Public safety index plummets as more citizens consider leaving Seattle

City reported four homicides,10 shootings, 11 assaults and 10 robberies this week.
The Seattle skyline

This week was assigned the lowest score on record of a 25 out of 100 on the Seattle Police Officers Guild's public safety index, which was implemented early this year.

The public safety index is calculated based on publicly available crime data and staffing information such as how many officers are available for the community and how many officers have separated. The number also comes from internal polling from each precinct.

Mike Solan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, says the data is used to show a number that is indicative of the public safety in the city.

At press time, the week had seen four homicides, 10 shootings, 11 assaults and 10 robberies. As crime rates increase, the number of officers in the force have decreased. Since the start of 2022, 43 officers have left SPD. Solan says many officers have left due in part to the defunding of the police force.

“When you have politicians in the past and present supporting the defunding [of the police department], that has led significantly to this public safety crisis [Seattle] finds itself in,” Solan said. “If you’re an employee of the city and you have your politicians specifically encouraging activists talking points, mostly on a false narrative, well, as an employee that is targeted specifically just for being a police officer in the city, you’re a human being and you can only take so many assaults on your character.”

Downtown Seattle has seen an increase in crime rates. Last month, an encampment in the area of Pike and Pine streets and Fourth and Fifth avenues was removed by police after crime became more evident in that vicinity. A security guard working downtown said that the encampment and crime in the Pike and Pine street area has moved south, closer to the Seattle ferry terminal.

“Most of the encampments are now on the skyline bridge located on Marion and Western,” the security guard, who asked that The Center Square not use his name, said. “Police will remove them from the bridge, but they just set up again.”

Seattle residents are not comfortable with the crime rate in the city. The Seattle Metro Chamber released statistics from its public opinion research project and found numbers that show dissatisfaction.

In the poll taken last month, out of 700 registered voters who registered an opinion, 67 percent of them voted “yes” to considering moving out of Seattle. The two most cited reasons for why were costs of living and public safety. Crime rate was voted the most concerning issue in Seattle by 46 percent of people.

That same poll found 91 percent of voters say downtown Seattle cannot fully recover until public safety and homelessness is addressed.

Solan says it is on the political leaders to raise the number on the public safety index.

“If the defunding [of SPD] didn’t happen, we wouldn’t see the public index,” Solan said. “We wouldn’t be in this predicament.”