Seattle's judges don't feel safe in the area where their courthouse is located. The area around King County Courthouse in Seattle is near the city’s homeless-shelter beds, and this, like the last events showed, can lead to the problems.
The smell of urine and excrement, people yelling, some shady characters walking the streets – and all of this near Seattle's courthouse. Because of this situation, some judges even declined to come to their work. There are also more frightening events that happened in late May and June – some judges were attacked near the entrance to the courthouse. There were also incidents when judges and courthouse workers were punched against the wall, spat upon or punched.
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“I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Jim Rogers, one of the judges that work there. Rogers, together with the other judge – Laura Inveen and King County's Sheriff John Urquhart want to do something about this situation, which he seems as unacceptable. They asked the county for daily-wash of the sidewalks, that is littered with urine and excrement. They also asked about increasing the police presence in the area, just like removing the tents of some homeless people from the nearby park.
But not everyone sees the situation as a danger. Seattle Police Capt. Mike Teeter and also the commander of the area, says that while some of the homeless behave in a way that makes the others "uncomfortable," there is actually rarely any serious criminal activity involved. He also said, that statistically, a serious crime like murders or assaults are more likely to happen in the other parts of the city.
Seattle Times asked the local people, including the homeless ones, what they think about this situation. Some of them suggested more empathy for homeless people. "The people who are afraid probably just haven’t experienced homelessness, but experience is a great teacher,” said one of the "residents" of the park, Renee Winget. The other citizen of Seattle, that was homeless for a while, said that the homeless people around the courthouse are a “pretty docile group.”
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The county promised prompt power-washing and garbage cleanup in the area. But like Seattle Times reported, "some committee members expressed concern about addressing the symptoms of the area’s problems without getting to the cause. Councilmember Larry Gossett said he didn’t like the idea of power-washing the sidewalks because it brought back images of the use of hoses against civil-rights activists."