Crime in downtown Seattle alarming for visitors

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by ZAHID ARAB / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on June 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Recent assaults and several stabbings have Downtown Seattle businesses and residents concerned.

As the heart of the city’s retail and tourism core, many fear an increase in low-level crime will keep visitors away and impact businesses.

“All the time, we have people fighting in the store; we have people fighting in the street,” said Anthony Gannuncio, an employee at Joes Mart.

“People are scared,” said Ann McKinney, who lives in the area.

While walking around outside, McKinney says panhandlers, bums and criminal activity is everywhere.

“No parent wants their child to be walking in Downtown Seattle and seeing someone shooting dope in an alley,” she said.

“Tourists aren’t going to want to come, businesses will shut down or lose money,” said Gannuncio.

“It’s a little sketch. We definitely stay on direct routes to the hotel versus venturing off,” said Winena Wolf, who’s visiting with her family from Portland.

According to the store employee, police officers do the best they can.

“Cops aren’t always convenient in the area, we have to be our own security,” he said.

Gannuncio has chased down robbers and most recently a purse snatcher. He refers to his action as “Community Security.”

“I’m a big guy and I keep them at bay,” he said.

While places like the Public Market hire private security around the clock, businesses and residents want a solution from the city.

McKinney says crime and disorder is becoming too common.

“It’s just heartbreaking, it’s heart breaking,” she said.

Seattle Mayoral Candidates have taken up the issue. Some are calling for the hire of 250 more officers, another believes a solution is moving shelters and social service agencies out of downtown.

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