EDITOR’S NOTE: South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce.

City of SeaTac 2021 Economic Development Outreach Project survey feedback area map. Areas of concern for public safety are represented by dots, which are mostly in the central/south end areas of the city.

On Thursday morning, May 19, 2022, an online forum was held by the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce regarding Public Safety for SeaTac Businesses.

This free Zoom event was intended for local businesses interested in “being more engaged or receiving more information about local public safety issues.”

This event featured four consortium hosts which included the Chamber, City of SeaTac, Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority.

Attendance was around 28 or so, and included many SeaTac businesspeople interested in public safety, as well as city staffers, police, residents and others.

The event was emceed by outgoing chamber CEO/President Andrea Reay.

Featured Speakers included:

    • ​Evan Maxim, City of SeaTac, Director of Community & Economic Developmen
    • Tanja Carter, City of SeaTac Economic Development Strategist
    • ​Mark Everton, Seattle Southside RTA
    • Rich Shockley, SBDC

The meeting started with an overview by Reay and introductions from attendees, before Economic Development Strategist Tanja Carter did a presentation on the City of SeaTac’s Business Synergy outreach program (download PDF here).

Five hundred airport and travel-related businesses were selected for outreach through the city’s survey, and 142 provided feedback.

Survey results identified five common areas of concern in the SeaTac business community:

    • Public safety
    • Homelessness
    • Workforce
    • Consumption (demand)
    • Public aesthetic

Public Safety was the most prevalent topic indicated by survey respondents.

SeaTac Police Chief Jon Mattsen also spoke during the discussion portion of the forum, and shared what police are trying to do to help.

“Most of our crime is centered south of the city,” Mattsen said. “So how are we going to try to address our northern partners and respond as quickly as we can? Well, one of the things that is going to council in the next week is to build out the community office space for our community engagement detective who will work out of the north end of the city, and the hope is that by stationing somebody in the north end of the city they’ll be able to respond quicker.”

The importance of reporting crimes was also mentioned numerous times, as good policing is based mostly on data, so when law enforcement knows more about what kinds and where crimes are, they can react and patrol better.

“Our little city here has changed dramatically in terms of the type of individuals coming in,” Mattsen added. “There’s a number of reasons that that has happened and we’re not unaware – but it’s individuals who are going through some type of crisis, some type of individual issue, or just because maybe they have other things in the way. Other individuals have crept into the city and so it’s getting more and more of a challenge for us to deal with that. However, we’re trying to do the best that we can on a daily basis, but we need those reports for that crime reported so we can address it the way that we need to address it in on our end.”

Mattsen also offered to help teach business owners how best to report crimes at a future forum.

The next chamber forum on public safety will most likely happen within the next three months.