Pride City Doesn’t Have Much to Be Proud of Anymore


Seattle crime rates have risen, along with homelessness. King County social-services agency All Home found 11,643 people sleeping in tents, cars, and emergency shelters. Property crime has risen to a rate two and a half times higher than Los Angeles’s and four times higher than New York City’s. Cleanup crews pick up tens of thousands of dirty needles from city streets and parks every year. has given Seattle a 3/100 safety rating.

What is the cause of this sudden rise of crime, homelessness, and drug use in Seattle? Socialist Alternative city councilwoman Kshama Sawant claims that the city’s homelessness crisis is the inevitable result of the Amazon boom, greedy landlords, and rapidly increasing rents. As she told Street Roots News: “The explosion of the homelessness crisis is a symptom of how deeply dysfunctional capitalism is and also how much worse living standards have gotten with the last several decades.”

Another contributing factor to consider is the fact that living in Seattle is getting more and more pricey.“It’s a perfect storm,” says Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline. “We have rising housing costs at the same time as we have people moving in at a tremendous rate. Homelessness is increasing because people are getting squeezed out as rent gets so high.” In my opinion, a lot of this falls on the shoulders of our City Legislators.

A huge problem we have is the lack of law enforcement. Under Seattle city laws, it is illegal a park except in places where Seattle Parks and Recreation say it’s allowed. It’s also illegal to sit or lie on many high-traffic sidewalks around the city, including downtown. These are “civility laws,” and if a civility law is broken, the police are supposed to give you a ticket. They are supposed to, but they don’t. In fact, according to the Komo 4 News’ Documentary, the police are told not to enforce it. Even if a homeless person is given a ticket, they have no money, so what’s the point?

Basically, homeless persons are allowed to do whatever they want with little consequences.  The worst punishment is being arrested and a light sentence of maybe a night or two in jail.

Legislators of Seattle have decriminalized being able to sleep and live on the street, and it caused a mass migration of homeless people on the west coast to move into cities such as Seattle and San Francisco who have no strict laws against homelessness. The fact that the city welcomes homelessness and gives them uncontrolled sites for them to trash and shoot heroin is the reason we are in this situation today.

What can we, as high school students, do to help the city?  If you’re 18,  you have the constitutional right to vote, which allows you to decide who is in charge of our city. There’s no really straightforward, flawless plan of how to solve this mass problem. But there are a few things we could try to get in the right direction of a safe, healthy, livable city. We can start to actually follow through with our laws, and not encourage laws that allow homeless people to discard trash and drug paraphernalia in parks and along streets.  We can start giving longer sentences, especially for repeat offenders. For example, if the same person comes in for doing the same crime, double the sentence from last time.

Another possibility is to create more government jobs that are easy to obtain and instituting programs to help train homeless persons back into the workforce. This way, the training can help with job placement and money to provide a living for themselves. At the same time, we need more lower cost housing.

As for the drug problem, we should increase law enforcement, and crack down on illegal drugs. Also, we could make sure people have the free opportunity to go to rehabilitation by using tax money for their shelters and use it to increase the efficiency of rehabilitation centers.  We could also make mandatory rehabilitation attempts to reduce sentences, for example a criminal cannot be released until he or she is clean from drugs.

Seattle can become the place it once was; all it’s going to take is the stepping up of the city authorities, and enforcement of the law, because that is what we are lacking.