April 15, 2022

Seattle Drops Sex Crime Arrests due to Budget Cuts

  • Flyover Country

By: Konrad Holden

In Brief: 
The Seattle City Council has drastically reduced the police department’s budget and has seen a sizable decrease in sex crime arrests. In 2020, the city’s police department budget sat at $401.8 million compared to 2022’s budget of $355.5 million. At the same time, the police department has seen a massive exodus of officers, some of which are never expected to return after their accrued time off expires.

The Background: 
In the summer of 2020, rioters took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd and shout, “defund the police!” One of the major centers of those protests was Seattle which actually lost control of one of its neighborhoods when protestors declared the area an “autonomous zone” and began policing itself. 

Seattle’s city council largely followed the protesters' demands by dropping the police budget nearly $50 million over the past 2 years. 

But something else is dropping, too: sex crime investigations and arrests. 

The Seattle Police Department has been forced to remove resources from sex crime investigations just to keep officers on the streets. With a mass exodus of officers due to forced vaccinations and little support from city hall, the department is barely able to keep up with normal police patrolling duties while their budget is also being cut. 

The budget cuts have dropped the sex crimes arrest rate from 14% in 2019 to just 1.6%.

New Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, who recently took office, says this is unacceptable and has vowed to propose a budget that will increase the police force.

Notable Quotes: 

“Any lack of urgency around sexual assault investigations or arrests is wholly unacceptable. Sexual assault cases must be exhaustively investigated, and offenders must be held accountable – period.” - Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell
 

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