‘Criminals and thugs have laid claim to downtown’: Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and other Seattleites share their frustrations

I have worked on Third Avenue since 1996. During this time, I watched Third Avenue become an open-air market of drugs and stolen goods, and other criminal activities. I have witnessed shoplifting at nearly every store; stores close due to shoplifting; people defecate in the streets; people injecting heroin; and untreated addiction and mental illness cause heartbreaking misery. My suburban friends have stopped coming downtown.

Criminals and thugs have laid claim to downtown, and Durkan and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best have done little or nothing to thwart criminal activity that I, or any other brave Seattle citizen, can witness — night or day — by walking Third Avenue between Pike and Pine.

Letters to the Editor, Seattle Times

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Yet some employees and managers said these new measures would do little to address the deeper problems that have made the several-block area between Pike Street and Denny Way — an area nicknamed “The Blade” — into a magnet for criminals and drug dealers as well as people struggling with homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues. Many described a sense of powerlessness in the face of a constant presence of petty criminals who often seem to operate with impunity.

Seattle Times