We’ve all seen the rising chaos in Seattle over the past couple of years. The city has a serious and ongoing problem with homelessness. Last summer it had a problem with people creating an autonomous zone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and shutting down a police precinct. It’s still being sued over that. The city’s Police Chief resigned and its mayor said she won’t run for another term. It was only last month that the city finally managed to clear out nearby Cal Anderson Park. While all of this is happening, crime is up, police are resigning and the City Council is still pushing for further cuts to the police budget.
In short, things are a mess. That’s exactly how it looks to Myra Levitzke. Levitzke and her family moved to the Wallingford neighborhood north of downtown Seattle several years ago and initially they loved it. But recently she’s seen things go downhill to the point that she’s thinking about leaving. Crime and lack of personal security are the big issues.
Her home has been broken into more than once. Just weeks ago someone smashed the window of her car while she was out walking her dogs. And a few weeks before that someone stole two bikes while she was taking out the trash. All of that concerned her but it was the incident involving her 13-year-old daughter that was the last straw:
On New Years Eve, her 13-year-old daughter was with a friend outside the Wallingford Center, just a block from her home. That’s when a grown man approached her daughter and said something vile and very sexually explicit. When her daughter began to back away the man went towards her, grabbing for her arm before she took off running.
“She called us at about 7:10 pm screaming that some guy was harassing her. She said he kind of looked like a dad, so she was so taken back that he would say something like that to her.”
The story doesn’t say but I’d be willing to bet the man was homeless. Levitzke called the police a few minutes after the incident but no one ever came. Around midnight she called the police again and again no one ever showed up.
Police told Q13 that they were taking priority calls only because it was New Year’s Eve, one of their busiest nights. One thing that we know was keeping police busy that night was the mob of “protesters” who were marching through the Capitol Hill neighborhood, breaking windows and throwing fireworks at police. Maybe if they weren’t dealing with that nonsense they’d have had time to respond to the call about the traumatized 13-year-old girl.
Police claim they sent someone out to her house around 12:30 but Levitzke doesn’t believe it. She says no one showed up and if they did, they didn’t ever notify her about it or try to follow up with her.
“By the police and the city not responding it’s telling my daughter that yes a guy can say these obscene things to you, he can try to grab you and it’s OK because the city is allowing this to happen … I just feel like abandoned, I feel like my daughter was abandoned, and I think that’s the part that hurts most not that this happened to her, but that the city absolutely doesn’t care.”
Levitzke sounds just like the business owners who were left to fend for themselves in the CHOP zone last summer. As bad as this was, it could have been worse. On Christmas Day a homeless man with mental problems was arrested for assault. He was quickly released and two days later was arrested after beating an elderly man nearly to death. That final arrest was his 6th of the year.
Last week, Levitzke called again and filed a police report. She told Q13 she doesn’t really blame the police, she blames the City Council which has already cut the police budget to the point that they don’t have the resources to respond to incidents like what happened to her daughter. Indeed, that’s exactly who is responsible for an insufficient number of officers. Hopefully other Seattle residents are paying attention.
Here’s the video report from Q13: