KTTH OPINION

Gross: Spokane mayor touts crime reduction results that Seattle should notice 

Oct 6, 2023, 6:43 PM

spokane mayor...

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward announced last month patrols would be ramped up in busy, crime-riddled areas of downtown — particularly at the intersection of Second Avenue and Division Street. She said the problems are thanks, in large part, to policies that Democrats passed in the state legislature.

Now, she’s encouraging Seattle to do the same if it wants to get crime, homelessness and open-air drug use under control.

“Our streets and sidewalks are littered with bad state policy,” Woodward told The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “We have drug use drug possession, we have all kinds of human trafficking, drug trafficking issues, we have property damage, I mean, people are fed up with it.”

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Collaboration between the city and its police is imperative. Spokane police chief Craig Meidl and his staff are leading the emphasis patrols — and they’re seeing results. Over a one-week sample period, city officials reported a 23% drop in overall crime in what had previously been a problem corridor. The data from the city showed the impact of proactive, community policing where officers make more contact with suspects causing problems.

Reminding people that crime is illegal

“We created a plan to provide special emphasis with our police officers, pulling them from some of their areas,” Woodward said. “And resetting the expectation that crime is illegal.”

You wouldn’t think it’s necessary to remind people that crime is illegal. But thanks to legislation passed by Democrats, criminals have felt emboldened, knowing they would not be arrested for drug use or pursued for non-violent felonies.

That made Woodward’s job more difficult.

“You have to attack it, and you have to attack it aggressively because we’re having to play catch up with all of the increased crime that our cities are experiencing on a daily basis because of bad policy out of the state legislature,” Woodward said.

Woodward said the results speak for itself, even as Spokane is facing police staffing shortages plaguing departments across the state, a result of the Black Lives Matter movement demonizing law enforcement.

Woodward is not afraid to say what so many in Western Washington will not. Democrat policy decisions around crime, homelessness and drug use have led to surges in homicides and theft, unsafe encampments, and fatal overdoses. King County alone has already surpassed its fentanyl overdose death total from last year—with three months remaining in 2023 – and is four overdoses away from eclipsing last year’s record high.

“I don’t know what the disconnect is on the west side. But we don’t do things like that on this side. And we take care of our cities,” Woodward told The Jason Rantz Show. “(Chief Meidl) and I the last two years, we have advocated at the legislature to get the tools back that were taken away and those police reform laws that were passed in 2021.”

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There are 27 mayors from across the state who rallied with Woodward to advocate against the Blake Decision, in which the Washington State Supreme Court ruled the state’s felony drug possession statute was unconstitutional. (You can read the court’s decision here.) Woodward and Meidl are clearly aligned with the goal to clean up Spokane and enforce laws.

Woodward now finds herself in a tough re-election bid against a left-wing opponent, Lisa Brown, a former commerce secretary. She favors policies embraced by radicals in Olympia that are responsible for the crisis the mayor is taking on.

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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Gross: Spokane mayor touts crime reduction results that Seattle should notice