On March 4, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell convened local, regional, and federal law enforcement leaders to announce united efforts to ensure public safety and share results of a coordinated and undercover operation at 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street.
Called Operation New Day, the effort was a collaboration between Seattle Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Seattle City Attorney’s Office. Since Jan. 21, 16 felony arrests were made, primarily related to crime at Little Saigon.
Dealers of fentanyl and other drugs, including those carrying illegal firearms, were arrested through undercover police work and targeted investigations carried out over the first several weeks of the year.
Dozens of felonies and more than 100 charges have been filed as part of overall and ongoing Seattle Police operations around 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street and cases linked to that area.
“We are seeing early progress at 12th and Jackson in no small part due to the combined and collaborative efforts of Operation New Day to address crime, drug trafficking, and gun violence,” said Mayor Harrell.
“Restoring a sense of safety downtown and citywide requires urgent action to stabilize areas where crime is prevalent. Sustainable improvement requires resetting norms and implementing a comprehensive, holistic approach that revitalizes Seattle neighborhoods. From the first days of my administration, we have made it clear that it is a new day in Seattle—the status quo cannot stand, the time for action is now, and we accomplish more when we work together.”
Mayor Harrell also shared steps being taken to prevent harm and further tragedy on 3rd Avenue, including dedicated police officers on site supplemented by additional patrols, deployment of an SPD mobile precinct, regional partnerships to enhance tactical efforts, and more. Public safety leaders shared their commitment to continue to work together to prevent gun violence, address crime, and support Seattle communities in need.
“There are too many guns in our communities, and we’ve seen a significant increase in shootings throughout Seattle and a rise in violent crime. This week, I convened a meeting of law enforcement leaders to share strategies on how federal agents and local police can work together to reduce community violence,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “In this undercover operation, we have charged three people federally, who were illegally possessing firearms while dealing fentanyl. The Department of Justice will do everything that we can to help break the cycle of crime—not only with federal prosecution—but also with support for programs that keep our youth out of the criminal justice system.”
“The people of King County—in Little Saigon and every neighborhood—need to feel safe. We will continue to hold people accountable for burglaries, gun crimes, assaults, felony-level drug dealing, and other dangerous behavior when cases are sent to us, and we want the people of King County to be reassured that these urgent partnerships to help neighborhoods will keep moving forward,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.
“Too many small business owners, commuters, and visitors to downtown feel unsafe in the heart of our City, because people who participate in what has become an open-air drug market are not receiving significant or effective intervention of their criminal activity,” said City Attorney Ann Davison. “As I have done with referrals from 12th and Jackson, I will continue to prioritize Seattle Police Department referrals from high-crime areas such as Third Avenue. These arrests and prosecutions will help to disrupt this cycle of addiction, theft, drug sales, and human suffering. We stand ready to partner with the Mayor’s Office, the Seattle Police Department, and community partners to help make downtown Seattle a safe place for residents, businesses, and everyone who visits our city.”
“The many challenges facing our city cannot be solved by one department, working alone. The Seattle Police Department cannot arrest our way out of homelessness, rising crime, and economic inequity,” said Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. “However, by working with our local and federal partners, we all have a much better chance of success, as we’ve seen at 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street.
There is still a lot of work to do. Let’s do it right, and let’s do it together.”