Seattle Mayor, city leaders looking for new ways to fight crime

SEATTLE -- Seattle's mayor and other city officials kicked off a series of community walks Wednesday night in an effort to help fight crime.

The first one took place in the Central District, which has been dubbed one of the city's crime hotspots.

About a dozen people in the large group of walkers carried surveys and took notes about graffiti, street lights in need of repair, garbage, and overgrown trees and bushes. The city will commit to fixing the problems within three weeks, officials said.

Community walks are one of several ideas Mayor Ed Murray outlined last week in an effort to make the city safer.

New Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole joined Murray on the walk. She said everyone must get involved to improve public safety.

"I think this is very heartening for us as police because we know we're not alone," O'Toole said. "We have a community here to help us, and people are obviously very committed to working with the police to make our communities safer."

The community wants the problems solved, but some are skeptical that meaning full change will happen.

"I'm always hopeful, but we've heard this before with the same results," said Dedre Parker.

Parker moved out of the Central District about 15 years ago after the neighborhood started to change, she said. She'd love to come back, but she worries the drugs and violence that have plagued the area for so long won't disappear anytime soon, she added.

Murray said he plans to hold a community walk in every neighborhood. The next one is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8, from 7-9 p.m. at the corner of South Orcas Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.