The downtown spots have a high and constant density of mostly undangerous people, involved in low level anti social behavior.
White center has a low and volatile density of somewhat dangerous people, doing some nutty stuff. Just in the past few months, I can recall: A guy got his throat slit, while driving his car, because he had given his passenger's girlfriend a ride earlier. There was an armed robbery outside of Triangle. A 59 year old got shot in the bathroom of Tug on St Patrick's Day. I lived on 16th until recently, and would flip the scanner on every time I heard sirens, just to keep a pulse. It's not chicago, but it's legitimately dicey sometimes.
With that said, I agree that we need more housing, though I think seattle is doing an excellent job of that compared to SF, and it's reflected in the flattening rent prices. We could be doing more, though. No reason we can't have significant multistory buildings in west seattle.