‘Community Store Fronts’ open 24-hours, proven effective
SEATTLE – Councilmember Andrew J. Lewis (District 7, Pioneer Square to Magnolia) issued the following statement calling for an increase in social services and law enforcement presence in Downtown Seattle. The Community Storefront, staffed by Seattle Police Department (SPD) community service officers, other department officers and social workers, would be open 24-hours a day.
“A 24-hour Community Storefront staffed by Community Service Officers (CSOs) will send a message that violence will not be tolerated in Seattle’s core. It will also serve as a visible center for people seeking information, whether they are tourists experiencing Seattle for the first time, or residents who need help navigating our system of social services,” Lewis said.
Seattle is on track to hire and train 18 CSOs by the end of 2020. Lewis wants at least six of these CSOs to be stationed at this Downtown Community Storefront. CSOs are non-commissioned officers who do not carry weapons but serve to bridge the gap on non-criminal calls for service and perform public-safety related community service and outreach. They are trained to mediate non-violent disputes, as well as help people navigate emergency services.
The Community Storefront could also serve as a staging area for regular, armed police officers and be a location where anyone can file an accident report.
“This is not a new idea, but it is a good idea,” Lewis said. “King County uses Community Storefronts to great effect in Auburn, Kent, Tukwila, and other communities. It’s time to have one Downtown. I am eager to work with Downtown businesses and service providers in partnership to make this Community Storefront a welcome piece of a thriving Downtown.”
“Downtown Seattle should be a vibrant place where everyone feels safe, yet there is a history of violence near 3rd and Pine that affects everyone in our city, and particularly our most vulnerable populations,” said Councilmember Lewis. “I am grateful for the mobile precincts and emphasis patrols currently in the downtown corridor, but this must not be a temporary response. More support and presence is needed in the area.”