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A liberal Seattle Times columnist says he annoyed some of his readers with his relentless focus on the city’s rising crime and other dire consequences after his government cut police funding in 2020 , but he sticks to it because the facts are the facts.
Danny Westneat noted on Saturday that a “share of readers” felt his interest in crime was akin to “poverty porn”, as if he was “exaggerating fears in a blue city to make liberals look bad , or liberal political goals”.
“But violent crime and property crime have really increased markedly – to the highest levels in Seattle in more than two decades. Through July, property crimes are up 25% from two years ago. Violent crime is rising even faster, up 35%. Shootings are up 100%,” he noted.
Westneat contrasted Seattle’s approach with Denver, which increased police spending for its 2022 budget and created a new program called STAR (Support Team Assisted Response) for social workers to respond to crimes without violence or weapons, and has seen a corresponding decrease in these crimes. However, more serious crimes continued apace.
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“Looks like we still need the cops,” he wrote.
Fox News Digital reported last week on the spike in homicides and shootings in Seattle after the city government cut the police budget in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Rising crime has been accompanied by a shortage of police personnel, and the deep blue city – Joe Biden won 75% of the vote in Seattle’s King County in 2020 – has seen voters last year electing a more centrist rather than liberal, pro-police candidate for mayor, city council and city attorney.
Seattle became a subject of national contempt when its 2020 downtown police-free Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) became a hotbed of violence, danger and vandalism.
Seattle’s crime problems thus dominated Westneat’s opinion pieces on issues affecting Seattle and the Puget Sound. Last week, he highlighted the closure of an Amazon Go store in 2020 for security reasons, in a part of downtown Seattle now plagued by violent crime. He argued that this showed a need for both more police and social workers.
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In June, he shed light on Seattle police’s struggles to respond quickly to 911 calls.
“Now, with the ranks of the police depleted and at least part of the Seattle political class hostile to the idea of policing, they seem to be instituting the white flag as part of the system,” a- he writes.
That same month, one of his columns was titled “The Awkwardness of a Liberal City Flooded with Guns,” where he identified as being on the political left and wondered how Seattle could handle the rise of the black market in guns without more font. He added that he was still getting “progressive rejection” for speaking out about the rising crime.
“I realize it’s embarrassing for Seattle and the Liberal project right now that crime here is skyrocketing. But it is. watch out,” he wrote, adding, “How are we liberals going to go after guns if we are so instinctively opposed to sending police after them?
“Seattle’s botched experiment with police funding keeps getting worse,” read a June 4 headline, which spoke of the police’s “downfall” since the 2020 budget cuts and drug reimbursement fiasco. parking tickets that followed. Sexual assault cases, he added, were not being investigated due to a lack of staff.
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“Violent crime is doing more than not slowing down – it is escalating, in rapid and unusual ways that Seattle seems unprepared for, despite renewed interest in combating it,” he wrote on April 6. . In February, he noted the spike in aggravated violence. assaults in the city that demanded a firm response from law enforcement.
Westneat did not respond to a request for comment.
Seattle radio host Jason Rantz wasn’t surprised the columnist was pushed back for his writing.
“Any time anyone – left, right, or center – even lightly criticizes an approach or policy taken by progressive activists in Seattle, it sparks outrage,” he told Fox News Digital. . “Seattle progressives act like bullies, silencing the opposition and making sure they get what they want. That’s why we continue to see such massive failures on crime, homelessness , addiction and cost of living. Residents see and experience Seattle’s deterioration but are terrified to say anything.”
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Emma Colton of Fox News contributed to this report.