Page 13 - FOP May 2019 Magazine
P. 13

Field Representative’s Report
Seattle is dying — is Chicago soon to follow?
 I recently watched an hour-long documentary titled Seattle Is Dying by Eric Johnson, a news an- chor for an ABC News affiliate in Seattle. If you ha- ven’t had an opportunity to see it, I highly recom- mended taking the time to watch it. It can easily be found using any Internet search engine.
The documentary digs into the root causes of Seattle’s epidemic of homelessness. As I followed along, it was eerie how much Seattle and Chicago
mirror each other. It left me with the frightening realization of where Chicago is headed.
It’s not hard to look around and easily find areas in our city that are overrun, with the homeless population living in tent communities — very similar to Seattle’s systemic homeless problem, rooted in the same misguided policies as Chicago. Seattle is just much worse, mainly because they have been go- ing down this path longer.
Their streets are filled with homeless drug addicts — many with mental illness — who urinate and defecate anywhere they please. They pillage the businesses, shoplifting with no regard for consequences. They use and sell drugs in an open market with no impunity.
This is driving tourists and shoppers away from their mer- chants. The loss of revenue coupled with ramped-up shoplift- ing has forced businesses to close or move elsewhere to sur- vive.
It all stems from two main philosophies shared with Chi- cago: The state’s attorney, i.e., the prosecutor, doesn’t enforce many of the laws and has created an environment where the police can’t do their job.
Both Seattle and Chicago Police Officers are currently deal- ing with a state’s attorney’s office whose policies have created a revolving door for criminals, rendering much of their police work meaningless. The state’s attorneys for both cities often don’t pursue, and if they do, the offenders often receive lenient sentences. Shoplifting and drug offenses are almost never tak- en to trial. All of this has led to an epidemic of repeat offenders who are blatantly unconcerned about any consequences for breaking the laws.
From this documentary, it is apparent that the Seattle Police Department has almost given up hope of doing any real work. Officers are terrified of losing their jobs, assets and pensions. They work under many of the same constraints as the Chicago officers, since the police departments in both cities are facing a consent decree imposed upon them during the Obama ad- ministration.
With the fear of what they can lose financially, legally and politically under these consent decrees, as well as an inept judicial system, the officers have taken the approach of just putting in their hours and going home. Unfortunately, this has left the citizens fearful of visiting downtown Seattle and feel- ing unsafe in their neighborhoods.
combat the issue was a new tax! They instituted a head tax to pay for the grand plan of housing for their homeless. The tax was levied against business owners for every employee, for ev- ery hour they worked, further punishing the business owners. Fortunately for them, and like with our soda tax, the citizens revolted and the head tax was repealed.
This whole ordeal has left Seattle’s citizens with the belief that there is a need to make drastic changes. Many citizens are getting on board with the idea of voting the whole city council out. They need a state’s attorney who will enforce the laws on the books.
The citizens of Seattle have woken up and understand the need to get back to the broken windows theory: that visible signs of crime, antisocial behavior and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and dis- order, including serious crimes. Thus, all crimes must be en- forced and the criminal held accountable.
We can only hope that Chicago wakes up, sees what has un- folded in Seattle and takes action sooner rather than later — before we end up just like them.
I think it starts with Kim Foxx’s office.
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 Given all this, the city council’s ingenious idea for how to

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