VIDEO: One month in, Mayor Harrell says city is ‘working feverishly’ to stop crime from continuing to increase

One month after taking office, Mayor Bruce Harrell, his deputy mayors, and public-safety chiefs went before the media at midmorning today to promise action on violent crime that’s at its “highest level in 24 years.” You can watch the video above. For starters, Mayor Harrell said, he’s told Police Chief Adrian Diaz to “focus on those places where crime is concentrated, and on the relatively few individuals causing the most harm.” (He wouldn’t say exactly where “those places” are, at one point suggesting that locations could be deduced if you “read the blogs.”) He also acknowledged “inherit(ing) a depleted and demoralized police force,” now down 350 officers, and promised the remaining police he would support them providing they “perform (their) duties with honor and excellence.”

“We need more police,” declared Chief Diaz, also identifying gun violence as a particular problem. The mayor’s list of statistics included a 40 percent increase in shootings, with or without injuries. Chief Diaz said officers recovered 3,200+ shell casings recovered last year, in 600+ incidents.

That category of crime is affecting how firefighters do their work too, said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. His department responded to more than 400 “scenes of violence” (weapon-involved injuries, not only guns) calls last year, up a third from 2020. They’ve had to change their policy on weapons incidents – now wearing “ballistic vests and helmets,” and staging 4 blocks away until assured the scene is secure. He also talked about the increase in SFD responses to encampments – this month averaging five fire responses and 33 medical responses a day. That’s in the context of an increased number of all service calls – 94,000+ last year, up from 80,000+ in 2020.

Public safety isn’t just about SPD and SFD, cautioned Senior Deputy Mayor Monisha Harrell, promising a “holistic” approach. She was followed by Tiffany Washington, Deputy Mayor for homelessness/housing issues, who also made the point that “the issues of homelessness and public safety are not one and the same.”

So what exactly are they doing? “We are building systems right now,” said Mayor Harrell, who said he and his team are working “feverishly” toward solutions. He promised more specifics to come. West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, issued a statement of support afterward; you can see it here. In it, she also spotlights some of the public-safety alternatives the city is funding, which she detailed to the District 1 Community Network this week, as reported here.

65 Replies to "VIDEO: One month in, Mayor Harrell says city is 'working feverishly' to stop crime from continuing to increase"

  • Buttercup February 4, 2022 (4:35 pm)

    Could someone please explain to me what a “holistic approach “ is that will help at the safety issues in our city? 

    • Frog February 4, 2022 (9:25 pm)

      A holistic approach means there will be many reasons, and no one really to blame, when none of it works.

    • The King February 4, 2022 (9:46 pm)

      I believe their idea of a holistic approach is a warm, fuzzy, kinder gentler way to approach the modern day criminal dealings. I will be interested to see how this works as the criminals in a stolen truck ram into a local business with a stolen truck to yard an atm machine out of the building with chains. It would be a high rated comedy-drama reality tv series. 

  • Seattlite February 4, 2022 (4:49 pm)

    Has the new mayor and city council created and passed new policies that support law enforcement, law and order?  Until new policies are passed, Seattle will remain lawless.

    • nwpolitico February 4, 2022 (6:23 pm)

      The most frustrating thing is that most of these problems are solvable with the application of existing laws. This appears to have been a wasted transition period, and now first month, from an administration that promised “strong and decisive leadership.”

  • Finally February 4, 2022 (5:02 pm)

    I am so incredibly glad that someone is finally not only doing something but acknowledging that there’s a serious

    I’m referring to the mayor btw.

  • Josh in Puget Ridge February 4, 2022 (6:06 pm)

    Police don’t prevent crime, they respond to it. Services prevent crime. We absolutely do not need more officers, we need more services. And I know some of my fellow West Seattleites are about to jump on with the tired old “If a criminal attacks your wife, you’ll wish there was a cop…” stuff, but the reality is that that hypothetical cop wouldn’t have stopped the hypothetical attack. They’d have shown up to take notes afterwards. We need to attack the disease, not the symptoms.  Desperate people  made to feel hopeless in a repressive, unsupportive, capitalist system will turn to crime. Fix the system and the crime won’t be necessary. 

    • M February 4, 2022 (6:27 pm)

      We need police and services. If you do your homework, you’ll find that police can indeed prevent crime.

