Residents, business owners in north Seattle alarmed over increase in violent crime there

SEATTLE -- People living and working in north Seattle, especially along Aurora Avenue, are fed up with crime.

New Seattle police numbers show robberies and assaults are on the rise.

Crime is nothing new on Aurora Avenue but the recent spike in violent crime has people on edge.

“This year it’s out of control,” Faye Garneau said.

Garneau, executive director of Aurora Avenue Merchant Association, is keeping a close watch on the latest police statistics that show robberies are up by more than 50% this year compared with last year. Assaults are up, too.

“We are sadly lacking officers; visible presence in the street is a deterrent to crime,  we know that,” Garneau said.

Garneau wrote a letter to Mayor Ed Murray complaining the city is using most of its resources to clean up downtown Seattle to the detriment of the north precinct.

“The north end has 40% of the population in the city. We don’t like it when we are neglected,” Garneau said.

“We need to listen to the community, what they have to say to us,” police Capt. Sean O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell, captain of the Seattle Police Department's North Precinct, stopped by to speak with Garneau in hopes of addressing concerns.

He told us north Seattle is far from neglected but he admits the spike in robberies is concerning.

They are focusing on the hotspots where store robberies and shoplifting is a problem.
They include University Way, NE Northgate Way and 125th and Lake City Way NE.

“What we have done is brought more resources into the North Precinct where we have identified the issues of where it’s occurring,” O’Donnell said.

Garneau hopes it makes a difference because, she says, violent crime in her neighborhood has never been this bad.

“We are monitoring the street constantly to make sure things are under control,” Garneau said.

Violent crimes in north Seattle may be up, but property crime is down by 14% this year compared with last year.