In my neighborhood, within sight of my home, a woman went to dinner last weekend, then came outside to find her car spray-painted with a swastika. And worse still, it was the second similar incident in four days. On Beacon Hill, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Seattle, how could this be happening? Stupid kids who think it’s funny? Hateful outsiders coming into the neighborhood because they know it’s full of minorities? Or members of one local group full of hate for another? It’s insanity.
I’ve always felt pretty safe in this neighborhood, but in the last year or two it seems to have taken a giant leap backward. The South Seattle Star listed our area as one of the Central and Southeast Seattle neighborhood crime hot spots last issue — “Get your bread, milk and weapons here” — and, despite the folks on the neighborhood e-mail list who want us to shut up about this in order to keep their property values up, I don’t believe we should just watch in silence as the place falls apart. But I don’t know what to do. Some folks are doing a neighborhood watch walk occasionally, which is a start. But I guess I want instant answers, and there certainly aren’t any.
I suppose it’s no coincidence that the crime rate on the Hill went up when the economy in Seattle went down.