The owners of a Capitol Hill parking lot at the center of a string of recent shootings have agreed to restrict access to the property and work with police to keep the Harvard Market shopping center clear of late night weekend crowds, the neighborhood’s chamber of commerce announced Monday.
According to the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce announcement, Harvard Market ownership will be “enforcing a parking lot closure” on Friday and Saturday nights:
Working in close partnership, the property owners and Seattle Police Department will be enforcing a parking lot closure on Friday and Saturday nights between the hours of 10:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. to any person without a valid residential permit. In addition, no trespassing rules and towing regulations will be enforced between these times.
Chamber director Sierra Hansen said the group met with property owners, tenants of the shopping center that includes national grocery retailers QFC, and the Seattle Police Department “to come up with a strategy to address late night violence at this location.”
Police flooded the area around the parking lot around 2 AM on Saturday, August 6th after a woman was hit in the chest in a shooting on the second level of the shopping center above Pike and Broadway. The victim survived the shooting. There have been no arrests. The incident was one in a string of weekly weekend shooting incidents around the 2 AM “last call” time when crowds spill into the streets around Pike/Pine and Broadway.
“Capitol Hill is the region’s nightlife destination, and the vast majority of folks who come to the area simply want to eat, drink, dance and have fun, and community partners came together to find solutions to reduce illicit and sometimes dangerous activities that are happening in late night hours,” the chamber’s statement reads.
Morris Groberman, who along with an investment partnership, owns the Harvard Market retail property. We wrote about the development of the Harvard Market and its troublesome parking lot here. Groberman referred CHS to Seattle Police for more information following the most recent shooting.
One parking lot, of course, is not to blame for Pike/Pine street crime. SPD has been balancing available staffing levels for weekend emphasis patrols in the area for years now. In 2014, a spike in Capitol Hill street robberies and assaults prompted Chief Kathleen O’Toole to deploy emphasis patrols to crackdown on nightlife violence. O’Toole announced that SPD gang unit personnel would increase patrols in Pike/Pine and around Cal Anderson Park to help root out reported issues with gangs of young males involved with everything from theft to drugs. In the weeks following, SPD brass claimed a dramatic reduction in crime in the area. The weekend push remains an ongoing effort. Meanwhile, a larger law enforcement effort is working to quell the spike in firearms and gang-related activity on Capitol Hill. In 2015, the FBI announced nine people had been taken into custody in a law enforcement operation focused on guns and drugs in the area around 23rd and Union following a deadly summer of Seattle shootings. Similar efforts are underway again this summer.
Hansen acknowledges the Harvard Market lot closure is a “whack a mole situation” where the late night crowds and drug activity will likely move to other nearby locations. “Hopefully this cuts down on the spots the bad people can hang out at, and this area is particularly challenging because it is much more out of sight than the others,” she tells CHS.