7/29/2014

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McGinn gets earful about Belltown violence

McGinn gets earful about Belltown violence
SEATTLE -- Belltown residents and business owners came out en masse to a Friday town hall meeting to tell Mayor Mike McGinn that they're fed up with the crime in their neighborhood.

The people who showed up to the meeting are well aware of the recent bursts of violence seen in their neighborhood.

A New Year's Eve shooting at the Copper Cart only helped solidify the bar's reputation among some as one of the most dangerous in the neighborhood.

The bar's new manager, Jason Roberts, has heard the complaints.

"It was catering to a thuggish, roguish type of crowd," he said.

At the meeting, Roberts said he wants to change that perception.

"We're looking at changing our entire image, the name of the club, the clientele, gang-banger type of person coming there," he said.

But residents know the problem goes well beyond one bar.

"I'm frightened, I'm furious, I don't care -- arrest people," said one Belltown resident.

That's exactly what police say they're doing. Despite two murders in the neighborhood last year, new statistics show the overall rate of violence is down in Belltown, and police say that's because they've upped their patrols in the neighborhood.

A new study shows it's a small percentage of people who are causing most of the problems in Belltown.

McGinn said he's looking for solutions to curb violent crime throughout the city.

"This is a shocking level of violence and I view this as an emergency," McGinn said. "We've seen six murders in the first month in this city."

Everyone is looking for solutions, and all want to see more policing, more prevention and more accountability.
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