Seattle Police are employing a new way of patrolling the streets. In four so-called hot spots in the West Precinct, officers are walking their beats instead of driving, and it appears to be cutting crime.
Officer Erik Warner's new command is to walk the streets and mingle. He is assigned to stroll downtown's Second and Pike to get out in front of crime.
"Once you get a 911 call, call for service, it’s too late, something’s already happened. I’m here before anything’s gone wrong,” he said.
The West Precinct foot patrol "crime hot spots" include the International District, Pioneer Square at 2nd and Yesler, The Pike/Pine Corridor at 3rd Avenue and Belltown on First Avenue.
Officer John Paquette, who is usually assigned to Magnolia, is on foot in Hing Hay Park in the International District.
The walking cops are being noticed.
"They ask, ‘Is the community OK? Is it quiet, peaceful?" said John Poston, Golden Star Deli.
"It seems like they're on the street level, to let people know they're in the neighborhood,” said Tiffany Ran, NW Asian Weekly.
The west precinct commander says the new walking system cut 911 calls by 60 percent in the first week.
"We've known random patrol doesn’t work. we've known that since the mid 1970s,” said Captain James Dermody
The hope is that foot patrolling will reduce the number of random shootings and gun battles on Seattle streets and break Seattle's troubling cycle - 22 murders so far this year.