Tag Archives: Public Safety

OPINION | Bail, Ransom, Wealth Transfer, and Real Community Safety

by Sadé A. Smith


Inequitable bail laws allow bail companies to extort the poor for the little wealth they have. By working as a proxy for the courts’ cash bail system, bail companies are allowed to engage in extreme wealth transfers in exchange for your freedom. In reality, the U.S. legal system has normalized ransoms. Here’s how it works: If you are charged with a crime but not convicted, the court has the option to set bail. If you can’t afford to post bail, you are stuck in jail pretrial, despite being presumed innocent until proven guilty. You are caged until your case resolves. This process can take years. The courts make their determination based on the statements of police and charges determined by prosecutors. You have no way to refute these frequently baseless allegations. The court presumes the police are telling the truth, despite mountains of evidence that police lie in reports regularly. To obtain your freedom, you must pay the full amount to the court or pay 10% to 15% of the bond ordered by the court to a bail company. The bail company pays the full amount and will be reimbursed once the case resolves. In short, you exchange your limited resources for your freedom. The bail company keeps the 10% to 15% you paid no matter what, even if they are fully reimbursed by the court. They also secure collateral for the full amount. If you fail to appear in court (at times for any reason), and the court forfeits your bond, the bond company keeps your 10% to 15% and can collect on the collateral you signed over in exchange for your freedom. In any other circumstance, a contract leveraging your freedom in exchange for money would be null and void, but the criminal legal system allows it. Already economically depressed families have lost homes, vehicles, and other property as a result. In a disparate system that we know is racist, the central question should be, what about having money makes you safer for the community?

Continue reading OPINION | Bail, Ransom, Wealth Transfer, and Real Community Safety

OPINION | We Must Listen to the Students

by Mark Epstein and Michael Dixon


Almost 60 years ago, in the middle of two decades of civil rights activism that changed our country,  James Baldwin delivered a speech to teachers, in which he declared that the purpose of education is for students to look critically at their society and to have a vision of change they are willing to fight for. Without such a perspective, he says, we will perish, or follow the worst example of a Nazi youth movement.

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With Contentious Shelter Plans Canceled, CID Residents Organize Their Own Safety Solutions

by Amanda Ong


In September, King County announced plans to build a new shelter for the unhoused in SoDo, near the CID. The plan was highly controversial as there had been little to no outreach from the County to the CID about the proposal before the plan was announced. The County even seemed to avoid community input by scheduling public hearings during weekday work hours, preventing attendance from many working residents. 

Continue reading With Contentious Shelter Plans Canceled, CID Residents Organize Their Own Safety Solutions

Who Keeps Us Safe? | Episode 5: From Chinatown to Chinatown

Artwork depicting yellow text on a black background that reads "Who Keeps Us Safe"?
“Who Keeps Us Safe?” is a podcast by Asian American community organizers that explores ideas of community safety, abolition, and activism. (Artwork: Alex Chuang)

Who Keeps Us Safe? is a podcast by Asian Americans living in Seattle that explores safety, policing, and abolition in our communities and beyond. Join us monthly as we speak with organizers in the Seattle area, and reflect on their work and learnings. We hope that our listeners will use this podcast to begin and/or supplement their own conversations about safety and policing in their own communities. This is a project of PARISOL: Pacific Rim Solidarity Network, a grassroots anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, Hong Konger, Taiwanese, and Chinese* diaspora group based in Seattle. PARISOL is dedicated to local & international solidarity, community building, cultural & politicized learning, abolition, and anti-racist work.


This episode was produced for the podcast Who Keeps Us Safe? and was previously released in February 2022. The production crew is a small volunteer team of community organizers: Andy Allen, Alex Chuang, Jenn Shaffer, and Ryan Fang. 

