City attorney candidate: Property crimes higher in Seattle than any other U.S. city

According to recently released FBI crime statistics, Seattle has very few murders and other violent crime, compared with other cities.

However, property crimes – such as burglary and car prowls – are more prevalent in Seattle than any other U.S. city, city attorney candidate Scott Lindsay says.

Lindsay, former public safety adviser to former Mayor Ed Murray, is now running for Seattle city attorney against two-term incumbent Pete Holmes.

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He blames Seattle's increase in property crime, in part, on the city's growing addiction and homelessness problems.

"Many of those living on our streets are struggling with addiction," Lindsay said Thursday.
"That means, in order to support their habit, in order to buy that hit of heroin at $10, they need to unfortunately steal, break into car windows, go into our stores and shoplift, that's just the reality."

Lindsay claims that under Holmes, Seattle's judicial system has failed to offer enough behavioral interventions after property crime arrests.

“Right now, we’re just watching them cycle through the criminal justice system, back out onto the streets and back in jail. Very frustrating, and very ineffective as a crime-fighting strategy,” Lindsay said.

Despite multiple requests for an on-camera interview to address Lindsay’s claims, Holmes declined KIRO 7’s offers Thursday.

Instead, campaign spokesperson Caitlin McCormick emailed the following statement:

"Pete is not available for an on-camera interview today.

"Once again, Scott is reckless with the statistics he provides and the ill-informed conclusions he draws from them. The linked FBI crime statistics refute his own conclusions: San Francisco's and Portland's property crime rates are similar to Seattle's, and Spokane's, Tacoma's, Salt Lake City's are all quite a bit higher than Seattle's. Scott's deliberate fearmongering is irresponsible.

"Pete is proud of the work he has accomplished in conjunction with other agencies to reduce property crime even as Seattle has gained 100,000 new residents since he took office nearly 8 years ago.

"What Scott's statistics don't tell us is that violent crime is down because we are focusing on reducing the most serious types of crime. While still unacceptably high, property crime in Seattle is driven as much by addiction and homelessness as it is by other factors. A City Attorney alone is not going to solve these myriad issues, but a City Attorney who collaborates with others is going to be more successful than one who issues breathless press statements and points fingers."

The Seattle Police Department released the following statement regarding property crimes.

"The Seattle Police Department continues to focus heavily on property crime in our city with resources from the Major Crimes Task Force, precinct detectives, increased officer pro-activity and emphasis patrols.

"Every two weeks, SPD’s chiefs, captains, commanders, crime analysts, prosecutors and local law enforcement partners meet to discuss ongoing trends and develop strategies as part of SeaStat.

"In 2016, Seattle’s property crime numbers were comparable to other major west coast cities, and lower than in other parts of the country. This year, we have seen our efforts result in a decrease in property crime, bringing us below last year’s levels to date. We continue to work closely with our communities to build on these successes, reduce recidivism and further address crime in our city."

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