Two-thirds of Seattle residents ‘actively considered’ moving over violent crime, rampant homelessness — now they want to bulk up the police force

A whopping two-thirds of Seattle residents have considered moving out of the progressive Pacific Northwest city due to its rapidly deteriorating quality of life, according to the results of a new public survey.

What are the details?

Disgruntled residents made clear their dissatisfaction with the city’s leadership in a new poll released by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce on Monday, highlighting the high cost of living and the surge in violent crime and homelessness as top reasons to ditch the city in exchange for a new home.

Overall, 67% of poll respondents — including majorities form every demographic — said they had “actively considered” moving out of the city in recent months. While Republicans and independents were more likely to voice consideratio of moving, a majority of Democrats and socialists also said they wanted out.

What factors are driving residents out of the city? More than 60% said homelessness remained their primary concern, while 46% listed crime/public safety, and 22% cited affordability/housing. Meanwhile, comparatively few — just 11% — listed racial issues/policing as their primary concern.

In a press release regarding the poll, the chamber noted that the number of voters citing crime/public safety as their primary concern grew by 17 points since the poll was last conducted in August.

An overwhelming number of residents said that “addressing violent crime and gun violence,” “property crime like theft and car break-ins,” and “closing encampments in parks, on sidewalks, [and] public ways” would have the greatest impact on improving quality of life in the city.

Moreover, residents signaled strong support for bulking up the city’s police force to address crime and homelessness and flatly rejected the city council’s anti-police approach to public safety.

“Voters do not trust the city council on police reform and they strongly prefer an approach that includes fundamental reform and hiring more officers rather than an approach that focuses on defunding the police and de-criminalizing non-violent offenders,” the chamber said in a poignant summary statement.

Why does it matter?

The disastrous poll results put Seattle in line with other floundering progressive cities in the U.S. — such as San Francisco — that have struggled to keep up resident morale amid rising violent crime and homelessness.

Last April, a study found that of all the major U.S. cities, San Francisco lost the most residents in 2019 and 2020, with a great many moving to conservative states like Florida and Texas.

Not surprisingly, Seattle was third on the list behind New York City. And judging from this most recent poll, the Emerald City could soon overtake San Francisco as the mass exodus leader.



Phil Shiver