      • Sick and tired February 4, 2022 (10:58 pm)

        Investigate, arrest, prosecute and incarcerated Make crime illegal and hold people accountable 

    • Finally February 4, 2022 (6:50 pm)

      Not so Josh, not at all.  I have a distant cousin here in Seattle who is  a catalytic converter thief.   He and his crew have been doing it full time for years.  Has a very nice house and car.   So stop with the “these poor criminals speech”.  A ton of criminals are just criminals.  They do it, especially here,  because there’s almost no way to get caught.  It’s easy and very very very profitable.And yes I’ve done all I can to get him busted.Police catch criminals, not just respond to things. What you say is getting quite old. Some of these people just need the occasional consequence for their actions. 

      • Fern February 5, 2022 (8:32 am)

        If you know this then you should do the world a favor by turning in this person. Distant relative or not. 

        • Finally February 6, 2022 (6:20 pm)

          As I very clearly stated in my comment. That has already been done, multiple times. 

    • audifans February 4, 2022 (7:03 pm)

      “If a criminal attacks your wife, you’ll wish there was a cop”.. yes you will wish there was a cop.  Fixing the system (your words) will not stop violent creeps from attacking people. Often they resort to violence because they are just jerks who want to beat up on people or rape women or engage in  domestic violence. It’s not necessarily ‘capitalism’ that gets unhinged people to run off the rails (although capitalism seems to be a popular whipping boy in these commentaries.) It’s up to law enforcement to go after these cretins and nail them and put them away so they don’t continue to inflict violence on the population. And, if the police can move fast enough, they may actually show up at your house and interrupt a rape or assault in progress against your family. (I won’t shed a tear if they have to put a bullet in them if they have a knife to your wife’s neck.) “Fixing the economic system” isn’t going to stop the sex offenders from trying to rape and molest women

    • Roms February 4, 2022 (8:06 pm)

      There’s something called “deterrence.” While services are important, police and justice (courts, sentences, etc ) do act as deterrents when working effectively.

      • Melissa February 5, 2022 (10:57 am)


    • Question Authority February 4, 2022 (8:21 pm)

      Oh please, even in Northern Scandinavia as progressive as it is crime and murder still exist so keep searching for that Unicorn your missing.

    • B February 4, 2022 (8:27 pm)

      Knowing that there are consequences to actions is also what prevents crime, and that’s where the police come in. If people knew they could get away with murder, guess what, they’ll murder. You act like you’ve never heard of “investigation” or “detectives”. We absolutely do need more officers, given how many we’ve lost, and how many a city of this size need. What we need less of is criminal apologists and people willing to excuse the mess.  

      • multifaceted approach February 5, 2022 (8:44 am)

        I wonder if that’s true. I don’t believe that many more people would go around murdering if there weren’t the existing consequences and police deterrence. Think there are people who would committ such crimes against others, and most who wouldn’t, regardless.

        Of course police are important in helping preventing crimes when possible, coming to aid and help people, and recovering situations and in helping bring justice after crimes have been committed.

        The voices that I hear here speaking up that you seem to be labeling ‘criminal apologist’s’ and ‘people willing to excuse the mess’ aren’t doing that at all imo. They seem to be advocating for ideas for CHANGE to help PREVENT and REDUCE crime, rather than accepting all of the crime that keeps happening and acting like there aren’t any reasons for any of it and we are helpless to solve any of it.

        Sometimes it can be hard to see another perspective clearly, when you’re looking through such thick glass of your own perspective.

        Sometimes the disagreement and contention of these conversations calls to mind the story of The Zax by Dr. Seuss, two who stand in each other’s path, blocking one another, and neither will budge to let the other pass… eventually all this change happens all around them, while they just stand there arguing.

    • Lauren February 5, 2022 (7:15 am)

      100%. Defund the police, invest in our communities.

      • Walker February 6, 2022 (9:55 am)

        Happy, well-off people still commit crimes. My drug dealing neighbors are such people. What community investment would you propose to get them to stop dealing drugs?

        • multifaceted approach February 6, 2022 (1:46 pm)

          Perhaps by doing more to address the needs of their would be customers, reduce the demand. 

