It looks like garbage town: Graffiti vandals targeting Seattle downtown businesses


SEATTLE, WA - MAY 31: A man cleans graffiti from the exterior of a boarded up storefront on the day after violent protests due to the recent death of George Floyd on May 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Protests began again peacefully Sunday after days of violent scenes in the city. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

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SEATTLE — SEATTLE, WA - MAY 31: A man cleans graffiti off the outside of a boarded-up shop window the day after violent protests over the recent death of George Floyd on May 31, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The protests began peacefully again on Sunday after days of violent scenes in the city. (Photo by David Ryder / Getty Images)

Graffiti vandals are at work in the city of Seattle, and police said the crime had worsened with the COVID-19 crisis.

Entrepreneurs and neighbors have had enough.

You can’t go far in the Emerald City without seeing graffiti on shop windows, buildings, and even cars recently marked near the Denny Triangle.

“It’s just everywhere and it looks like a garbage town,” said Todd Biesold, CEO of Merlino Foods.

One problem he adds is that he’s been struggling in his SODO warehouse for years.

“I’ve been tagged so many times that I can’t even count them - it’s every week,” he said. This video file cannot be played.


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COVID has suspended local mitigation programs and the Seattle Police Department has run out of officers assigned to the graffiti beat.

Detective Christopher Young led the effort from 2011 to 2017 before hiring in 2020.

He said graffiti vandalism was symptomatic of other problems.

“Nowhere is really safe now,” said Young.

That’s becausethat so many shop fronts in the city center are empty and many employees continue to work from home.

“A building that is not used and boarded up - they (taggers) will do their art there because it will be on display there for longer” said Young.

The Downtown Seattle Association Clean Team spent Tuesday morning painting over graffiti in an alley between 3rd and 4th Avenues on Pine Street.

Young said covering up the graffiti immediately was the biggest deterrent.

“The number of graffiti tags has increased not just downtown but across the city over the past year,” said James Sido, director of media relations for the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA).

He saidDSA has cleaned more than 360 tags of 28 private properties - downtown alone - since early 2021. And that’s just the owners who asked for help.

Biesold said more needs to be done than just the graffiti left behind. Eliminate vandals.

“I think we need to get to the bottom of the problem and why it is happening in the first place,” said Biesold.

Anything to solve a problem that makes Seattle shine.

“I think things will get a lot better when things go back to normal,” said Young.

by Joel Moreno, KOMO news reporter

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

SEATTLE — A car break-in problem is emerging in North Seattle. (KOMO)

A problem spot for car break-ins is emerging in north Seattle, and as reports grow,Police step up patrols when officers are available.

As the crowd begins to return to Magnuson Park, so does crime.

One theory is that people have been together for so long that some forget the basics of keeping valuables safe. What is clear is that the frolic of cars increases as more people go outside.

“We come here to the dog park every day and so I see glass on the floor here and there probably every few days,” said Danika Bethune, who lives in the neighborhood.

The smash and grabs got worse in the park and the surrounding Sand Point neighborhood last month.

Seattle police reported 11 raids in April. There were 45 car break-ins in the past month,an increase of 125 percent compared to March 2020. There were 31 reports in February, an increase of 15 percent compared to the previous year.

Police said one reason could be that the park is so much busier.

“Now that the activity is opening up a little and we’re going to be here for football at least three or four times a week, there are a lot of cars to break into,” said Michelle White, a frequent visitor to Magnuson Park .

warning signs are in place to alert visitors and the Northern District captain has asked officers to conduct additional patrols in and around Magnuson if possible.

Another possible explanation for the surge is that over the course of the pandemic and all the time they have been apart,many people have given up their vigilance.

“I’m not even used to getting in my car, let alone locking the door when I get out,” said Nicky Howard, another regular visitor to the park. Yeah I think people forget. "

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