It's been a year and 7 months since I last posted. And, although this blog and I have outgrown one another, here in this space, is where I've always posted the things that are important in my life (from glassware and denim to cocktails and food to love and life). And, since it's the only place I've got, I'm posting this letter I wrote to the people who make decisions in our city. Because, we both know (you and I), that changes need to be made.
A Call to Action:
Mayor McGinn and City Council Members,
Please hear my voice:
Hello, My name is Amanda Akin. I am a resident and business owner in The Belltown neighborhood. I am a Seattle Native who grew up in Lake Forest Park and has since lived in Madison Park, Madrona, Pioneer Square, Centeral District, N. Capital Hill and now, Belltown. I picked Belltown as the neighborhood where my Partner and I will settle and start our family and grow our business.
We believe in Belltown. As do many of the residents and business owners here. It is a true melting pot. From low income subsidized housing to million dollar high rises and nearly everyone in between. Entrepreneurs and growing technology companies are here. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, spas, and boutiques settled in Belltown for the lively day and night life, vast culture, and easy access to the entire downtown area. On Friday and Saturday nights, hundreds of people seek BellTown to dance, drink, eat and party. I've been utilizing Belltown's nightlife since before I turned 21 (listening to music at the old Sit and Spin). It's a part of me and many of us here. These are all things you know.
Here is what you may not know:
Everyday, petty crimes take place here; Low level drug dealing, prostitution, public intoxication, open container violation, and urinating in public. Other "non-crimes" also take place; Street fighting, general harassment, general threats and littering.
We need help. Time and time again (through the Belltown Business Association) we have been told "call 911. No matter the "crime", call 911". apparently the more we call, the more West Precinct knows that there is a need for police presence.
I am writing to tell you, every Friday and Saturday night, Belltown needs a police presence. EVERY Friday and Saturday night.
A police presence vastly reduces street crimes and "non-crimes". It requires the drug dealers and users to move on, giving them less time to use and sell on the street. It saves club goers from street brawls. A police presence helps. These are things you know.
911 operators are frustrated by our calls. Generally unresponsive and sometimes rude.
I have story after story after story. I'll save you. If you have time, I'm happy to share my personal experiences as a resident and business owner.
We need your help. We need more police here everyday - most specifically Friday and Saturday nights. On September 30th, only 3 police officers were assigned to Belltown. My partner and I were attacked by a club-goer while walking our dog. We found ourselves in the middle of a street brawl on Blanchard (between 1st and 2nd). In calling 911 and describing the suspects, my partner was chased down, and nearly assaulted. When officers arrived, unfortunately worn out, they were less than helpful (save officer Felix, a strong and true advocate for safety in Belltown).
I am scared to walk in my neighborhood.
Mayor McGinn and City Council Members, Your city is falling apart. It's starting in the very neighborhoods that built it. From Pioneer Square to Belltown to Capitol Hill.
We need your help.
Myself and other Belltown Business owners and residents are available anytime to share our stories. We have voice, I'm just not sure you've heard it yet.