          Also, we might examine why people come into drug dealing, are there ways to help mitigate this, and offer incentives and programs to help rehabilitate these folks to more socially positive careers?

          I may not have the answers personally, but have hope that collectively through discussion and with dedicated effort, we can find answers and solutions.

  • TJ February 4, 2022 (6:28 pm)

    That is just lazy logic Josh. If there any crimes of desperation going on, it’s because of drug use. No sympathy from me or most people on that. The choices you make dictate the life you lead. Victims demand justice, and jail fills that. Unless you don’t know, there is tons of money being spent on services here. And blaming capitalism is just phony man. Lots of socialist countries have rampant crime way worse than here. Read up on Venezuela. Others that don’t are because they have police states that are miles beyond what you lament here. 

    • multifaceted approach February 5, 2022 (6:13 pm)

      There are things that come before the bad choices some people make, that maybe they didn’t have a choice about, that contributed to their life situation being worse than yours. Not every crime of desperation involves drugs but probably many do. And although we can be not accepting of criminal behavior, we can still be compassionate and understanding, that people addicted to drugs are suffering, many were suffering before their addiction, and need help. If we can try to help people earlier on on their suffering, we might be able to prevent some crime.

  • West Seattle guy February 4, 2022 (6:56 pm)

     Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, issued a statement of support afterward, LOL thats rich considering shes spent the last few years actively tryting to defund the police. Glad to see Seattle at least voted in a moderate as mayor, now lets get these crazies out of the city council. 

    • Finally February 4, 2022 (10:00 pm)

      Exactly.  I cannot wait for her to be voted out.  You cannot make this level of hypocrisy up. Unreal. 

  • CarDriver February 4, 2022 (6:56 pm)

    Josh in P R. So, how do you deliver “services”??? How many people would you hire??? Will they be driving around the city like police or just be in an office? Will they be able to take people off the street and forced into “services “or do you want them to tell someone committing a crime-or a victim of a crime or in crisis “here’s my card call if you want help” You forget to tell us that in reality there AREN’T near enough people wanting this kind of work. I absolutely agree with you and others that the system is BROKEN. My problem is that all of you saying more police isn’t the answer haven’t convinced me you actually have a solution that isn’t more than talk.

  • Charles Burlingame February 4, 2022 (7:25 pm)

    It’s absolutely sure to work. I mean, it’s failed when the Royer, Rice, Schell, Nickels, McGinn, Murray, and Durkan administrations tried it, but it’s sure to work now.

  • WSRes February 4, 2022 (7:26 pm)

    Make crime illegal again. 

    • flimflam February 5, 2022 (7:26 am)

      agree. it sounds so simple because it is…

    • Fern February 5, 2022 (8:36 am)

      Cute slogan. Like you’d find on a bumper sticker. Easier to say rather than taking time and learning about complex contributing factors to crime at this moment in history. Maybe if you keep posting it enough it will mean something. 

  • Cranky February 4, 2022 (7:35 pm)

    Police try their best to thwart crime and if they are quick enough to arrive at your house, they may stop that person from attacking or raping your wife.  There is more than ‘note taking’ happening with police responses and quite often they can interrupt an assault, a rape or an attempted murder. ‘Economic fixing’ won’t really deal with murderers or sexual assault situations.

  • WSRES February 4, 2022 (8:33 pm)

    Make crime illegal again. Please. 

    • rocket February 5, 2022 (5:47 am)

      Why are you repeating a nonsensical trumpist phrase over and over again?  

    • Fern February 5, 2022 (8:38 am)

      Ok. I checked and crime still is illegal. Now what? Yours is such a troll, propaganda-esque comment it should stop being approved. I’ve seen it enough. 

  • Josh in Puget Ridge February 4, 2022 (8:50 pm)

    Why, then, does the industrialized country with with most (and most militarized) police have the highest crime rate? Are you suggesting that Americans are more likely to be criminals than people from other countries? Interesting assertion you’re making. Quite unpatriotic, if I may say so.

    • anonyme February 5, 2022 (6:37 am)

      It is entirely possible that more Americans engage in criminal activity than in other countries.  For one thing, no other country has the gun culture that we do.  We also have a society that values material gains and the accumulation of stuff more than any other country in the world.  And yes, capitalism is partly to blame for that.  It’s not an easy fix, but suspending the rule of law is the worst possible way to approach the problem.

