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Friday, January 28, 2022

Community Addresses Violence At Special Council Committee Meeting

Lt. Steve Strand of SPD's South Precinct, left, and Interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey, right, respond to questions from citizens about safety issues in South Seattle. Staff Photo/Chris B. Bennett.
Lt. Steve Strand of SPD’s South Precinct, left, and Interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey, right, respond to questions from citizens about safety issues in South Seattle. Staff Photo/Chris B. Bennett.

Last Thursday, many South Seattle residents packed into the Southeast Senior Center to attend a special Seattle City Council committee meeting to address the increased in violence that has taken place in the area over the last few weeks.

The meeting was organized by Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell in response to the recent shooting deaths that have taken place in Central and Southeast Seattle.

During the public comment period, many residents expressed their concerns about the violence and what the Seattle Police Department was doing to address the problem. “It’s not ok to have a murder next to me at a bus stop,” expressed one woman to the panel.

 Interim Seattle Police Chief Harry Bailey, who was part of the panel, expressed his concern for what is happening, but also noted that the police need the assistance of the community in order to solve some of the cases.

“We’ve had five killings in the Central area and Southeast Seattle and all of them have been somewhat related,” said Bailey. “We can do all we can do, but without the help of the community none of this is possible.”

Bailey noted that the response time of officers in relation to these incidents has been very fast. In one instance, officers arrived quick enough to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived. However, despite the shootings taking place in areas with a number of potential witnesses, no one has come forward with much, if any, information.

“It’s amazing to me that we had two young people gunned down in our city and people witnessed it, and no one is willing to come forward,” said Bailey.

SPD has plans to have an increased presence in an attempt to reduce the number of incidents, but admit that it is difficult to track down good leads because the assailants are not operating as part of a large group or gang.

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