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Seattle police launching public safety emphasis in 7 neighborhoods

The City of Seattle will increase police patrols and address maintenance needs in seven neighborhoods as part of a 'pre-summer emphasis program.'

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief of Police Carmen Best said they are cracking down on crime and addressing community maintenance needs in seven different neighborhoods across the city.

The "pre-summer emphasis program" will include extra police patrols and address issues like tree and landscape maintenance, replacing streetlights, and removing debris from illegal dumping, according to a release.

The seven neighborhoods include Third Avenue near Pike and Pine, SoDo, South Park, Georgetown, Pioneer Square, Fremont, and Ballard.

Durkan said the emphasis has nothing to do with recent, growing criticism of the city’s handling of the homeless crisis.

“We are taking additional immediate steps to not just make communities safer, but to partner with communities on ways we can make neighborhoods cleaner and more vibrant. I will continue to work closely with Chief Best and other members of my cabinet to monitor the impact of these new resources,” Durkan said.

Grant Treft works on Third Avenue near Pike and Pine. He said the area can occasionally be a bit scary.

“We’ve had to shut the window or ask people to come inside. Crime against people in that corridor has increased steadily over the last three years,” Treft said.

Jon Scholes is the President of the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA). He wants the city to explore the DSA’s “Third Avenue Vision,” which includes opening up the pedestrian areas with more light and activity.

“It’s too dark, don’t have great landscaping, lights that don’t work or are damaged,” Scholes said.

Scholes pointed to cities like Portland, Minneapolis, and Vancouver which have made major transit hubs like Third Avenue more accessible and vibrant.

“We think the public space needs to be spectacular,” he said.

The city will form multi-disciplinary teams in the coming weeks to identify and address maintenance needs in the neighborhoods.