City That Led the 'Defund the Police' Movement Now Becomes Number One City People Want to Leave

Data from the Household Pulse Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and several other federal agencies, shows that Seattle, Washington, has the highest percentage of people who feel pressure to move due to crime concerns out of any of the 15 largest metro areas in the United States.

About 7% of adults in the greater Seattle area, representing approximately 227,000 people, have felt pressure to move in the last six months. This unfortunate result is due to the failure of the city's progressive policies and movements, according to an expert interviewed by Fox News Digital.

Seattle has adopted many of the soft-on-crime policies that are popular with many on the left today, said Zack Smith, legal fellow and manager of the Supreme Court and Appellate Advocacy Program in the Heritage Foundation's Meese Center. Homicides increased by 24% last year in Seattle, while motor vehicle thefts increased by 30%, and overall crime increased by 4%. Police staffing fell to a 30-year low in 2022 as a result of the defund movement, as officers retired and moved to other departments in droves.

During the summer of 2020, Seattle government officials essentially ceded operational control of several blocks in downtown Seattle, allowing Black Lives Matter protesters to take control of the streets and create CHOP, which they’d initially dubbed the CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, declaring it a "cop-free zone." Crime skyrocketed in the area as a result and led to the shooting death of a teenage boy whose father ultimately sued the city for negligence.

Shop owners have been sounding the alarm for years about how the rampant crime is driving them out of business, and boarded-up storefronts have become a common sight in Seattle. As crime rose, officials in Seattle have taken a soft approach on prosecuting drug crimes as recently as June when the city council rejected a bill that would have allowed the city attorney to prosecute public drug use and possession.

Seattle's mayor reversed course earlier this year and pushed for increased funding for the police for the first time since the city slashed the police budget in 2020 following the George Floyd riots. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to reverse the trend of rising crime and pressure to leave the city.

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