(The Center Square) – A string of shootings near the University of Washington's Seattle campus have turned heads to city officials for answers.
On Oct. 1, a 21-year-old man was struck and killed by a driver fleeing a shooting. On Oct. 2, four students from UW were shot outside of a local bar.
Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen represents the residents of the University District. He sees the past weekend’s shootings at “unacceptable levels.”
“I’ve visited each crime scene, communicated with public safety officials and I look forward to continuing collaboration with local law enforcement and other agencies and nonprofits to increase gun safety measures – and increase police patrols for faster response times,” Pedersen said in a statement.
According to the Seattle Police Department’s crime dashboard, there have been five non-fatal shootings and two fatal shootings in the University District through the first eight months. There was only one non-fatal and one fatal shooting in the district in all of 2021.
The alarming surge in crime throughout the city influenced Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s 2023-24 biennial proposed budget. He is proposing nearly half of Harrell’s proposed $1.6 billion general fund would be dedicated to public safety.
The Seattle Police Department would go from a budget of $355.5 million in 2022 to $375.7 million in 2023. The department’s budget would increase another $10 million to $385.6 million in 2024 if adopted by the Seattle City Council.
"My budget prioritizes public safety because we don't need more events like those of this weekend to recognize the danger gun violence poses to our communities,” Harrell said in an email to The Center Square.
Harrell added that his office is working with the University of Washington to continue developing strategies to improve safety for students and other residents of the University District.
Sally Clark, the interim vice president for Campus Community Safety at the university, acknowledged the school has been in frequent communications with city officials to prevent violence on students in an email to The Center Square.
Clark said police investigations for the shootings are ongoing and advised students to use the safety escort services the school provides every night.