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Saturday, November 25, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Reader's View

Change the future now

Special to The Times

Today, a most unlivable city

Gang numbers are increasing, firearms use is on the rise, and the number of convicted prisoners is growing, labeling the area and suburbs of Seattle an almost non-livable place.

In a recent study, Seattle defended its name as the 262nd most crime-ridden city out of 371 cities ranked ["St. Louis is ranked most dangerous city," Times, News, Oct. 30]. Thus, the misdemeanor rate of the Seattle area is steadily increasing, and will inevitably climb on this national poll.

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske claims, "There is no substitute for sufficient police officers." If this is so, then why are police officials and the federal government releasing delinquents at the same time as crime rates are increasing?

Over the next five years, City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck is hoping to hire 250 new sworn officers. However, the crime increase is occurring here and now, and we may not have five years [to wait] for more police.

Mayor Greg Nickels and council members need to stop promising their assurance for the future, but act now before the problems are not curable any longer. Transgression is only going to become worse as debates and discussions are taking place. The council could be spending its time securing Seattle's streets rather than talking about what it is going to do in the future to prevent Seattle's crime. Therefore, action must be taken in order to cure the Seattle area of this crime epidemic.

As a student, I am extremely affected by the growing violence in my community. Students and community spectators cannot even enjoy a sporting event without hostility breaking out. At 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 27, a teen was shot across the street from Federal Way High School because of racial slurs between two different ethnic groups. At the time, a girls' soccer game and parent-teacher conferences were occurring at the school, [exposing] everyone, including students, teachers, parents and the community, to risk.

This proves it is time to take action to prevent violence for the present generation, and future families to come.

Jessika Sutcliff, 14, is a ninth-grader in Steven Hall's Social Studies class at Todd Beamer High School. She lives in Federal Way.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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