The Murray administration is dusting off one of the public safety experiments from the McGinn camp’s attempts to quell Capitol Hill crime.
A Seattle Parks rep tells CHS that the lights around Cal Anderson’s sports field will be left on until 2:30 AM on weekend nights for the coming weeks:
We will leave the lights on at Bobby Morris Playfield until 2:30 a.m. this weekend and next. The lights will remain on early Saturday mornings, 9/13 and 9/20, and early Sunday mornings, 9/14 and 9/21.
The representative tells CHS the move comes at the request of SPD as it increases patrols, has officers walking the beat, and has brought in gang units to attempt to calm spiking street crime numbers in the neighborhood. “The short-term strategy is obviously we’re saturating this place not just with precinct resources but with city-wide resources,” SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole told CHS about the efforts around Pike/Pine. “The long-term strategy is that we’re developing a community policing plan for every neighborhood of the city.”
In 2013, Mayor Mike McGinn’s office was credited with the idea to keep all of the park’s lights on overnight as street crime also spiked that summer. But the “experiment” was brought to an end in November as officials said they had “not been able to conclude that having the lights on at night was an effective deterrent to crime” and that the lighting caused neighbors to complain. There were also issues with inappropriate use of the park at night.
Cal Anderson is open to the public from 4 AM to 11:30 PM but many people walk through the green space — and hang out there — at all hours.
We have questions out to Parks about the decision including what it would take to make the extra lighting a permanent schedule.