It is now! Local mayors and law enforcement ask for help

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A public safety message from your police chiefs, mayors, sheriffs and elected officials | Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Washington, September 22, 2022—A video released today by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office featuring local mayors, police chiefs and county council members asking for the public’s help in urging their Washington state representative to give the police more authority to engage in prosecutions.

In 2021, the Washington State Legislature banned most police pursuits with the passage of ESHB-1054 along party lines which, according to the video, has emboldened criminals and led to an 88% increase in car thefts in Washington State.

The 5 minute 15 second video opens with Sheriff Adam Fortney sharing the consequences local law enforcement faces on the ground. From vehicles used as weapons to assault police officers to police dragged by vehicles. Washington Association of Police and Sheriffs executive director Steven Strachan said lawmakers “made the specific decision to continue to allow flagrant disregard of the law” after mayors and law enforcement demanded help.

“My fellow Snohomish County Mayors and I share a deep and growing concern for the safety of our communities due to the growing crime wave we are seeing,” Everrett Mayor Cassie Franklin says in the video. She was joined by Mayor Barbara Tolbert of Arlington, Mayor Brett Gailey of Lake Stevens, Mayor Jon Nehring of Marysville and Mayor Russell Witta of Sultan.

Violent crime in Washington state increased 12.3% in 2021, according to a report published in July by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), while the number of officers able to respond decreased by 4.4% (a net loss of 495 statewide). Washington State retains its ranking as the lowest in the nation for commissioned officers per thousand residents. Local officials criticize this exodus over laws passed by the state legislature and fear that victims will suffer twice – first from the incident, then from the inability to apprehend the perpetrator.

“Fewer police means less ability to bring justice to victims,Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett Shares Video.

“There is a victim behind each of these crimes,” Sheriff Fortney added. “They need us to act so that their voice is heard.”

Councilman Nate Nehring criticized the State vs. Blake Decision of February 25, 2021, which declared unconstitutional the law governing the simple possession of control substances, for having made it difficult to treat people suffering from drug addiction.

County Councilman Sam Low shared that the state of New Jersey has lifted its restrictions on police prosecutions earlier this year due to the sharp rise in auto theft.

According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) Press release in March, “Cities across the United States have seen an unprecedented increase in auto thefts and carjackings in recent years.” The NICB, which collects data on car thefts nationwide, found that car thefts nationwide increased by 16.5% in 2021 compared to 2019 and nearly 29% from compared to 2017.

According to a King 5 segment in the video, in the first two months of 2021 car owners in Washington State reported 4,552 vehicle thefts, but in 2022 that number is 8,320 during the same period. The Restricted Prosecution Act makes it harder to apprehend car thieves and criminals know it.

With auto insurance rates go up In general, the potential for increased auto insurance premiums could soon add to the financial burden that many are experiencing during the post-COVID recession. Insurers treat a car theft claim as if the vehicle had been destroyed. Full coverage will generally pay the actual cash value of your car, minus its deductible.

Overall, the NICB reports that there were 880,595 vehicle thefts nationwide in 2020, or about one vehicle stolen every 36 seconds, compared to 794,019 in 2019.

Top 10 Stolen Vehicles
Rank Brand and model Flights 2020 Most common model year flown
1 Ford Full Size Pickup Truck 44,014 2006
2 Chevrolet Full Size Pickup Truck 40,968 2004
3 Honda-Civic 34 144 2000
4 Honda Accord 30,814 1997
5 Toyota Camry 16,915 2019
6 Nissan Altima 14,668 2020
seven GMC Full Size Pickup Truck 13,016 2005
8 Toyota Corolla 12,515 2020
9 Honda CR-V 12,309 2000
ten Dodge Full Size Pickup Truck 11,991 2001
Source: Hot Wheels: NICB Auto Theft Annual Report, National Insurance Crime Bureau, October 2021.

All of the people in the video are urging the public to contact their state legislature at leg.wa.gov/legislature or call 800-562-6000 to demand justice for victims and change laws to give police more authority to prosecute.

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