McGinn pledges $400,000 for new violence prevention patrols

SEATTLE - Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he's devoting $400,000 to additional violence prevention patrols.

McGinn said Thursday the money will be used to extend the patrols through the end of the year. They began in the spring to combat the spike in violence that usually accompanies the warmer months.

Police officials say the city is getting safer, but restaurant owner Mike Kotz said statistics don't help him in his trouble-plagued Pioneer Square neighborhood.

"They are not taking into account the frustration that you are consistently calling 911 on the same instances and there's not a solution," he said.

The new patrols will include officers on bike and on foot, and will target areas including busy transit corridors such as 3rd Avenue downtown and Broadway on Capitol Hill.

Neighbors around Capitol Hill's Cal Anderson Park say crime seems constant. They feel like it's getting worse, despite claims from McGinn's office that police are making headway on fighting the violence.

"Now they are bickering over crime stats when I know this is the worst summer in six years," said Josie Strobel.

The mayor, who is facing a tough re-election campaign, says the city is also in the process of hiring more police officers, which will increase the overall force by 30.

"Crime is down and at a 30-year low, but we also know it isn't zero," McGinn said. "And if crime occurs in your neighborhood, it's serious."

The announcement came three days after a man shot and injured a King County Metro bus driver downtown during the Monday morning commute. Police shot and killed the suspect as he boarded another bus.

Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess said it's a good step, but more is needed.

"I would have preferred if the mayor had said today that we do have a problem with violence downtown," he said.

McGinn is also behind a pilot that, starting Thursday night, will keep the lights on at Cal Anderson Park throughout the night.

He wants to deter people from sleeping or gathering there when the park is closed, but it's unclear how all night lights might affect the neighbors.