New York City urban thinker Jane Jacobs said that cities were safer with more eyes on the street.
Urban thinker Jane Jacobs said that cities were safer with more "eyes on the street." anaglic / Shutterstock.com

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Seattle police say they want citizens' help in tracking down a suspect who tried to pull a 29-year-old woman off the street and into a pickup truck.

Police say the incident happened at 11:30 p.m. last Tuesday on Bellevue Avenue, between Pine and Olive Streets. Here's more from the SPD Blotter:

A 29-year-old woman was walking home in the 1600 block of Bellevue Ave on Febuary 2nd at 11:30 PM when she noticed a dark blue truck parked along the road with a man standing beside it. The woman walked past the man when he reached out and grabbed her by her arms and told her to get in the truck. Then woman began screaming catching the attention of bystanders. The suspect let go of the woman, entered the truck and drove off, leaving the woman shaken but unhurt.

The woman described the suspect as a white male in his 40’s, 5’08”-5’10”, medium build, wearing a dark beanie or wool cap. The victim believed the suspect may had a cigarette in his mouth at the time of the incident.

A witness described the truck as a dark blue 2000 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup truck, with tinted windows.

Fucking terrifying, to say the least. But it's also important to point out that whoever attempted this might very well have succeeded if no other people had witnessed it happen. The importance of street life—meaning, having streets full of pedestrians, shop owners, families, etc.—was underlined at a community meeting in Ballard three weeks ago. There, Ballard residents were complaining to City Council Member Mike O'Brien about a perceived lack of parking spaces, but also about new people "being pushed" into their neighborhoods. (The larger grievance, of course, was increased density in neighborhoods accustomed to the suburban quiet of single-family homes.) When O'Brien suggested that more people on the streets would be better for public safety, the crowd jeered.

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Urban thinker Jane Jacobs first presented her "eyes on the street" theory in the 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, based on her own observations and experiences in New York City. Some of Jacobs' ideas—like "eyes on the street"—are pretty difficult to prove on an empirical basis, but anecdotes like the averted kidnapping described above lend support to them.

If anything in the SPD's description of the suspect or his car sounds familiar to you, you can call Detective Michelle Gallegos at (206) 684-5767.

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