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Letter-to-Editor: Neighborhood watches will not keep us safe

With our local election around the corner, I read your coverage of Riaz Khan’s Mukilteo City Council reelection bid.

I was troubled by his assertion that he’d “like to see more robust neighborhood watches and community policing to help protect both life and property in our city,” because neighborhood watches and community policing efforts have a long history of exacerbating racial profiling and discrimination, along with classist notions of who and what is “suspicious.” 

Neighborhood watches were established in the early 1960s, largely as a surveilling and oppressive response to the civil rights movement. As such, I strongly disagree that they would help keep Mukilteo’s communities safe in an equitable and just manner. In fact, neighborhood watches and community policing are known to be ineffective in creating long-term safety and prosperity for people and businesses.

I encourage Councilmember Khan and all of our local elected officials to help our unhoused neighbors – not surveil and police them – by working to increase the availability of permanent supportive housing for those struggling with homelessness, along with truly affordable housing for all residents.

A ‘housing first’ approach to homelessness and associated survival crimes has been proven to be overwhelmingly effective in other cities and I hope to see Mukilteo’s leaders implement these best practices moving forward.

Lorie Stewart, Mukilteo resident

3 thoughts on “Letter-to-Editor: Neighborhood watches will not keep us safe

  • “Marl Karx” , how unimaginative! If you’re too sensitive or AFRAID to use your real name, then please refrain from bashing Mrs Lorie Stewart for not sharing her personal deets with thousands of strangers.
    You must see the irony of your response Mr Anonymous!

    • “Dr” Travis,

      By calling me “Mr. Anonymous” you are misgendering me. Perhaps not on purpose, but if you’re not sure of someone’s gender you should ask before you assume, and make sure to use gender neutral pronouns and language. I may have what is a foreign, unfamiliar name to you, but please try to be inclusive of others so that we may all be able to take part equitably in this diverse community.

  • Letter to Lorie Stewart:

    You’re welcome to invite as many of our “unhoused neighbors” into your own home as you want.

    Given your feelings on the subject, it seems rather off that your letter doesn’t mention a single instance of you having taken direct action to house even a single one of these fine individuals.

    This isn’t because you’re engaging in racial profiling, discrimination, being classist, or oppressive to civil rights, is it? One would hope not, given your passionate advocacy for our unfortunate “neighbors” that are hit so hard by simply being “unhoused”. Surely you live somewhere and could help “house” someone in a spare bedroom, on the couch, or even on a cot if you don’t have a couch. Is it “equitable” or “just” for you to not share the resources you have with these unfortunate folx?

    Please show the community that you’re sincere by putting your money where your mouth is and take direct action to help our “unhoused neighbors”. Post your address or a phone number where people can get in touch with you for the direct help that you clearly know best how to provide.


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