UPDATE: Thursday August 29th’s event has been postponed due to weather.
This summer’s spike in violent crime around Capitol Hill has included a disturbing companion — hate. CHS talked to gay community leaders about what is happening and this week’s march against the violence on the streets of Capitol Hill.
“I think there’s a number of things that we have to remember,” said George Bakan, editor-in-chief of Seattle Gay News and head of the Capitol Hill Community Council. “The Hill has grown, there’s a higher density of population.”
Bakan said this population boom may have made cell phone and wallet robberies more enticing, as there are a wider range of people for thieves to target.
“There’s the endless cycle of people trying to get money for their drug habits,” he said.
But this wave of robberies has been accompanied by something more sinister. There have been several apparent gay bashing incidents around the Hill, including a robbery at 23rd Avenue E and E John Street in July and a beating on Summit Av E earlier this month.
Social Outreach Seattle co-founder Shaun Knittel said he believes the two spikes in crime are closely related — outsiders targeting the community for robberies and assaults, sometimes expressing homophobic views.
“I think some outside influences have figured out that the gay community as a whole is a peaceful community,” he said. “They’ve figured out that they can hit and run pretty quick and get away.”