Crime is up in Southeast Seattle, according to Seattle Police say.
At a crime prevention meeting Wednesday night, South Precinct Captain David Proudfoot said their highest priority is to tackle the rise in street crime.
Seattle's newest chief, Kathleen O'Toole, was also at the meeting to listen to resident's concerns. She said one of her department's top priorities is to restore community trust.
She said she was encouraged by Wednesday night's diverse turnout.
“I think we should celebrate the fact that it’s a wonderful and diverse area of the city,” she said. “The more we all get to know each other better and develop a mutual respect, and work together to take on some of the challenges as a community, the stronger we'll be in the end.”
South Seattle residents raised a whole range of issues including crime at the Light Rail stations, the lack of response and follow up from the police, and how to keep young school kids safe on their way to school.
Michael Neguse, who helps organize in the South End's East African community, at first voiced his disappointment over weakening ties between his community and the police. But by the end he said the evening's dialogue gave him some hope.
"My main goal coming here is connecting our community with the broader, mainstream community and to build the community across culture and ethnicity, to work together for common good,” Neguse said.
In the meantime, Captain Proudfoot said police were taking steps to address the crime, but that it wouldn't be solved overnight.
He said while there will be increased foot and bike patrols in crime hot spots, engaged residents are the neighborhood's best defense.