Photo courtesy of Kristen Gregory via the Federal Way Police Department’s Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of Kristen Gregory via the Federal Way Police Department’s Facebook page.

Federal Way mayor responds to surge of crime, violence in South Sound

November is Federal Way’s second deadliest month with three homicides so far.

In response to increasing violent crimes, burglaries and shoplifting, Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell released a statement on Nov. 29 to conduct a coordinated effort between South King County cities.

Two recent shootings in Kent — during which a Federal Way man was killed on Nov. 26 — are the latest violent crime acts in the area. So far this year in Federal Way, there have been 10 homicides and a steady rise in car thefts and burglaries, among other crimes.

November was the second deadliest month in Federal Way with three homicides, exceeded by four homicides in Federal Way in July.

“Due to the unacceptable rise of crime and violence in our City and across the region, I have reached out to the Mayors of Auburn, Kent, Renton, and Tukwila, as well as the administrative offices of Des Moines and SeaTac to jointly convene a meeting to discuss a coordinated effort to combat and reduce these violent and egregious acts from occurring in our communities,” Ferrell wrote in a statement posted to social media.

Ferrell stated he is planning to reach out to King County Executive Dow Constantine’s office to create a meeting between the King County Prosecutor’s Office, King County Adult and Juvenile Detention and other parties to address the rise in crime and bring those committing the crimes to justice.

In addition to regional efforts, Ferrell said the leaders will convene a Retail Safety Summit to address property crimes such as shoplifting, car thefts and burglaries.

“These are quality of life crimes and the people of our community need to know they are safe either at home or when out shopping,” Ferrell wrote.

“We will not sit by while criminals take advantage of weakened drug laws, lack of prosecutions, and unnecessary restrictions caused by newly passed state legislation,” Ferrell wrote. “As the State Legislature prepares for the 2022 Legislative Session, Federal Way will strongly advocate for changes to Washington drug laws and policy and look for ways to strengthen public safety laws.”

On Nov. 22, Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang wrote an op-ed for the Mirror addressing the surge of violence in November, outlining how the department is addressing violence in the community.

“We are currently in a drug epidemic, which is fueling much of the violence. Much of the shootings Federal Way is experiencing are drug deals gone bad or have a nexus to drugs. It is nearly impossible to predict where drug dealers will meet or where their violence will erupt,” Hwang wrote.

“As a region, we must have the political will to curtail the demand for drugs and pass stricter laws to hold offenders accountable in order to reduce the level of gun violence and other crimes that are impacting the quality of life in our communities.

Changes in our public environment with the drug epidemic and its reduced accountability for offenders in Washington are contributing factors in the lawlessness that is occurring in our region and in Federal Way. It will take a lot of people working together to reverse this trend.”

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