    • anonyme February 6, 2022 (3:43 pm)

      Yes, it is entirely possible (likely, really) that more Americans engage in criminal activity than in other countries.  For one thing, no other country has the gun culture that we do.  We also have a society that values material gains and the accumulation of stuff more than any other country in the world.  And yes, capitalism is partly to blame for that.  It’s not an easy fix, but suspending the rule of law is the worst possible way to approach the problem.

  • Balderdash February 4, 2022 (9:11 pm)

    Let’s not get distracted about ‘patriotism’ or assertions about  capitalism.  Police actually can show up and interrupt bad situations that are in progress if alerted. The ‘response’ you mention is to bring force  if necessary to a situation that has deteriorated to the point of victims being injured or worse.  Those individuals that love violence can be countered and collared and put in jail.   More officers that can respond quickly are needed to stop violence in progress.  If you want more services, fine. But services are not really going to address someone hell bent on putting a knife in you or beating on you just because they feel like being a bully. More faster response to a 911 call for these situations is  a good thing. 

  • Josh in Puget Ridge February 4, 2022 (10:30 pm)

    I guess I need to stop being surprised by how center-right West Seattle’s “liberals” are.

    • rocket February 5, 2022 (5:49 am)

      Yeah, the crowd on this message is clearly dominated by the over 55 and not very well read and strangely  not well lived set.

      • anonyme February 6, 2022 (3:52 pm)

        It’s also interesting how the under-55 set – so very, very well-read, woke, aware, and dedicated to social justice, also so quickly reverts to indiscriminate ageism –  ironically in the form of a single, grammatically challenged sentence.

    • anonyme February 5, 2022 (6:41 am)

      Only in comparison to the contingent of uber, uber far-left extremists here.  We’ve become so polarized that any form of moderation is regarded as suspect.

    • wscommuter February 5, 2022 (9:20 am)

      I’m sure you are correct.  Which is to say, from your obviously far-left perspective, anyone not agreeing with you is “center-right” or worse.  And that’s probably about right … the far left is a statistically small (albeit overly-loud) segment of the political demographic.  Most folks, myself among them, aren’t that far-left.  So you can sneer at us with comments like this one … your right to do so.  But you’re on a pretty small island.  The recent election pretty much proves my point.  Most of us want  compassionate policies towards folks who are suffering … but we’re also not willing to continue with the downward spiral of crime and civic destruction we all see occurring around us.  So we will vote for leaders who will hire more police, seek enforcement of laws and so on.  Just how things are going to work, is my guess.  

  • Brian February 4, 2022 (11:31 pm)

    Josh is right. 

    • they February 5, 2022 (8:18 am)

      Josh is right…but it’s the people that need to fix the system. Politicians would never do anything that would put them out of business…

    • Amy February 5, 2022 (8:43 am)


  • Lauren February 5, 2022 (7:18 am)

    For anyone interested in learning more about what Josh is referencing, “The End of Policing” is a very well researched and written book.

    • ltfd February 5, 2022 (8:07 pm)

      It sounds similar to another, “The Beginning of Crime”.

  • Over Again February 5, 2022 (7:43 am)

    I’m on the services side. High security inpatient mental health, high security drug treatment beds, and jail sentences designed to protect public safety are all needed desperately. I bet the police force is demoralized because they keep arresting the same strung out, mentally ill, violent criminals over and over.  That’s not a lack of policing problem.

  • Mellow Kitty February 5, 2022 (8:32 am)

    Ah yes, the mayor who ran on the platform of, “I already have plans ready to put in place,” has to waste time with committees to work out systems and find solutions. Was that the plan? Committees and studies? Typical. 

  • Audifans February 5, 2022 (8:56 am)

    “Note taking”…..  It’s more than just showing up.  Details as to identifying marks, such as tattoos, height, behavior and description may not help immediately, but may stop a similar incident. Repeat offenders seem to be the rage these days, so the police may be able to find this person and stop them from making this a career of violence.  Even broadcasting a tattoo may alert someone that knows that person to come forward. 

