Impact Bioenergy runs a “micro food digester” in Seattle which converts grain leftover from a nearby brewery into natural gas and fertilizer. But KOMO News reports this green company is moving out of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood because of the persistent, low-level crime:
“We did a pilot to demonstrate new ways to divert commercial food waste away from landfilling,” says Impact Bioenergy president Jan Allen…
Unfortunately, the quintessential Seattle business that prides itself in being in the forefront of a green economy is leaving.
“Just all this street crime is crushing us, we are a small company we just can’t do it,” says Allen.
Over the past three years, he says the company has suffered wire theft and the theft of their electric cargo tricycle for collecting food.
“I think it’s a little bit naive to think that all the folks that are living around in vehicles and all that – they are not good people, they are just killing us with theft,” says Allen.
He’s talking about homeless people in Seattle who live in RVs and cars. Like many homeless people, they survive (and feed their habits) by stealing from people in the neighborhoods where they live. And that takes a toll on businesses and neighborhoods.
Last week I wrote about a new report funded by a group of Seattle business leaders which found that City Attorney Pete Holmes declined to press charges in nearly half of the non-traffic misdemeanor cases that came to his office. The Seattle Times wrote an editorial describing the report and calling on voters to make changes to the City Council and demand more from the City Attorney:
Inconsistent and slow responses condone lawlessness and demoralize police and those reporting crimes. Even worse: In too many cases, there’s no justice for victims…
An urgent civic response and changes are needed. Change should come in November’s election. Voters must elect new City Council members who are less defensive of the status quo, support reforms and are realistic about keeping the community safe. That informed this board’s decision to endorse candidates Mark Solomon, Jim Pugel, Phil Tavel, Egan Orion, Heidi Wills, Alex Pedersen and Ann Davison Sattler…
Public safety is not increasing in parts of Seattle, raising questions about the prosecutor’s discretion and performance. Holmes must respond with solutions, not excuses.
Other elected officials should be demanding improvement, and voters must choose carefully, to avoid more of the same, in November.
Meanwhile, some additional evidence that the system is failing. Last December a 51-year-old man named Farrall M. Ditschinger entered a small market intending to rob it and then began viciously beating a 71-year-old woman who was working there. He hit her more than 50 times with a pair of handcuffs he used as improvised brass knuckles. He also pulled a knife which, fortunately, broke during the attack. The victim was saved by a delivery driver who happened to pull up outside. Ditschinger was caught nearby, arrested and charged. So what happened to this fine specimen once handed over to the Seattle justice system? A Seattle blog kept track and reported this yesterday:
Last December, 51-year-old Farrell M. Ditschinger was charged with assault and attempted robbery after an attack on a 71-year-old woman working at Juneau Street Market. In the months since, King County Superior Court records show, he has twice been found incompetent to stand trial and both times sent to Western State Hospital for competency-restoration attempts. Last month, a report indicated that a third try at restoring competency was not likely to render him able to participate in his defense, and a judge dismissed the charges. However, the same report recommended reviewing him for civil commitment, suggesting he otherwise was at risk of endangering himself and others. What happened from there, public records don’t show; the King County Jail Register shows him released from KCJ custody on September 10th, the date of the hearing.
He’s back out on the street.
The KOMO News video report on Impact Bioenergy won’t embed so you’ll have to visit their site to view it. Meanwhile, here’s a report from August about crime impacting businesses in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.