Parents for a Better Downtown Seattle meet with Virginia Gleason of the Seattle Police Department
In May, PBDS met with Virginia Gleason, Chief Strategic Advisor for the Seattle Police Department to discuss the 9 ½ Blocks Strategy. We spent an hour learning more about the work behind the dramatic change in the area between Pike Place Market and Westlake Park.
Highlights of what we learned:
The Police are changing the physical environment in crime heavy areas. Alleys are closed. Bus stops have been moved.
Drug dealers are being sentenced to jail. The worst offenders are being sent to federal prison.
Drug users are going into the LEAD program to get help with addiction and mental illness.
An operations base has been set up on Second Ave., between Pike and Pine streets.
Prostitutes are being treated as victims, not perpetrators.
Many of our members who live in Pioneer Square and Belltown (outside of the 9 ½ Blocks) were concerned about crime displacement. According to Virginia police are carefully tracking this issue.
What you can do to help:
Support the Police Department by sending letters to the city council and mayor’s office. PBDS will be sending a formal support letter later this month.
Call 911 when you witness a crime. The police department is using tracking software to establish patterns of criminal activity.
So far the improvements have been impressive. Families living in and visiting the city have a safe and fun summer to look forward to!