly and casually that there’s plenty of time for the issues to creep back up. For example, while he has been sweeping parts of SODO, the homeless just end up returning because there’s little follow-up and no pressure to push homeless into a shelter or treatment. While downtown’s deadly intersection at Third Avenue and Pine Street look much better than during the height of the crime crisis, aggressive enforcement ended and the homeless addicts returned. The area still reeks of urine. Meanwhile, most other neighborhoods in Seattle are forgotten.

It would be one thing if Harrell was aggressively tackling the issues and offering honest assessments of the city, only to take an understandable break to be a city publicist during the MLB All-Star Week. But there hasn’t been a significant change in his messaging between before and during the MLB event. That means he’s likely to continue to stay mostly silent while the city continues to suffer, once the MLB executives pack up and leave. And with too little media attention paid to the systemic issues, connecting dots to policy or laws to explain the rise in crime, homelessness, and drug addiction, nothing will change.

While I want big events like the MLB All-Star Week to come to Seattle, I want them here because we’re actually a safe and clean city, not merely pretending to be one.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesSubscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: MLB All-Star weekend couldn’t mask Seattle’s crime surge