Neighbors weigh in on Seattle's 'Find It, Fix It' walks

SEATTLE -- Crime hot spots are getting special attention through a series of "Find It, Fix It" walks, but KOMO 4 took a look at whether the mayor's new crime-fighting tool makes neighborhoods any safer. The feedback from community members is mixed.

"They did the walk in July, and it was cleaned up," said Patricia Ross, pointing to a wall of graffiti behind the flower store where she works. "Since then it's come back."

The return of graffiti shows the limits of what a neighborhood safety walk can really do. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray touts his Find It Fix It walks as a major element in his "Summer of Safety" initiative, and made the Central District neighborhood around S Jackson Street his testing ground.

Ross said despite shortcomings, some of the mayor's efforts are taking root.

"Somebody just had a party last week, and no shooting. No violence," she said. "I've seen a lot more people are enjoying living in the neighborhood."

The walks focus on crime hot spots, and give neighbors a chance to point out things like graffiti, litter, and lighting they feel contributes to the problem. After the July 2nd walk on S Jackson Street, city crews trimmed 33 trees which neighbors complained were used to conceal car prowls and other crimes.

"Somebody broke a window and ran away and the fact is the trees were used as a cover," said Mulualem Zeleke, who runs the nearby Goha Grocery.

The mayor also sent in teams to remove graffiti and collect trash. Unfortunately, some of that blight is already back. Neighbors said at the very least, there's a better sense of safety.

"We have less loitering troubles," said Kevin Lee of Beverly Nails. "Not a lot of kids hanging around."

Neighbors said if there's one common complaint along S Jackson Street, it's the lack of interaction community members have with police officers.

"We would like to have more police patrols around the area, and keep the place more safe," Lee said.