Last night, at a crime and safety meeting held at the Mount Baker Clubhouse, neighborhood residents learned that Seattle police still aren't sure how many suspects are tied to a string of four recent attacks on women in the area—two near the Mount Baker I-90 tunnel and another two in Colman and Seward parks—that have left many avoiding the parks or exercise in general.
"It appears that the person responsible for the tunnel attacks and attacks on I-90 is most likely a different suspect than the one or ones at Seward Park and Coleman park," said South Precinct Captain Mike Nolan at the meeting, who later clarified: "We could be dealing with up to four suspects. We're just not sure." Patrols have been stepped up in the area, especially in the early evening, when the attacks have taken place. Cpt. Nolan added that a homeless man living in Colman Park, who many residents expressed concern about, had been arrested, but for reasons unrelated to the attacks. "He is not one of the suspects for either of the [park] assaults."
Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin, Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, and Council member Tim Burgess, who heads the council's Public Safety committee, all attended the meeting to lend their support. "I apologize that this has happened in our city," said Burgess, a former SPD officer. "Stranger on stranger crime is frankly quite rare, and it causes a lot of anxiety. Attacks on you are attacks on all of us." Burgess added that calling in suspicious behavior was of the utmost importance to identifying and arresting the suspects responsible. "[When I was an officer] we would frequently encounter citizens who saw something and thought 'I’m not going to bother SPD with that.' When your gut tells you something, believe your intuition. Call it in."
More safety tips after the jump.
Aside from a crime update, the crowd of forty residents, from young runners to grandmothers, convened to discuss ways to safely take back their streets. They started the evening with a group run (with police escort) and ended with plans for free self-defense classes. "I've talked to many women who won't go out for runs or walks anymore," said Karen Waters, a resident and early-morning runner who organized the meeting. "We're trying to hook them up with other runners and walkers in the area until these attackers are caught."
Aside from calling 911 to report suspicious behavior, SPD officers also advised residents on basic safety tips: Exercise in groups; Carry a cell phone; Alert others as to your whereabouts; Don't run with earphones on; And be aware of people when you're coming around buildings or bushes.
Cupcakes and apple juice were enjoyed by all.