Seattle Police Chief Diaz shares plan to address recent crime, hopes to hire more officers in 2023

It's been a violent week ending a very violent year in Seattle. 

On Tuesday, a woman was attacked and robbed by a man armed with a rock; then just hours later, police say a jogger was stabbed in Queen Anne.

"It’s really sad, I don't feel like I want to walk down here by myself anymore," Nina Graff said. 

An uneasy feeling Graff, a decades long resident of Queen Anne is now dealing with after a 21-year-old man was stabbed while jogging on the South Ship Canal Trail. 

She’s not the only one concerned.  

Two joggers were trying keep a steady pace after learning they jog daily where the victim was stabbed at 3rd and Etruria St.  

"I don't think I feel comfortable jogging on my own now, it’s pretty concerning," the jogger said. "We also recently got pepper sprays, I don't know, if it would have helped them in the situation or not, but you know, at least psychologically makes us feel a little safer," her jogging partner said. 

Jessica Howes works just feet away from where the man was attacked, she was called in to review security footage. 

"It only showed the victim walking to towards the bridge and back," Howes said. "The fact that this happened at 8:45 in the morning, greatly concerns all of us." 

Security cameras did not capture the senseless act, but like others in the area, she says this is just one of the issues plaguing the community. 

"There's been more vandalism breaking into cars," Howes said. 

A sentiment Ken Graff shares as he says he too has noticed the spike in crime. 

"We're starting to see a bunch of RVs with chop shops set up," Graff said. "Unfortunately, there's been crime in the area that's increased because of homelessness." 

Seattle Police Department Chief Adrian Diaz says officers are working to identify areas where people are living in RVs and tents and identify the level of violence around them. 

"We know that there's an increase in homelessness, we know that there's increase in people in behavioral crisis," Diaz said.  

However, this is not the first crime reported in or around trails. 

Three women have been groped while jogging along Lake Washington Boulevard. 

The latest incident was reported December 17 but date back as far as April 6. 


Police investigating claims of man groping joggers in Seattle

Seattle Police are investigating claims of a man groping joggers along Lake Washington Boulevard, dating as far back as last April.

Tuesday morning a woman was robbed and hit on the head with a rock right in the middle of downtown. 

"From around August, we're seeing this actually dip in violent crime," Diaz said. 

He admits he is alarmed and concerned by the latest stabbings and robberies we've seen across the city  but says patrols are being placed at high crime areas. 


Police: Woman bludgeoned with rock, cellphone stolen in downtown Seattle

Police seek a man who reportedly bludgeoned a woman with a rock in downtown Seattle on Tuesday.

"It is alarming when you have a case like this where somebody is literally walking in and gets stabbed," Diaz said. 

However, not everyone thinks the solution is more officers. 

"Maybe more police in the force would be great, but I don't know if that would actually solve a problem or not," Howes said. "A lot of times it could be the judicial system needs to do better. I can't answer everything, and no one can anymore. We're all getting tired of trying to answer that and it's still not working." 

"People might end up feeling there's that level of crime and level of fear, but it actually helps us these cases, by actually working with community," Diaz said. 

Overall, Chief Diaz says his department has seen a decline in shootings, so far this year 725 have been reported.  

SPD has also recovered 1260 guns – 136 just in the last month. 

Additionally, he says the Chinatown International District has also seen a massive decrease in crime. 

"Those are good wins that we're experiencing, but we're still experiencing all the social issues that we find in our city," Diaz said. 

The one issue he is struggling to really grasp the full scope of is property crime. 

"It's very hard to determine all the property crime that's going on, because sometimes people aren't reporting," Diaz said. 

His hope is for people to report it immediately or through the online reporting systems but never take matters into their own hands. 

"It ain't going to solve anything by taking people are taking things into their own hands," Diaz said. 

Diaz says one of his main goals for 2023 is hiring more officers and retaining staff--- still the department is down about 375 including homicide investigators. 

He admits it's going to take time -- years in fact, but overall says the community is headed in the right direction.