  • Tar N Feather February 5, 2022 (9:02 am)

    Lol @ those saying the crime rates aren’t going up.  I swear these people trying to constantly devolve Seattle are foreign agents. 

  • multifaceted approach February 5, 2022 (10:14 am)

    Btw, why are there so many hypothetical ‘wives’ under threat of being attacked by criminals per commenters? Yikes.

    I’d like to speak up for all the ‘husbands’ out there. Pretty sure we don’t want criminals attacking them, either.

  • Balderdash February 5, 2022 (11:37 am)

    heh.. the wives thing came up with Josh saying if your wife was attacked, the police would not do anything except come later and take notes.  The counter argument (including husbands) is that if the police showed up quickly enough they could intervene in the attack.  Or perhaps track down the suspect in the general area (since often, attackers tend to stay somewhat in their own part of town)As to the ’55 and over crowd, perhaps they won’t hold Rocket et al’s youthful inexperience against them.

  • Auntie February 6, 2022 (11:11 am)

    I used to take the bus downtown frequently. Now that Third Avenue is a zombie-apocalypse wasteland, I do not. There is no bus stop for the 120 anywhere downtown that I feel safe. I will resume my patronage of downtown restaurants and businesses when Third Avenue is safe once again.

  • they February 6, 2022 (12:52 pm)

    We are so lucky, it’s easy to see what works and what doesn’t work. As soon as we defund the argument, we will find ourselves back on the main road. Keep the argument just defund it… 

  • kowabonga February 6, 2022 (1:45 pm)

    I wonder how many services Gary Ridgeway was lacking in while he was killing 50 women?…………. It’s a good thing we funded detectives to track this jerk, but some of you figure it’s all about  cutting police back in every aspect.  Tourists and shop owners feel you have made a terrible mistake given the current wave of lawlessness. And yes, 3rd avenue has devolved into hell.

    • multifaceted approach February 6, 2022 (4:09 pm)

      Referring to such an extreme example of crime to argue seems a bit like fear mongering, but will try to offer something constructive in response.

      Seem to recall hearing that some of his victims were prostitutes, or women in vulnerable situations. Perhaps for one thing, these women could have had better help and resources available, possibly reducing their risk of being targeted by a murdering psychopath. Crime prevention, victim prevention, areas that can be focused on.

      • multifaceted approach February 6, 2022 (4:18 pm)

        Also, sorry to anyone with anxiety who may have been triggered by these comments. I would think there are people, and especially some women, former victims, survivors etc, with sensitivities to this subject.

    • multifaceted approach February 7, 2022 (1:07 pm)

      Didn’t take your question in very thoughtfully the other day due to the tone, but after reflecting, I’m wondering, what if your question was asked more seriously?

      I wonder, what services or otherwise help, if any, may have prevented that man from murdering 50 women?

  • kowabonga February 7, 2022 (9:22 am)

    The mere mention of Ridgway’s name isn’t fear mongering. Real fear for his victims would be him getting out on parole. Crime prevention is taking people like him off the streets and goes for any violent offender that shows they can’t be allowed in society. He would have chosen someone else who looked vulnerable if the prostitutes weren’t readily available, and did.

    • multifaceted approach February 7, 2022 (2:45 pm)

      It wasn’t just the mentioning of his name, but your referring to an extreme example of crime, in this conversation.

      Why do you feel it’s necessary to say that violent criminals be taken off the street? Has anyone here suggested that they shouldn’t be? I’m confused, thought this was a given that everyone, including defund folks, would agree with.

  • kowabonga February 8, 2022 (9:26 am)

    There is no ¨tone¨ other than whatever you are reading into this and projecting. Murder happens every day around here and assaults as well. I wouldn’t call them ¨extreme examples¨, except the sheer number for Ridgway.  The fellow with the bat in Belltown. That´s pretty extreme since he did it right out in the open. Give him services. Care of the King County Jail.  At any rate, this is getting boring. I only wish the crime rate wasn’t so boring.  Oh, and the robbery at the canna shop, I guess they needed some services as well to prevent that. one.

  • Audifans February 8, 2022 (2:28 pm)

    Previous admin left behind a backlog of 5000 cases.  I support the new admin in taking care of these issues. (and ridiculous that previous atty couldn’t get things moving, or didn’t want to)

Sorry, comment time is over.