Encouraging Safe Environments

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As you may have heard, last Saturday afternoon a young man, believed to be using methamphetamine, smashed a window of La Isla Restaurant in Ballard and proceeded to use a shard of glass to attack and injure two people on the sidewalk outside.

It is upsetting to see this happen in our community, and I can imagine it would have been terrifying to have experienced or witnessed it.  The question we are left with is: “how do we respond to this?” When an incident like this arises, we must ensure that our first responders are prepared to react immediately, and have the resources they need to address such situations. I want to acknowledge and thank the first responders who effectively and efficiently addressed this situation.

When thinking about safe environments generally, I am also focused on how we prevent instances like this from happening in the first place. As this work continues, I am engaging my staff in many different resources to help alleviate the public safety concerns in District 6. Much of this work comes from direct correspondence with constituents where my office has advised Multidisciplinary Outreach Teams (MDOT) to specific areas where activity is concentrated. My Office continues to engage with outreach workers and police officers to best address the community concerns.

I remain committed to implementing successful programs such as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, an effort that has been proven to be more effective in moving people living in crisis to more stable situations. LEAD is a program that connects people who commit low-level drug and sex work activities to services instead of arrests. It has reduced criminal-recidivism rates by up to 60 percent and currently exists downtown and in select nearby neighborhoods. I would also like to support additional outreach workers through MDOT so that we can connect people to services instead of further isolating them. I support outreach workers on the street engaging with people who are living in crisis, sometimes because of addiction. These people are on the front line to both engage people suffering from addiction and direct them toward treatment options.

I will continue to encourage safer environments in District 6, our communities, and our city. My staff will also continue their role in engaging with constituents to meet the community needs of public safety. Supporting public safety and increasing connections for people and our communities is a collective action and I look forward to doing that work with each of you.