Category Archives: crime

Latest SPD “stops and detentions” report shows jump in Terry stops, but gives little explanation

Last week the Seattle Police Department published its annual report on stops and detentions, with numbers for 2018. It begins by noting that Terry stops are up substantially over 2017 numbers — but then it provides another 25 pages of text, tables and charts that offer little help in understanding why. In fact, SPD itself admits in the report that they don’t know what the increase means:

SPD conducted 18.5% more Terry stops in 2018 than in 2017. However, statistical trend analysis shows that this increase appears to be an anomaly. Our analysis next year will indicate whether a pattern is developing or whether 2018’s data are a one-time increase.

But the data tells a clearer story than SPD is letting on. It took a few days of work to reverse-engineer and otherwise piece together the data that the department left out of its report and to follow the bread crumbs through it, but here’s the story that the data tells.

Continue reading Latest SPD “stops and detentions” report shows jump in Terry stops, but gives little explanation

The “prolific offenders” report: a close read

Two weeks ago, a consortium of business district and neighborhood advocacy groups released a report entitled “System Failure: report on prolific offenders in Seattle’s criminal justice system.” The report, authored by Scott Lindsay, a former public safety advisor to Mayor Murray and 2017 candidate for City Attorney, identifies 100 individuals who “cycle through the criminal justice system with little  impact on their behavior, repeatedly returning to Seattle’s streets to commit more crimes.”

Heavy on findings but light on recommendations, the report paints a dire picture of the state of the criminal justice system in Seattle and King County, and the ability of this group of “prolific offenders” to game the system. But as with any study that claims such significant findings, it’s worth taking a closer look.

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Gun safety bills advance out of committee; one of them is illegal

The two gun-safety bills that Mayor Durkan and Council member Gonzalez announced last month passed out of committee this morning with minor amendments, and will come up before the full City Council for final approval on July 9th. But even if they pass, as is likely, one is all but guaranteed to be overturned in court.

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Fair Chance Housing ordinance draws its first legal challenge

This morning, two landlords and the Rental Housing Association of Washington filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court challenging the City of Seattle’s “Fair Chance Housing” tenant-protection ordinance that prohibits the use of criminal records in selecting tenants.

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Understanding the Fair Chance Housing ordinance

Last week the Seattle City Council passed the Fair Chance Housing ordinance, which prohibits most Seattle landlords from using criminal background to deny housing to prospective tenants. Yesterday morning, Mayor Ed Murray signed the bill into law. The bill was not without controversy, and it’s worth understanding the rationale behind it as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments.

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