City hiring park rangers to stem violence in Cal Anderson Park
SEATTLE -- The city will be hiring two full-time park rangers to patrol Cal Anderson Park, as well as Occidental Square, after a string of high-profile violent crimes in recent weeks.
According to a press release from the Mayor's Office, the park rangers will be on hand to remind park users of the rules, moderate disputes, keep an eye on the park, and work with the Seattle Police Department to address any issues.
"We heard from the community that this was an issue, that people weren't feeling safe or able to fully utilize these parks, so we're responding to those concerns," Mayor Mike McGinn said in a press release. "By hiring new park rangers, we can create a safer and more welcoming atmosphere in our parks."
The park rangers will be on patrol by the end of June, though shift schedules for both parks are yet to be determined. In the meantime, SPD will continue emphasis patrols in both parks. And, the Mayor's Office reminds park users to be vigilant, calling 911 whenever they see a problem.
The new park rangers are being funded by Seattle Parks and Recreation, which was under budget this year, according to the Mayor's Office.
"Having a full-time park ranger on duty in Cal Anderson will make a huge difference in the way people perceive the park," Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce President Michael Wells said in a press release.
There have been at least 11 reported assaults in Cal Anderson Park since mid-April.