Central District man: Police should walk the streets to prevent crime

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SEATTLE —

The Seattle Police Department announced plans recently to put more officers on the street, but some of the people living in troubled neighborhoods are skeptical that an increase in so-called “emphasis patrols” will do much good.

The plan is to take officers off routine traffic patrol and have them patrol for bad guys instead.

Some neighbors have a better idea, though.

Tom Samuelsen has owned his home in the Central District for 40 years. It happens to be near the memorial to Justin Ferrari, the father of two who died in his father’s arms after a random shooting last Thursday.

“We’ve been through a lot of shootings here,” Samuelsen said. “Usually, there’s about one a month.”

He said officers would be much more effective if they got out of their cars and walked the neighborhoods.

“Talk to the mailman, talk to the people who work here and live here, and find out what’s goin’ on,” he said.

Deputy police Chief Paul McDonaugh said interacting with neighbors is part of the emphasis patrol plan. But he said it’s also important for officers to be mobile enough to respond quickly to reports of possible violence.

“The idea is to try to get there early enough to prevent something from happening,” he said. “And I think it has proven successful in the past.”

Seattle police said other specialty units, including the SWAT unit, gang squad and crime prevention officers, will join the traffic cops to beef up patrols.

Deputy Chief Nick Metz said the idea is to “flood the area with officers.”