A spate of recent attempted sexual assaults have angered and scared residents of the Mt. Baker neighborhood, who gathered last week to discuss how to improve the neighborhood's safety.
At a Dec. 15 rally at Mt. Baker Community Club, Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and Councilmembers Tim Burgess and Richard Conlin assured residents that Seattle police have the tools they need to find the attackers.
"Stranger-on-stranger crime like this is actually quite rare," Burgess said.
Conlin praised the group's efforts to organize and hold a safety rally.
"This is the way people organize and take control," he said.
Four attempted sexual assaults have occurred in South Seattle in since October. Three of the attacks occurred in Mt. Baker and one was in Seward Park. Officers also said they do not believe all the recent attacks have been by the same person, although one person could be responsible for all Mt. Baker attacks.
Captain Mike Nolan, the new South Precinct captain, introduced himself and urged people to call 911 if they see someone suspicious.
The incidents have put some on high alert. In the wake of a Dec. 7 attack on a woman running near Colman Park, Seattle police told attendees they've received several calls suggesting they investigate a person officers described as a "transient" who spends a lot of time in the park. Police contacted the man and arrested him on an unrelated charge, they said, but he is not a suspect in the recent attacks.
Some women also went for a jog around the neighborhood in the rain before the event, which was organized by residents Christi Masi and Karen Waters. They had sign-in sheets at the back of the room so people could get organized into walking and running groups if they wanted an alternative to using the trails alone.
Three days after the Mt. Baker safety rally, an 89-year-old woman was attacked while she was jogging around Green Lake. According to police, she was knocked to the ground and was not able to provide a description of her attacker.