NO ACCOUNTABILITY: Community Members Complain That Shoplifting Goes Unchecked In Seattle
February 7, 2020
Organizers with the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council (SSCPC) met to discuss the rising problem of shoplifting in Seattle and the perception that the crime often goes unpunished, making it harder to run a business and enabling more criminal activity.
SSCPC invited Mindy Longanecker with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office to field questions at the meeting. Attendees complained to Longanecker that shoplifters are often set free quickly even if they are arrested, as KOMO reported:
One complaint is that shoplifters are sometimes set free hours after being arrested. Mindy Longanecker with the Seattle City Attorney’s Office said the laws around holding people in custody prior to a trial are set by the state, not local prosecutors.
Attendees also complained that even when shoplifters are caught, they are often not prosecuted. Longanecker said that when deciding whether to prosecute, the city does a “cost benefit analysis” on different cases.
Community members have said the problem is getting so bad that some stores may actually shut down as a result of lost revenue.
City officials insist the problem is actually getting better, citing statistics showing shoplifting down 12 percent in the South Precinct of Seattle compared to last year.