Nightlife on Capitol Hill has always been known for being vibrant and diverse, but over the past month violent crime has started to become a regular occurrence in the neighborhood. Capitol Hill Blog publishes community news and has reported on the crimes. A quick read of the CHS Blog and you’ll notice that violent crime continues to happen on a regular basis these days. The most recent reports include:
- December 27, 7:00 AM, 12th and E John St., Robbery as a woman was kicked as she struggled to hold onto her bag and was pulled to the ground while waiting at a bus stop. The suspect is still at large.
- December 26, 7:45 p.m., Volunteer Park, Robbery by a man posing as police with ‘a gold badge.’ The suspect is still at large.
- December 25, 11:00 PM, Belmont Ave E., Robbery at gunpoint for the victims’ phone outside the their apartment on. The suspect is still at large.
- December 25, 10:00 PM, 15th Ave. E., Assault and robbery as two men attacked then mugged a man for an iPhone. The suspects are still at large.
- December 25, Sound Transit art program reports that one of the art pieces hanging on the red construction wall has been stolen. The police have no leads.
- December 25, 511 E Pike St., Kaladi Brothers Café reported stolen cash and damage to their POS system, while Gay City Health Project reports their library computer stolen. The police have no leads or suspects.
Nearly all of these reports mention the use of weapons such as knives and guns. SOSea met with Seattle Police Department (SPD) officials in late December to find out the police response to the recent increase in violent crime. SPD officials told SOSea that there aren’t enough officers to deal with the increase in violent crime.
The SPD police report map displays data that is easily accessed and searched within specific time frames. In the past month the SPD have reported 16 Assault, 27 burglary, 18 car prowl, 6 robbery, and 8 vehicle theft cases on Capitol Hill.
SOSea leadership has scheduled a followup meeting with East Precinct Commander, Capt. Ron Wilson, on January 10 to address our concerns and will discuss the actions that SOSea and SAFE are willing to take if improvements aren’t made to guarantee safety returns to the neighborhood’s streets.
One action that SOSea Founder Shaun Knittel says he will take is to organize a series of protests called Five Night of Visibility on Capitol Hill. According to Knittel, at midnight groups of interested citizens would rally, make noise, patrol and chant – by the hundreds – through the streets. This would send a message to criminals that our neighborhood belongs to us and that they are not welcome here as well as act as a wake-up call to neighborhood residents that this increase of criminal activity should be shared by everyone in the neighborhood — not just the people that have been attacked.
SOSea has made the SAFE program the lead on helping make the neighborhood safe again and asked that we educate people on personal safety. As a resident and someone who works in a Capitol Hill nightclub, this task is especially important to me. I have become very concerned for my own personal safety, as well as the safety of my friends and coworkers. I started talking to a few friends about this issue and most of them mentioned that they didn’t really know the basic procedures for dealing with the police or what resources are available to them. A few people expressed interest in learning self-defense.
When it comes to teaching personal safety and the use of self-defense it’s vital to have a professionally trained instructor. Mac McGregor, SOSea Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Outreach Director and City of Seattle LGBTQ Council Commissioner, is a world champion martial artist and former U.S. Karate team member. He is also a certified defensive tactics instructor for law enforcement professionals. McGregor will be offering an annual street-smart self-defense seminar through the SAFE program and is open to anyone who wants to attend. SOSea will post the official event on our Facebook page and this website when a venue has been secured.
We wanted to remind everyone of some basic and important safety tips. The most important thing you can do if you are attacked or are a witness of one is to call the police and file a report. When a report is filed it provides police with vital information they need to pursue and find suspects. Other tips include:
- Always Report incidents to the police. For emergencies call 9-1-1.
- Add the SPD non-emergency number into your phone, (206)625-5011.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Make sure you know where you are, where you’re going, and who is nearby.
- Create a buddy system or tell at least one person where you are going.
- Plan your route and avoid shortcuts, uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways.
- Avoid walking alone at night. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend, even during the daytime.
- Take a cab or ask a friend for a ride.
- Don’t wear ear buds or headphones.
While most of the tips may seem like common sense, you can never be too cautious. Check out Tweets by Beat if you are looking for other ways to stay informed on crime in your neighborhood. It allows you to follow or view the SPD on a twitter feed that displays police dispatches in each of Seattle’s 51 police beats. To find out more information about Tweets by Beat visit http://www.seattle.gov/police/tweets/default.htm.
I encourage everyone to share this information with anyone you know that spends time on Capitol Hill. It’s important to be proactive, instead of reactionary. Don’t wait for something bad to happen to you or a close friend while you can take care of your own personal safety right now.