A deadly shooting that took place in downtown Seattle last week may cause politicians to push for harsher laws during the upcoming legislative session. One woman was killed and seven others were injured when a shooting occurred outside the McDonald's at Third and Pine Street. At the time of this writing, one man has been arrested for his role in the shooting, while police continue to search for two other men in connection to the incident.
Lawmakers Mull Legislative Response to Shooting
Local news channels have reported that the shooting came up, during a floor debate on the Washington House of Representatives on Thursday, January 23, 2020. Representative Tana Senn referenced the shooting as she lobbied for her bill to grant Washington State Patrol (WSP) the ability to destroy seized weapons. Currently, WSP has to either store or sell seized weapons. Representative Senn claimed that WSP fears what would happen if one of the weapons ends up back on the streets. Representative Irwin (from Enumclaw) added during his floor speech, "We also don't want to see criminals who are arrested that are immediately put back on the street."
Representative Irwin also said that the recent shooting could end up being a theme of the 2020 legislative session, motivating Democrats to pursue more gun-related laws. Senator Carlyle, who represents Seattle, said Washington can do more to deal with behavioral health and addiction to combat crime, but he also said gun reform needs to be a priority.
Seattle has a strong national reputation for effectively focusing on the behavioral health and addiction factors that contribute to criminal charges. Programs such as drug diversion court and medication-first addiction treatment facilities consistently garner praise for their effectiveness. Lawmakers should not allow high-profile events to trigger reactive harsh legislation.
Seattle Crime Trends
Crime rates have actually been decreasing across the city of Seattle. Violent crime was down by four percent in 2019 when compared to the previous year. There were five fewer murders, 81 fewer aggravated assaults, and 181 fewer robberies than in 2018. Last year also saw a decrease in property crimes. Rates of robbery were down nine percent from 2018, while burglary was down six percent. Property crime in total was down six percent – with the total raw number of property crimes (mostly thefts) the lowest recorded since 2013.
Seattle's violent crime rate (6.1 incidents per 100,000 people) was the second-lowest in a decade last year. The property crime rate (4,949 incidents per 100,000 people) is by far the lowest recorded in the city since at least the 1970s. The rate in 2019 was 20 percent lower than it was just five years ago, and more than 40 percent lower than it was twenty years ago.
What this recent shooting may do to laws statewide remains to be seen. If you've been charged with a weapons-related criminal offense or any other crime, contact the law office of former King County prosecutor Steve Karimi today by calling our office at 206-621-8777 or reach out to us online.