Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in
September 7, 2004
Mayor Greg Nickels
Members of the Seattle City Council
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2
P.O. Box 34025
Seattle, Washington 98124-4025
Re: Funding for Public Safety and Crime Prevention
Dear Mayor Nickels and Members of the Seattle City Council,
As you move forward in developing and finalizing a budget for 2005, the Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees urges you to provide additional funding for public safety and crime prevention and to restore funding for community service officers. We understand the budget shortfalls you are facing and the many competing demands, but public safety should be paramount.
Citizens are entitled to an adequate police force. It is not acceptable that Seattle is well below the national average of officers serving citizens—310 officers per 100,000 citizens. Seattle’s force of 224 officers per 100,000 citizens is not sufficient to ensure public safety. Officer safety is important. Police officers are entitled to backup, two-officer cars and should not be required to work significant overtime due to the staffing shortage. Citizens deserve prompt response times.
Seattle’s former highly successful crime prevention program is all but defunct due to lack of funding. This should not continue. In our view, it is extremely cost-effective for the police to work in partnership with the community to keep our city safe. The police cannot be everywhere at all times and Block Watch programs and other community efforts provide great assistance. Block Watch has been shown to be an effective deterrent of crime at the neighborhood level, but the success of the program is dependent upon adequate funding. Without this funding, our communities are at greater risk.
We ask that you reevaluate your decision to eliminate community service officers in last year’s budget. Community service officers perform important services to assist the police and the community. They handle juvenile runaway case management and provide assistance to abused and neglected children. They check on the well-being of the elderly and other vulnerable people. They provide crisis intervention services and assist people in finding emergency housing—just to list a few of the functions they perform. With elimination of almost all of the funding for these important positions last year, sworn officers are now forced to divert their attention to these matters—that is, if they even have the time. The bottom line is that these much-needed services are not provided at the level of service that is needed. The community service officer program is an effective and efficient use of funds and should be reinstated.
We urge you to provide adequate funding for public safety, crime prevention and to reinstate funding for community service officers. Thank you for considering our views.
Jeannie Hale, President Pat Wright, Crime Prevention Rep
3425 West Laurelhurst Drive NE 3925 48th Avenue NE
Seattle, Washington 98105 Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135 / fax 206-525-9631 206-522-0871