COUNCIL COMMITTEE APPROVES NEW PUBLIC SAFETY PILOT PROJECT
Licata and Rasmussen’s pilot project targets crime in key neighborhood 'hot spots'
SEATTLE –A pilot program connecting law enforcement with human services in three Seattle neighborhoods was passed to Full Council today by the Public Safety Committee. Proposed by Council President Nick Licata and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the program targets three ‘hotspots’ for quality of life crimes; Miller Park; Downtown; and Rainier Beach. If the City Council approves the legislation next Monday at its 2:00 p.m. meeting, $240,000 will immediately go to the Miller Park and Rainier Beach pilot programs and $120,000 will be reserved for the Downtown pilot later this summer.
“This funding will support an approach that deals with the underlying cause of criminal behavior as well as the behavior itself,” said Council President Nick Licata.
The goal of these pilot programs is to connect offenders with services that address the root causes of offending behavior when it’s clear that simply arresting offenders will not solve the problem. Outreach workers will provide access to case management, diagnosis, treatment and services to address such issues as mental illness, addiction, homelessness and unemployment.
“I have heard from the people of these neighborhoods many times who told me they were seeing the same offenders on the same streets continually creating an unsafe environment in their community,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s committee on human services. “We can’t arrest our way out of these problems. We need a better approach to end the cycle of crime.”
Licata and Rasmussen secured funding for this pilot program in last year’s budget. After a series of citizen oversight committee meetings, the programs were developed with neighborhood groups, law enforcement personnel and service providers. Each program will be evaluated to access effectiveness.
“The Miller Park residents are enthusiastic,” said Andrew Taylor, president of the Miller Park Neighborhood Association. “Together, we’ve created an innovative way to take back our neighborhood while helping people get off the streets and back on their feet.”