Seattle mayor announces plans to prevent crime, increase safety during holidays

Seattle's mayor and police chief want to make sure holiday shoppers feel safe downtown and business owners feel protected.

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best announced plans on Thursday to prevent crime and increase safety during the holidays in neighborhoods across the city.

Extra holiday patrols will be present in nine areas of Seattle beginning November 30 and continuing through December.

The following areas will see additional patrols: Ballard, Downtown retail core between 3rd and 6th Avenues between Olive and Union, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Columbia City, University Village, University District, Westwood Village/Roxhill Park and West Seattle Junction/California Ave SW.

Content Continues Below

“We have a duty to make our neighborhoods and communities safer – and we will do all we can to make sure residents and visitors feel safe as they enjoy all that Seattle has to offer during the holiday season," Durkan said.

Retail theft In areas such as Downtown Seattle and Pioneer Square rose from 169 reports three years ago to 209 last year, and it’s estimated that only 5 percent of such crimes are reported.

Durkan said the Seattle Police Department will also deploy specific patrols on Black Friday and New Year's Eve.

One business owner said the crime was so bad that he considered closing up shop.

"I was on the brink. I actually contacted a company that does liquidation, and I told them, 'I just can't take this anymore,’" said Brian Nordwall with Seattle E-Bikes.

In addition to crimes such as shoplifting, the patrols will also focus on neighborhood safety for crimes such as car prowls.

In April, Durkan and Best announced programs to improve public safety in seven neighborhoods. The mayor says she wants to continue those programs in 2020 using $847,000 of her proposed budget for next year.