Two important factoids this morning.
First, Judy Lightfoot, writing over at Crosscut.com, makes the case for SPD's Crisis Intervention Team and the hundreds of officers with advanced training for dealing with people with mental health challenges. It's a good piece that showcases the exemplary work done every day by Seattle police officers.
You may be surprised by what's happened in Central Park in recent years. A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times reported on a nearly crime-free Central Park. Smart policing can produce amazing results; it proves that urban crime is not something we must shrug our shoulders over and accept.
And here's another believe it or not factoid out of New York City. The High Line, an elevated park extending over a mile and designed by James Corner—the same urban designer working on our central waterfront—has been crime free since it opened two-and-a-half years ago. Crime free! There hasn't been one reported major crime on the High Line. (Seattle will begin work later this year on our ground-level version of the High Line on Bell Street between Fifth Avenue and First Avenue in Belltown.)
Criminologist Franklin Zimring argues in his new book, The City That Became Safe, that the long-held belief that large urban cities will always have a minimum threshold level of crime is false. He says New York City's experience since 1991—they have eliminated 80% of major crime—proves that smart policing can produce amazing results, even in areas where crime has flourished for years. It will be difficult and require intense focus, but we can do the same here in Seattle.