System Failure: Report on Prolific Offenders in Seattle’s Criminal Justice System

By: Downtown Seattle Association

Over the past several years, DSA and other neighborhood business organizations have raised concerns to public officials about growing public safety challenges across the city. Many of our members and ratepayers have asked for help in the face of thefts, assaults and other crimes.

Earlier today, we delivered a report to city officials regarding persistent crime in our neighborhoods. Entitled, System Failure — Report on Prolific Offenders in Seattle’s Criminal Justice System, it was developed over the past few months using publicly available databases.

The report was commissioned by neighborhood business districts in Downtown, Pioneer Square, Chinatown/International District, SODO, Ballard, the University District and Seattle’s tourism industry. It analyzes a sample of 100 individuals who have committed frequent criminal activity (four King County Jail bookings within the past year), community impact, root causes of problem behaviors, and how Seattle’s criminal justice system fails to reduce their recidivism.

We anticipate the news media will report on these findings in the hours and days to come, and wanted you offer some context — and ask for your help — as this story unfolds.

This report is now in the hands of Seattle’s elected officials, including the mayor’s office, city council, city attorney, municipal judges and others. We have asked Mayor Durkan for her leadership in finding long-term, sustainable solutions to this issue. While the report does not propose specific recommendations, we support a policy that includes alternatives to incarceration and access to behavioral health treatment.

We urge you to contact city leaders listed below with the following messages: