EDITORIAL | Welcoming this war on drugs

Within days after the city introduced its new “9 1/2 Block Strategy” to combat illegal activity in the main downtown retail and business core, more than 100 people were arrested for selling various kinds of drugs.

This “concerted, multi-pronged approach,” as described to The Seattle Times by Scott Lindsay, the mayor’s special assistant on public safety, involves the participation of police; prosecutors at the federal, county and city levels; social service providers; Metro Transit; and newspaper vendors.

If the strategy continues to be successful, the city plans to use it in Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods where illegal activity has been increasing.

Though city officials have been working on this since January, downtown business owners, residents and commuters have been seeking some remedy to the situation for years. It was only because of their “complaining,” as Mayor Ed Murray called it in the Times, that the city finally coordinated efforts with other agencies.

The Seattle Police Department is using a similar tactic in 55 specific neighborhoods, with “Micro-Community Policing Plans.” These target each area’s policing priorities, whether they are drugs, burglaries, assaults, bar noise or illegal parking.

It’s about time the city stopped its one-size-fits-all approach to solving crime in Seattle because that obviously hasn’t worked, based on the increasing number of crimes over the years. The “war” on drugs in downtown and other illegal activities in other parts of the city is just what Seattle needs to clean up its image for its visitors and its residents.