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Rampant crime outside King Co. courthouse frustrates council, cops

Police and deputies patrol outside the King County Courthouse. (KOMO News photo)

SEATTLE - Police are making progress in their crackdown on rampant crime and violence outside the King County Courthouse - but is it enough?

That's the question that will confront King County Council members at their Tuesday morning meeting.

After horror stories of jurors and others being chased down the street - and others afraid to even show up at the courthouse for fear of what might happen - the county put $400,000 toward spraying down sidewalks and assigning extra deputies to the area about a year ago.

But the problem persisted, so police expanded an operation to pinpoint and arrest drug dealers in the area around Third Avenue and Yesler Way.

Over the past two months, officers say they have made five violent crime arrests and referred 11 people to get help from housing, mental health and drug treatment programs.

It's not a huge number - especially considering that in a year's time police responded to more than 500 assault or threat calls in the area, along with 656 robberies and 78 drug-related calls.

So now King County council members will look at the next steps - to determine what is working and what other options they have to keep business at the courthouse on track.

It's an urgent question, because the government and justice system cannot function if citizes are afraid to go near the courthouse.

A KOMO News team will be at the council's 9:30 a.m. meeting to keep viewers informed about the council's decisions.

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