SEATTLE --As summer nights get longer, Seattle police are posting extra patrols at the city's busiest neighborhoods for nightlife in an effort to curb crime and violence.
A city can never be too safe, said David Leong, who owns Acquabar in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood. As a long time business owner in Belltown, I'm all for it.
Mayor McGinn and the Seattle Police Department have outlined a new nightlife policing schedule they said would provide 15 to 25 more patrol officers each weekend in designated nightlife zones, including Belltown, Alki Beach, SoDo, the University District, Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square.
They have come to a lot of business owners andmanagers in the city and said we're going to be here there's going to be a lot morepolice presence, James said.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the officers from traffic and SWAT divisions will re-deploy to busier districts like Belltown.
James said he sees as many as four officers per intersection on nights with the emphasis underway.
I have six (non-police) security (guards), said James. The police presence here really helps us because we can just go get one of them, and they're always available for us.
This is the second generation of the Late Night Public Safety Emphasis, which started last summer in response to a string of violent crimes committed in Belltown, including shootings.
Leong said those incidents were not indicative of the neighborhood, though he added, Sometimes you do see some individuals that kind of loiteraround the area, and it can be intimidating.
James said the mixture of alcohol and crowds sometimes creates late-night tensions.
It gets pretty brutal out in the streets, he said. The biggest thing we have to deal with are fights after hours, at 2 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.
They're quick to point out though,it's not just one neighborhood.
As Belltown grows, as Seattle grows, as Capitol Hill grows, as Fremont grows, as Ballard grows, said Leong, with expansion and population, you're going to haveincidents here, incidents there. It'sjust the nature of growth.
An SPD spokesman couldn'tsay if they've made more arrests or stopped more fights when stepping up patrols.
The emphasis is expected to last through September. The Mayor's office called it a recalibration of priorities that puts more uniformed officers on the streets without sacrificing any existing missions orcosting extra taxpayer dollars.
The patrol officers will be taken from other non-uniformed on-duty resources,they said, specifically citing the anti-crime, traffic and SWAT teams.