“Crimes against persons were down 28% in the fourth quarter compared to same time period in 2011. “Quality of life” issues (disturbances, nuisances, trespassing, etc.) were down 21%,” reads an SPD statement about Third Avenue, which some police, and citizens refer to as ‘The Blade’.
The area is unfortunately synonymous with downtown crime, and despite the crime drop in some categories, one source says the drug market there hasn’t changed.
“Last time I picked up there was late last year. You’ll find mostly black (heroin), pharmaceuticals which are usually benzodiazepines or opiates like Xanax and methadone tabs, crack and coke, and of course weed,” said a recovering addict who used to be a Third Avenue regular, the FAS source wishes to remain anonymous for safety reasons. The source goes onto say only three to four days ago, while passing by the ‘The Blade’ someone tried to sell them a bag of heroin. The source also opened up on the dynamics of drug-trading on ‘The Blade’.
“Almost every time I’m there for anything longer than 10 minutes, I’ll get at least a few offers from dealers and a couple requests from people who think I’m there to get something off…getting them (drugs) is as easy as knowing the slang and calling out quietly to people walking by.” FAS asked if they were to go there now, would that still be the case. “It would definitely be the case, happens virtually every time.” The source however says “there never seemed to be anything more than drug-related crime,” adding that violent crime appears more prevalent in Pioneer Square and Belltown. As the drug market seems to never die, SPD is working their beat to increase surveillance of the area.
SPD says the call to clean up the streets started in December after signing a Memorandum of Agreement between King County, the City, and the Downtown Seattle Association which, “calls for improvement along the Third Avenue corridor. Included in the agreement is more visible police presence, foot beats at hotspots, and continued use of non-traditional strategies to address low-level drug offenses.” Though crime in some areas has dropped, one group is still concerned.
The report comes on the heels of a Third Avenue stabbing, and a February letter from the DSA calling for more police activity at Westlake Park just a block away. Part of the DSA letter reads, “Unfortunately, criminal and illegal activity persists within and adjacent to Westlake Park. Drug dealing and possession, assaults, littering, and pedestrian interference continue to negatively impact the perception of the park, the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent businesses and residences.” Citywide, according to police, crime has reduced however police note, ”West Precinct posted an increase in Major Crimes in 2012, up 3% compared with 2011.” You can see their major reported crimes stats below. The city will continue patrols on Third Avenue as long as the demand for illegal drugs remains, and addiction is treated with jail time. And while addiction exists, it appears, Third Avenue will be open for business.
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