South King County Mayors Urge County, State to Tackle Rising Crime

South King County Mayors Urge County, State to Tackle Rising Crime

(At the Center Square) Eight mayors from South King County encouraged county and state officials in a single message to confront the “growing tide of crime and violence in our communities.”

The violent crimes, drug offences, and property crimes in King County have risen drastically, according to the mayors of Auburn, Black Diamond, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Kent, Pacific, Renton, and Tukwila.

In a letter that was made public on Thursday, the mayors voice the frustration of their communities with the rise in crime and the need for quick action.

It was specifically stated that Senate Bill 5476 and House Bill 1054 had been approved. Both of the measures outlaw some drug-related offences and police pursuits.

In cities or counties, a person cannot be charged with drug possession unless they are given the choice of non-obligatory, self-directed drug treatment for their first two offences.

The letter said that “Yet, there is no incentive or consequence that encourages addicted users to join treatment, there is an inadequate infrastructure to support the addicted, and if they choose to enter treatment, it is unavailable or too expensive.”

House Bill 1054 outlawed police car pursuits when they had a solid suspicion that someone inside the car has committed a crime, with a few notable exceptions such DUI cases. According to the mayors, more people are evading the police and criminals are aware of the law.

According to the mayors, the King County Jail system does not allow for the routine booking of suspects in felonies. They also gripe that it might take months or even years for cases to be resolved in court.

The letter went on to say that better and quicker adult and juvenile felony criminal responsibility was required at the county level. Since misdemeanour adult crimes are the only ones that cities have the authority to prosecute, South King County agencies have begun using their city-level resources to do so.

The mayors of the cities vowed to keep cooperating with the state in order to support funding for and improve accessibility to drug addiction and mental health treatment programmes in addition to attending to police service requests and prosecuting cases that fall under their purview.

The Center Square received an email from Chase Gallagher, the King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office’s director of communications, who gave public servants the advice to “rely on facts, not hyperbole as is the case with this claim involving jail bookings.”

In order to address the issues on our streets, which have been exacerbated by a backlog in the criminal justice system brought on by the pandemic, decades of a behavioural health system that is underfunded, and centuries of institutional racism, every level of government has a role to play, according to Gallagher. “We’ll continue to cooperate with whichever government,”

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