Mayor Harrell and Law Enforcement Leaders Unite to Announce Early Results of Collaborative Efforts to Address Public Safety and Crime
Dozens of charges filed and felony arrests made as part of Operation New Day addressing drug trafficking, gun violence, and crime at 12th and Jackson
Leaders commit to collaboration around urgent need for action to address public safety issues facing Seattle downtown and citywide
Seattle – Today, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell convened local, regional, and federal law enforcement leaders to announce united efforts to ensure public safety and share results of a coordinated and undercover operation that has helped drive immediate change at 12th Avenue S. and S. Jackson Street.
As part of Operation New Day, Seattle Police, at the direction of the mayor, organized and collaborated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Seattle City Attorney’s Office to make 16 felony arrests primarily related to crime at Little Saigon since January 21. Dealers of fentanyl and other drugs, including those carrying illegal firearms, were arrested through undercover police work and targeted investigations carried out over the first several weeks of the year.
Dozens of felonies and more than 100 charges have been filed as part of overall and ongoing Seattle Police operations around 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street and cases linked to that area.
“We are seeing early progress at 12th and Jackson in no small part due to the combined and collaborative efforts of Operation New Day to address crime, drug trafficking, and gun violence,” said Mayor Harrell. “Restoring a sense of safety downtown and citywide requires urgent action to stabilize areas where crime is prevalent. Sustainable improvement requires resetting norms and implementing a comprehensive, holistic approach that revitalizes Seattle neighborhoods. From the first days of my administration, we have made it clear that it is a new day in Seattle -- the status quo cannot stand, the time for action is now, and we accomplish more when we work together.”
Mayor Harrell also shared immediate steps being taken to prevent harm and further tragedy on 3rd Avenue, including dedicated police officers on site supplemented by additional patrols, deployment of an SPD mobile precinct, regional partnerships to enhance tactical efforts, and more. Public safety leaders shared their commitment to continue to work together to prevent gun violence, address crime, and support Seattle communities in need.
“There are too many guns in our communities, and we’ve seen a significant increase in shootings throughout Seattle and a rise in violent crime. This week I convened a meeting of law enforcement leaders to share strategies on how federal agents and local police can work together to reduce community violence,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “In this undercover operation, we have charged three people federally, who were illegally possessing firearms while dealing fentanyl. The Department of Justice will do everything that we can to help break the cycle of crime—not only with federal prosecution—but also with support for programs that keep our youth out of the criminal justice system.”
“Drug trafficking and gun violence are directly linked and responsible for causing the most harm in our community. Our strategic and targeted enforcement is designed to remove those responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic and associated violence,” said Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Seattle Field Division. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to reduce drug-related violence and target the criminal drug networks who are supplying the lethal fentanyl-laced pills to the most vulnerable on the streets of Seattle.”
“The people of King County – in Little Saigon and every neighborhood – need to feel safe. We will continue to hold people accountable for burglaries, gun crimes, assaults, felony-level drug dealing, and other dangerous behavior when cases are sent to us, and we want the people of King County to be reassured that these urgent partnerships to help neighborhoods will keep moving forward,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.
“Too many small business owners, commuters, and visitors to downtown feel unsafe in the heart of our City, because people who participate in what has become an open-air drug market are not receiving significant or effective intervention of their criminal activity,” said City Attorney Ann Davison. “As I have done with referrals from 12th and Jackson, I will continue to prioritize Seattle Police Department referrals from high-crime areas such as Third Avenue. These arrests and prosecutions will help to disrupt this cycle of addiction, theft, drug sales, and human suffering. We stand ready to partner with the Mayor’s Office, the Seattle Police Department, and community partners to help make downtown Seattle a safe place for residents, businesses, and everyone who visits our city.”
“The many challenges facing our city cannot be solved by one department, working alone. The Seattle Police Department cannot arrest our way out of homelessness, rising crime, and the economic inequity,” said Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz. “However, by working with our local and federal partners, we all have a much better chance of success, as we’ve seen at 12th Ave. S. and S. Jackson St. There is still a lot of work to do. Let’s do it right, and let’s do it together.”
“In One Seattle, we believe everyone has the absolute right to feel safe. Despite our best early efforts, it’s clear we are not there yet,” said Mayor Harrell. “Until then, One Seattle means a shared sense of heartbreak when crime and violence impact our communities, as well as a shared commitment to do better.”
Members of the Seattle City Council have expressed support collaborative leadership as the City and partners act urgently to address public safety.
“The collaborative approach of Mayor Harrell is getting results,” said Councilmember Andrew Lewis. “We have a lot more work to do, but when City Hall comes together we can rise to the challenges we face.”
“The increase in gun violence and violent crime requires a multifaceted strategy and cross-jurisdictional cooperation. I understand that SPD’s plan, in addition to traditional public safety approaches, includes partnership with organizations that prevent retaliatory violence, provide restorative justice, and divert survival-level offenders away from the revolving door criminal legal system and into the healthcare, housing, and support they need,” said Councilmember and Public Safety & Human Services Committee Chair Lisa Herbold. “With King County’s mask mandate lifting, these efforts are critical, as more businesses choose whether and how to bring more employees back to work. In addressing safety for businesses, we must also remember the residents of our downtown neighborhoods and keep the community safety focus after work hours too.”
“Seattle has been experiencing an unacceptable level of crime. This is especially true for the area around 12th and Jackson. I’m heartened by the results of Operation New Day, removing a bevy of illegal firearms and fentanyl from the streets,” said Councilmember Sara Nelson. “This was only possible because of strong collaboration within City Hall and close coordination amongst law enforcement agencies. We need more of this excellent, undercover police work. That won’t be possible until we remedy the exodus of officers from SPD.”