My brother has lived in Seattle for over 20 years now. Never once reported any of the problems you're describing.
while the op was wrong in stating the police are not allowed to act, its quite condescending to suggest there aren’t parts of most large towns where the police often refrain from, let’s say, giving it their all.
So do you live live in any of these neighborhoods AMR1980?
1. South Park
Located south of Downtown Seattle, South Park has a crime rate that is 187-percent higher than the national average making it the most dangerous neighborhood in Seattle. A major contributor to this rate is the motor vehicle theft risk which 48-percent higher than the national average. There are 23.25 daily crimes that occur in the neighborhood for every 100,000 people and you have a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim at any given time.
there are many communities in many cities where the police simply cannot handle the volume of calls. When that happens they prioritize the crimes. Property crimes go to the bottom of the list and often result in absolutely no response by the police. They have limited manpower and respond to crimes of violence. We’ve all seen this in our lives in one way or another. When I was a kid, any motor vehicle accident resulted in a cop showing up. Now, in many areas if there was no personal injury and no need for a tow truck the cops tell the people to exchange info and go about their way. They simply do not have the manpower to go to every crime scene.
I don't think anyone is questioning that there are high crime areas in Seattle. What most of us are questioning is the OPs position that the police aren't making, by policy, property crime arrests.
When a system becomes overtaxed the administrators of the service provided have to make cuts so as to be able to maintain critical services. When speaking of police services and the court system, property crimes are the first to get ignored.
In a bit of reading I have found similar claims.
Well, I posted a link to King County arrests and at the time there were many property crime arrests in that last 24 hours. That pretty much proves there is not a department-wide policy to not make such arrests.
Sad as it is to admit, property crimes are not a priority in many jurisdictions today. Many county prosecutors have, in recent years - including the past few months - publicly proclaimed that they will NOT prosecute many property crimes. Period. And for the last several years, many law enforcement agencies have had to de-prioritize these offenses to the point where they are effectively not enforced. Not responding in a timely manner has the same effect as not pursuing it.
And, yes, there may have been many arrests for property crimes, but consider that those are only the ones they received ... and how many of them were cited and released? And how many will ultimately be prosecuted? In my state the answer for many (most?) counties would be "almost none" ... from what I have read about in King County, WA (and heard from officers there), the answer is similar.
The downside to all of this is that the public tends to give up even calling the police for lesser offenses and property crimes because they know that the response will be minimal, if at all, and they may have to wait for hours. This leads to either or both a lack of reporting (and skewed stats), or over-reaction and vigilantism by a frustrated public.
While the OP may have factually erred in his assumption that the police "aren't allowed" to make an arrest, response and prosecutor priorities have likely contributed to that impression. And the OP is not alone in this.
Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher
Walk humbly with your God
-- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM