A new effort to launch a block watch with Capitol Hill businesses and organizations to provide a visible sign — literally — that the community is rallying around doing something about criminal activity took its first steps with a rally and march through the streets of the area’s neighborhoods Wednesday night.
Chants included ”Our neighborhood belongs to us! Not crime!” and ”2, 4, 6, 8, no more violence, no more hate.”
“Today is about sending a message to our fellow citizens and our neighborhood that we are watching out for each other,” said organizer Shaun Knittel of Social Outreach Seattle.
The group marched through the streets of Capitol Hill, denouncing the recent increase in neighborhood crime and encouraging a more active and empathetic community.
The rally began with a series of speeches right outside Seattle Central Community College’s Broadway Performance Hall.
The group of around sixty people marched throughout the Hill, from Seattle Central’s campus to Plymouth Pillars Park. “Our neighborhood belongs to us! Not crime!” was their slogan.
The group plans on hosting free outdoor self-defense classes throughout the summer, available to all ages.
CHS wrote about the group’s ”block watch” plan here:
The rally and launch of the program comes as part of an ongoing effort from the new group to address concerns about street crime on Capitol Hill — especially among the LGBT community. Knittel said his group had been working with police for the past few months on a new program but the situation accelerated when one of Social Outreach’s own reported being robbed in a brazen daylight attack as onlookers failed to intervene. This stabbing in Cal Anderson came as the rally was already in motion. Meanwhile, CHS crime reports continue to provide anecdotal examples of the types of violence and street crimes that people in the area are dealing with. The most recent East Precinct crime statistics agree — we’ve seen a bump in crime around Capitol Hill. Even as Seattle’s overall crime continues to plummet, the timing, it seems for finding solutions in the neighborhood couldn’t be better.
Earlier today, CHS reported that, despite the recent outbreak of violent crime around Cal Anderson Park, SPD’s crime statistics actually show a drop in overall criminal activity on Capitol Hill in the first three months of 2013.
If you are interested in being part of the program, visit socialoutreachseattle.com.
Student reporter Elif Koc contributed to this report.