Riding on the success of last year's nightlife summer nightlife patrol—which added 20 Seattle police officers to crowd-heavy areas of downtown until on weekend nights—today Mayor Mike McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz announced that the summer safety plan would be expanded upon and relaunched, starting this weekend.
"It's about increasing police officer visibility and making people feel safe," said McGinn. "And it's cost effective—we're putting more officers on the street without costing the city money."
What McGinn means is, the plan won't take cherry-pick patrol officers from their scheduled neighborhood beats (or bring more officers in to work overtime). Instead, SPD will redeploy up to 25 officers from the department's anti-crime, traffic, and SWAT units to foot and bike patrols in crowded parts of Seattle. The officers will be out on the streets until 4:00 a.m.
Diaz said the nightlife safety plan not only reduced instances of crime last year, it helped quell the public's fear of crime. "Last year we saw a reduction in shootings," Diaz said. "A few times, officers were at a scene and were able to stop people with guns in hand."
Nightlife Safety Zones—click to enlarge
Whereas last summer's plan primarily focused on club-centric areas in Belltown, downtown, and Pioneer Square, this year officers will be deployed to 11 active nightlife areas that were highlighted by community councils (and see a high frequency of police response calls). However, SPD Assistant Chief Mike Sanford was quick to stress that officers will be deployed outside of these areas on an as-needed basis. "It's about where the people are—that's where we'll go," he said.
The safety plan will be in effect through September.