Thursday night, Capitol Hill resident and longtime representative of the neighborhood in Olympia Ed Murray made what CHS thought was a rather shocking admission for a mayoral candidate talking about his home turf. Murray told a forum of Seattle voters that he was afraid to walk through his own neighborhood’s central park — in the middle of the busiest area of Capitol Hill and just blocks from East Precinct headquarters — at night.
One night later, the candidate’s fears seemed justified — a 19-year-old told police he was robbed of his phone at gunpoint as he walked near the park’s basketball courts Friday around 8:30 PM.
So, what about you?
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It has been a rough summer — again — for the park and its surrounding streets. But this case involving what police say could be multiple hold-ups by the same group of teens also points to how individual acts quickly add up to “public emergencies.” The lights stay on at Cal Anderson all night now — and Mayor Mike McGinn has directed hundreds of thousands more dollars to SPD to hire more officers and increase patrols in the city’s hot spots including the park. The crime trends for East Precinct’s beat C2 that covers the park show a big jump in assaults and robberies in the area through July.
But thousands of people also continue to walk through the park — at all hours — just like they always have. It’s a park — not a war zone. You might get offered non-Washington Liquor Control Board-approved marijuana — but chances are you’re not going to be assaulted or robbed. It can be a lovely path through the area.
Candidate Murray says he is afraid — what about you?
Capitol Hill Mayoral Forum — Thursday, October 3rd
Capitol Hill stands a house divided on the race for Seattle mayor. Register for free tickets to Thursday’s forum at Barboza (10th/E Pike below Neumos) from 7 to 9 PM. CHS talked to both candidates about their campaigns earlier this summer: