Seattle’s anti-police policies and lax punishment of crimes are leading to an explosion in armed robberies at high schools in the region. Recent reports indicate a wave of robberies on campuses has led to students and parents fearing for their safety. Due to the city’s police policies, law enforcement is not allowed on campus without permission from administrators, creating the perfect opportunity for criminals to rob students without fear of being apprehended.
The most recent example happened at Auburn Riverside High School in which masked and armed robbers entered the locked campus after a student let them in. The thieves brazenly ran through the halls of the school robbing students for wallets, cell phones, and cash before exiting the campus. No arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.
Two other schools have seen a significant increase in crime as thieves simply wait for students on their way to or from campus and then rob them. The incidents are happening often enough that students are becoming complacent about the violent encounters.
A student at Ballard High School, one of the hardest hit campuses, reported that the armed robbers are only “a little scary” as the level of violence and crime has skyrocketed in the area and it has become normal for students to expect to be robbed. Some students have even said they feel lucky to be robbed and not beaten up by the thieves.
Seattle police have issued warnings to families in the region and have stepped up patrols, however, due to abysmal staffing levels, law enforcement is unable to provide comprehensive security.
Seattle police say they will add extra patrols, when staffing allows, to deal with a series of armed robberies in the neighborhood around Ballard High School. The thieves are going after students as they walk home from class. Live on KOMO-TV at 11pm pic.twitter.com/cVhmjlHZV5
— Joel Moreno (@JoelMorenoKOMO) October 21, 2023
The robbers have been working in teams of four to six individuals wearing ski masks and hoodies to conceal their identities. Most of the incidents have been simple robberies, though a few students have also been assaulted. So far, none of the robberies have resulted in serious bodily injury, but it is only a matter of time before one of these incidents turns deadly.
In June, Seattle police began investigating a string of home invasion robberies initially believed to be the work of teenage suspects. The robberies target elderly Asian residents, some of whom are forced at gunpoint to surrender cash, jewelry, cell phones, and other valuables. A recent incident was caught on camera in which two armed men, one holding a pistol and the other using a taser to subdue a man in South Seattle. The robbery happened in public during the day, an act that would only happen if the thieves were certain that law enforcement would be unavailable to stop them.
In September, Seattle police arrested six suspects, five of whom are adults ranging in age from 24 years old to 34 years old. A 16-year-old was also arrested in connection with the robberies. Despite the fact that the thieves targeted Asian individuals, King County prosecutors say they are unlikely to file hate crime charges. Prosecutors explain that the individuals were “easy marks” rather than the victims being racially targeted.