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Rantz: Seattle crime solution is more about environment, less about victims

Getting rid of dumpsters won't stop Seattle crime but it might make extreme environmentalists happy. (KIRO Radio)

Activists in Capitol Hill are trying to argue that the solution to crime in the neighborhood is smaller trash dumpsters. But let’s be serious, this is more about environmentalism, and less about safety.

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The City of Seattle has removed about 100 of the big, metal trash bins from the public right-of-way in Capitol Hill. Besides being ugly, the claim is that dumpsters pose a public safety risk because people can hide behind them and pop out to hurt people.

Come on. That’s not really happening.

But, fine, let’s assume that it really is. What’s the city’s solution? To replace the dumpsters with industrial strength plastic bags that actually end up costing businesses more than the dumpsters would when you factor in the alternative of recycling. The funny thing is this will just lead to mounds of trash in place of the dumpsters, just like you see in New York City. Then, won’t you have a mountain of trash to hide behind? You’ve got the exact same problem.

The people who actually live and work on Capitol Hill, like David Meinert, who owns the Comet Tavern and Lost Lake Café owner, are like, “eh.” Meinert pointed out the irony of it all in a Facebook post:

Plastic to go bags are banned from restaurants for environmental reasons (a good thing) but now the City wants restaurants to use thick plastic garbage bags instead of dumpsters, which will get picked up 3 times as often, meaning MORE plastic bags and 3x as many garbage truck trips adding to traffic and exhaust problems. Irony?

Businesses are not allowed to have dumpsters because of public safety concerns. Supposedly people living on the streets can hide between them and attack passer bys. But the new homeless encampment proposal gives them dumpsters. I guess the ones we can’t use. Irony?

I don’t think this is just a grasping-at-straws idea. I think this is a pretend solution that has nothing to do with crime. I think this has to do with the environmental aspect because apparently Seattle Public Utilities is going to push the idea that if you just recycled, it would be so much cheaper and you wouldn’t have to deal with these bags. This is about recycling, even if, as Meinert points out, more garbage trips means worse environmental implications. This wouldn’t be the first push to force even more recycling. Last year, when the City of Seattle was trying to get trash monitors to go through individual trash cans to make sure that they are all recycling. That idea was ruled unconstitutional.

The fact of the matter is that the city doesn’t think Seattle residents are thinking as green as they should. And now, hiding behind this lame idea to fight crime, the City is pushing an environmental policy.

And in case you’re wondering how Seattle Mayor Ed Murray feels about it, my co-host Jason Burns has a scary-good impression of his next press conference. Take a listen:

 

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