A recentmeeting of the city council shows that Seattle Police are slowly crackingdown on some of the lower-level crimes that have been plaguing the city. DuringNovember, Seattle Police put a greater emphasis on preventing auto thefts andcar prowls. The number of these crimes dropped significantly—by 34% for autotheft and 25% for prowling—during the month. For the year, however, propertycrimes in Seattle remain much higher than they were in 2013.
At the meeting, Seattle Police unveiled a plan that willinvolve encouraging officers to remember the significance of minor crimes. Theywill also consider increasing the priority of property-crime calls. Police arealso considering giving dispatchers a checklist to help them determine the oddsof solving a crime.
Councilmember Bruce Harrell also presented proposals aimedto curb crime in the city. He is currently working on a proposal that wouldrequire pawnshops and other used-good dealers to photograph jewelry and uploadthose pictures to a database that law enforcement could use to track stolengoods. Although the database exists, its use is presently voluntary.
Harrell is also considering legislation that would imposepenalties on used-good dealers that buy contraband from any of the nearly 3,000people on the no-buy list because of theft convictions.
Clearly, after pressure from the City Council and somepublic outcry, this is a time where Seattle Police are doing whatever theycan to decrease small crimes in and around the city. This may lead to falseaccusations, trumped up charges, and the violation of the rights of individualsacross the city.
Any time the police are being pressured to deliver moreresults, we should all be weary that they may infringe on the rights ofcitizens in order to get the results demanded of them.
Furthermore, one wonders if checklists, databases, andno-buy lists are truly the best way to fight petty crime, or if an emphasis onpreventing petty crime will lead for an increase in “major” or violent crime.
Any time the police significantly change their policies thatare designed to keep us safe, we should pay close attention. Their duty is toprotect and serve, and they should do so in a way that protects the persons,property, and rights of the citizens. This is not an easy job and is impossibleto do perfectly.
We will have to pay close attention to what imperfectionsarise from these proposed changes.
If you have been accused of a crime in Seattle, contact theLaw Office of Steve Karimi. His experience as both a prosecutor and criminaldefense attorney has given invaluable skills in determining when policeofficers overstep their bounds. Regardless of what you have been accused of,your rights stay the same. Let Steve help protect them.