Escaping Seattle – The Sociological Safety Tipping Point | Interview with John Steele | SAFETY DOC PODCAST #78 [Podcast]

[Podcast] The statute of limitations was up – so we could finally record this podcast!  Why is John Steele thinking of leaving Seattle after 24 years and where is his car’s headrest?

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After growing up in New York, John escaped to Seattle, finding the city affordable, relaxed and relatively unspoiled by rampant development. NYC had deteriorated and John noted the drug culture dominated the city – prompting his escape plan. Seattle was unspoiled and surprisingly affordable – an instant match. Microsoft was just preparing to launch the Windows operating system and Amazon was had yet to celebrate its first birthday.


I suppose all communities are always changing and John pointed out that there are many aspects of the city that he continues to enjoy such as the perk of having an Amazon order delivered to his door in an hour. However, the homeless population is burgeoning and John shares that a friend who is a police officer was directed to “stand down” if observing a person using drugs in public.  Social policies appear to be failing and property crimes and graffiti are more prevalent in the city.


John’s condo value has increased from $150,000 to $600,000 in 24 years. He has considered selling it and moving an hour away from the city. As a minimalist, he is thoughtful to not have possessions that own him, through insurance or taxes, upkeep or else bringing attention to him.


It wasn’t long ago that John’s car was stolen. His ride wasn’t new, but, as he states with a laugh, “It was the longest relationship I had been in!” The silver lining was that the police allowed him to keep the cache of stolen video games the thieves left in the trunk of car (although his missing headrest was never recovered). This underlined the reality that property crimes were rising and encroaching on his home. Then, a presumed homeless or mentally ill person darted out in front of him while he was driving his new car. He didn’t hit the person, but again the message was delivered that the city was less predictable that it had been 24 years ago.


Want to know a few borderline techniques for obtaining sensitive information? John recounts tricks of the trade he was made aware of in his decade stint as a private detective. His entertaining accounts also reveal that security protocols are easily foiled by simple approaches, such as using a TTY line to request private information.

MAJOR LEAGUE …just a bit outside…

David and John toss out a few lines from the memorable baseball comedy film Major League and Indians announcer Harry Doyle makes a cameo to give a shout out to the podcast’s sponsors. Listen in to this fun show that parses out the role that situational awareness plays as one determines if it’s finally time to move on to a “safer” residence – and if such a place even exists somewhere out there over Mount Rainier.


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Learn More About This Episode’s Guest

Find John Steele on Twitter @John_Steele99 or on YouTube at


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