The Seattle City Council's cuts to the police budget look idiotic in the face of spiking gun violence.
With a disturbingly big spike in gun violence this year, Seattle is beginning to feel like old Dodge City before Wyatt Earp showed up.
Tuesday afternoon, a woman was shot during a robbery in the Green Lake neighborhood. That was a day that began in the wee hours when one man shot another armed man who was trying to rob him on Capitol Hill and ended in the evening with another person seriously wounded by a gunshot in Pioneer Square.
In just the prior five days, there were shootings outside of a nightclub, seven people suffered gunshot wounds in various parts of town and two people were found dead from gunshots in Lake City. So far in 2021, 135 people have been killed or wounded in 104 shootings, according to Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. That is 20 more than last year.
Many of the shootings are attributable to street gangs, some arise out of homeless encampments and a major share of the incidents involve drug-related activities.
“We know where the shootings are most likely to take place, and we know it’s a relatively small number of people who are willing to pull a gun and use it,” Diaz said in a news conference on Tuesday. “We know the locations that support the behaviors that lead to shootings. And if the department was not in the midst of a staffing crisis, we would have highly visible officers in the neighborhoods suffering this violence.”
Oh, yeah, that staffing crisis. While more guns have been blazing, the city has seen 300 police officers quit their jobs in the last 18 months. A big share of those departures are certainly related to the drastic cuts in the police budget imposed by the city council majority — reductions that led to the resignation of Seattle’s first Black, female chief, Carmen Best.
All of this is something to keep in mind in municipal elections this year since some of the geniuses who supported those cuts are on the ballot, including the council president, M. Lorena González, who is running for mayor; Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who is seeking reelection; and activist Nikkita Oliver, who is hoping to join the council.
As the city seeks a way to stop the rise in violence and crime, it seems like a terrible idea to hand that task to people who thought getting rid of cops was a clever plan.
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