Seattle mayor, law enforcement announce efforts to address crime downtown

In response to recent centralized crime in Seattle, particularly at notorious problem spot Third Avenue and Pine/Pike Street, Seattle mayor Bruce Harrell met with local, regional and federal law enforcement leaders to discuss efforts underway to address crime and public safety. 

In 2022, there have been several shootings in the area of Third Avenue and Pine/Pike Street. In the last week, two of the shootings were fatal and happened days apart. 

During a press briefing on Friday, Harrell announced that there would be a mobile SPD precinct at 3rd Avenue/Pine Street, as well as six dedicated officers-- at minimum-- to that location with additional patrol support from SPD and King County Sheriff's Office. 

Harrell also said investigative operations on firearm possessions in that area will continue. 

"Drug trafficking and gun violence are directly linked and responsible for causing the most harm in our community.  Our strategic and targeted enforcement is designed to remove those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic and associated violence," said Frank A. Tarentino,  Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division.  "We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to reduce drug-related violence and target the criminal drug networks who are supplying the lethal fentanyl-laced pills to the most vulnerable on the streets of Seattle." 

"The violence and the shootings are far more dispersed than it used to be. Nearly everyone that these guys on the streets encounter has a gun. Nearly all of them. That is new, that is a change," said Nick Brown, U.S. Attorney Western District of Washington.

While Harrell said the city would be cracking down on arrests, he also stressed that the city would be working with community-based organizations to get people in that area the help they may need. 

Seattle police increasing patrols on 3rd Avenue in Downtown after recent shootings

The Seattle Police Department is increasing their patrols on Third Avenue in Downtown in response to the recent violent crimes.

Harrell also touted the results of an undercover operation called Operation New Day at 12th Avenue S. and S. Jackson Street in the Chinatown-International District. 

Under the operation, Seattle police have made 16 felony arrests primarily related to crime at Little Saigon since Jan. 21. Dealers of fentanyl and other drugs, including those carrying illegal firearms, were arrested through undercover police work and targeted investigations carried out over the first several weeks of the year.

Dozens of felonies and more than 100 charges have been filed as part of overall and ongoing Seattle Police operations around 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street and cases linked to that area, the mayor's office said. 

"Too many small business owners, commuters, and visitors to downtown feel unsafe in the heart of our City, because people who participate in what has become an open-air drug market are not receiving significant or effective intervention of their criminal activity," said City Attorney Ann Davison. "As I have done with referrals from 12th and Jackson, I will continue to prioritize Seattle Police Department referrals from high-crime areas such as Third Avenue. These arrests and prosecutions will help to disrupt this cycle of addiction, theft, drug sales, and human suffering. We stand ready to partner with the Mayor’s Office, the Seattle Police Department, and community partners to help make downtown Seattle a safe place for residents, businesses, and everyone who visits our city." 

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