Holiday shoppers in Seattle will see increased police presence at major retail locations

SEATTLE-- As holiday shoppers prepared for the busy season, customers in Seattle were told they would see more police out and about moving forward.

On Thursday, Seattle’s mayor and police chief announced the city's plan for enhanced holiday patrols.

Starting on November 30, extra officers will be assigned to patrol nine major retail locations during the holidays. Those neighborhoods were Ballard Business District, Downtown Retail Core, Capitol Hill, Fremont Business District, Columbia City, University Village Business District, University Business District, Westwood Village/Roxhill Park and the West Seattle Junctions.

“It’s nice to see a bigger police presence,” said John Livengood, who worked and shopped in downtown Seattle. "There’s a lot of people on the streets sometimes and always helps to have a little bit more reinforcements around."

Chief Carmen Best said they would increase police presence 20% more than last year’s emphasis patrols to crack down on repeat shoplifters and criminals.

“We are absolutely going to make sure that we’re working with the businesses we’re deploying resources and trying to make sure we make a difference in this area as well,” said Best.

“She’s done a number of programs just in the last few weeks to really focus in on some of those repeat shoplifting locations so that we can show there will be a response. We will enforce the law and we will make sure that we are trying to make Seattle as livable as possible and is a great place to do business to come and enjoy,” said Durkan.

Brian Nordwall, the owner of Seattle E-Bike, said downtown Seattle can't have enough officers on patrol as far as he was concerned. Nordwall’s store has been located at 220 S. Jackson Street in downtown Seattle’s Pioneer Square for two years. Nordwall said during that time, three windows were broken, as well as two break-ins through the store’s front door.

“It’s felt like we’re kind of under assault and there’s been a mini crime wave,” said Nordwall. “Especially female customers who aren’t always comfortable coming here ask for an escort or whatever. And that’s probably a bigger problem during the holiday season because now it gets dark.”

Nordwall said the crime wave started to slow after a year-long homeless encampment in Pioneer Square was cleared in August. He said he hoped crime would continue declining in the area as holiday shopping was expected to increase.

“Presence counts a lot too. So, I would welcome 20%, 40%, 200%. Bring ‘em on,” said Nordwall.

Nordwall’s store and exterior were equipped with surveillance cameras. To prevent future break-ins and vandalism, Nordwall installed metal grates on the front doors. He also installed a more advanced alarm system than his previous one.

“When the alarm goes off it’s really loud in here and also there’s one mounted on the outside of the building that hopefully would make them a little more nervous,” said Nordwall.

Seattle Police said officers would be out on foot, bicycle unit, and driving around in patrol cars. They explained if it came down to it, they would write tickets and make arrests.