In his State of the City speech today, Mayor Murray said overall crime in Seattle fell 7 percent last year.
“Crime is falling, but not all crime is falling,” the mayor said before a packed City Council chamber.
So now Mayor Murray is doubling his promise to hire 100 more police officers before the end of his term in 2017. Today he pledged to hire 200 additional officers between now and 2019.
For Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, it is welcome news, and she knows just where she wants to put the additional officers to work.
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“We want to enhance visibility in the field, have police officers out there on beats engaging more with the community and being there to respond to calls for service," O'Toole said.
Chief O'Toole plans to direct additional resources to combat the often nonviolent crimes that still make people feel unsafe.
“People concerned about car prowls, car thefts, illegal dumping, the quality of life issues,” said O'Toole.
The mayor warns that public safety comes at a price.
“This increase will not be free and I will soon be sending council a proposal to pay for it.”
Mayor Murray plans to go beyond policing to tackle the roots of crime. He wants to spend $200,000 on a Seattle Urban League program that puts young African-American men on a path to success.
“Really it's like 18 to late 20s because that's the population of men, especially African-American men who are unemployed,” said Pamela Banks,
The additional police officers will cost an estimated $15 million, but the Mayor's Office isn't ready to say exactly where the money will come from.
#Seattle mayor to hire 200 new police officers. Hiring to be gradual.— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) February 16, 2016
Watch #SEASOTC >> https://t.co/xVCm31624j pic.twitter.com/H1fkQlGdCZ
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