Seattle Residents Lament Rampant Homelessness, Drug Use

Residents in Seattle expressed frustration after a homeless encampment installed a swimming pool and engages in open drug trading. The concerns come as the city faces one of the worst homelessness crises in the nation, similar to that of other Democratic Party-dominated cities such as Portland and San Francisco.

Residents of the Washington city complained after drug deals were caught on video and gunfire is heard regularly. 

“When I hear the shooting, I stay down and away from the windows. There are times I’ve had to get on the floor in the middle of the night. It’s not safe,” one resident told local news.

An encampment in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood now includes 15 recreational vehicles and a number of tents and homeless people. In May, a man was likely murdered in the camp. 

The Seattle Mayor’s Office wrote that the city, state and King County were working on “possible short-term activation strategies following site resolution to help prevent repopulation.”

In June, the Seattle City Council rejected a measure that would have prosecuted public drug use and possession. The resolution was voted down in a 5-4 vote.

A recent poll found that 77% of the city’s residents agreed that “Seattle’s hands-off approach to people using illegal drugs in public is contributing to rampant street crime and is making it much harder for downtown to recover.”

The survey found that 63% of the public “strongly agreed” with the sentiment.

City Attorney Ann Davison said that the decision meant that “Seattle will now be the only municipality in the State of Washington where it is legal to use hard drugs in public. That means drug use on public transit and in our neighborhoods will continue unimpeded.”

Davison added that “because of the obstruction of these city council members, overdose deaths are likely to continue to climb.”

The city’s homeless issues appear to be growing in recent years. In 2022, 310 homeless people died in the city, with more than half of that number being tied to fentanyl overdoses.

The overall death count represents a 65% increase over the previous year. 

Furthermore, 18 of the total died due to homicide, which is a more than 100% increase over 2021. Another ten died due to hypothermia or exposure.