Dear Honorable Mayor Bruce Harrell,
The Chinatown-ID and areas near it have been a public safety hotspot for several years where it is getting worse, and quickly. This is due to several factors, including proximity of several homeless encampments around this neighborhood, the siting of a Navigation Center in Little Saigon, establishment and growth of open-air drug market on 12th and Jackson, drug/fentanyl use throughout the neighborhood, vandalism to various businesses, and the recent Wing Luke Museum property damage as a result of anti-Asian hate crimes.
We are concerned about this current state of safety and security in the CID. It has created a public safety/health crisis, as well as economic instability largely due to a long history of neglect and underinvestment by the city and other governmental entities in this mostly immigrant, low-income residential and business neighborhood. Even though there have been private investments put into historic and new development in this neighborhood, the reversal of, or lack of basic government attention and services, has created a difficult situation for businesses to survive, development projects for needed housing to move forward, and retail spaces remain vacant.
This community and all of us working to support and develop this neighborhood into a safe, vibrant, and economically viable community are weary of this continued unsafe, unhealthy, and neglected situation. Enough is enough, and we are seeking to organize ourselves to ensure that business owners, property owners/managers, family associations, and community organizations have a voice and a viable means to engage with city and other governmental entities to address safety and security issues.
We are coming together around the following Guiding Principles:
- Safety and security is at the heart of building and sustaining a viable and vibrant CID both now and into the future. This includes increasing police community relationships and presence into this neighborhood.
- The safety and security of this neighborhood must be rooted in the experiences, voices, needs, and efforts of CID businesses, property owners, safety groups, residential/family associations, and community organizations who live, work, own businesses, and properties.
- The rich history, cultural aspects, and voices of this neighborhood is considered, respected, and centered when engaging with the city/other government entities to find solutions to safety and security issues.
- Investments in solutions and developments must align with the intent of Race, Social Justice, and Equity principles of the City of Seattle, most of which characterizes the CID.
The following are issues and recommendations are among those we would like to address:
- Re-establish SPD “hot spot” presence in the CID/Little Saigon areas like the successful early 2023 efforts.
- Five-year levy to support CID safety and security, business and property development.
- Explore MID expansion to fund a CID Ambassador Program for sidewalk and public space clean-up and Iron and Oak security and safety patrols.
- In partnership with City Attorney, SPD, and other city departments, prioritize implementing the recently passed and signed drug possession legislation in the CID, including diversion where appropriate.
- Review results from the City’s Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) and develop and implement new strategies that have proven successful.
- Expanding funding for CID small businesses and storefronts through the Office of Economic Development (OED) Storefront Repair Fund.
- Have 911 call responses trained for interpretation needs. Improve the system to make sure people who speak other languages can access the system for timely response.
- Outlaw rental scooters and bikes on CID sidewalks.
- Designate the CID as a hate free zone where crimes carry extra penalties.
- Support increased funding and staffing for the CID Public Safety Coordinator(s) to $100K to make this position equitable with other Public Safety positions in the City.
- Ongoing scheduled meetings with you, your staff, and city department heads on an ongoing basis to monitor progress on the goals and action items established by the community.
We (ask) for your assistance for immediate, sustained attention and swift action by the City of Seattle to “stop the bleeding” on public safety in the CID and request a 2-hour meeting with you at a location in the CID within the next 2 weeks to hear our concerns and ideas for you, your office, Seattle Police, and other city departments to work collaboratively with the community to find and invest in short, medium, and long-term solutions to safety and security in the neighborhood.