Continue reading Who Keeps Us Safe? | Episode 5: From Chinatown to Chinatown

Community Groups Say ShotSpotter in Proposed Mayoral Budget May Harm South End

by Lauryn Bray


On Sept. 27, 2022, Mayor Bruce Harrell delivered his budget proposal for 2023, which included a $10 million increase in funding for the Regional Homelessness Authority, a $1 million increase to the $6 million budget for projects designed to reduce traffic collisions in the Rainier Valley, and pay increases for homelessness service providers. The budget also outlines increased spending for police, using the JumpStart payroll tax for non-JumpStart programs, moving the City’s parking enforcement back to the Seattle Police Department, and installing ShotSpotters in Rainier Beach. As Bruce Harrell attempts to follow through with his campaign promise to address public safety concerns, he seeks to undo the abolition efforts of the 2020–2022 state of civil unrest.

Continue reading Community Groups Say ShotSpotter in Proposed Mayoral Budget May Harm South End

OPINION | What Seattle Mayor Harrell’s Budget Will Reveal on City’s Core Beliefs

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article is co-published with The Seattle Times.)


Next week will go far in determining the sincerity of our city’s rhetoric around “reimagining,” “rethinking,” and “re-envisioning” public safety.

Continue reading OPINION | What Seattle Mayor Harrell’s Budget Will Reveal on City’s Core Beliefs

OPINION | South King County Mayors Believe Increased Incarceration Is the Path to Public Safety — They’re Wrong.

by Gennette Cordova


Earlier this month, eight mayors in South King County issued an open letter to their King County and Washington State criminal justice partners expressing frustration with crime in their cities. Rather than emphasizing the importance of nurturing and stabilizing their communities through non-carceral alternatives, they leaned into the same punitive solutions that have proven to be ineffective in increasing public safety.

Continue reading OPINION | South King County Mayors Believe Increased Incarceration Is the Path to Public Safety — They’re Wrong.

Who Keeps Us Safe? | Episode 2: CID Not for Sale

Artwork depicting yellow text on a black background that reads "Who Keeps Us Safe"?
“Who Keeps Us Safe?” is a podcast by Asian American community organizers that explores ideas of community safety, abolition, and activism. (Artwork: Alex Chuang)

Who Keeps Us Safe? is a podcast by Asian Americans living in Seattle that explores safety, policing, and abolition in our communities and beyond. Join us monthly as we speak with organizers in the Seattle area, and reflect on their work and learnings. We hope that our listeners will use this podcast to begin and/or supplement their own conversations about safety and policing in their own communities. This is a project of PARISOL: Pacific Rim Solidarity Network, a grassroots anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, Hong Konger, Taiwanese, and Chinese* diaspora group based in Seattle. PARISOL is dedicated to local & international solidarity, community building, cultural & politicized learning, abolition, and anti-racist work.


This episode was produced for the podcast Who Keeps Us Safe? (WKUS) and was previously released in September 2021. The production crew is a small volunteer team of community organizers: Andy Allen, Alex Chuang, Jenn Shaffer, and Ryan Fang. Together, they record their conversations with other Seattle organizers and explore the idea of community safety. For their second episode, they caught word of a demonstration sponsored by the CID Coalition, where they were protesting the opening of a building which houses high-value, luxury condominiums in the Chinatown-International District (CID). The demonstration took place on June 25, 2021. Later, the WKUS team sat down with some members of the CID Coalition to talk more about gentrification and how this connects with ideas of safety.

Continue reading Who Keeps Us Safe? | Episode 2: CID Not for Sale

Rainier Beach Action Coalition and Community Continue Public Safety Efforts

by Elizabeth Turnbull


Before the issue of community safety came to the forefront of the nation’s conscience after the BLM protests in 2020, members of the Rainier Beach community and the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) had already been working for several years to build a greater sense of safety in their own community. 

Continue reading Rainier Beach Action Coalition and Community Continue Public Safety Efforts

Changes Needed to Improve Police Response to Missing Indigenous Persons Cases

by Elizabeth Turnbull


On Thursday, May 19, Seattle City Councilmembers and organizers with the Seattle Indian Health Board urged the Seattle Police Department (SPD) to change its racial identification protocol and to collaborate with local tribal law enforcement in order to better respond to missing and murdered Indigenous person cases. 

Continue reading Changes Needed to Improve Police Response to Missing Indigenous Persons Cases