Last week, in comments following a West Seattle Crime Watch report about car-prowls at local parks, the discussion turned to suspicious activity in and around the north end of Lincoln Park..
Today, Lila e-mailed us this detailed account of recent incidents, wanting to warn others:
Me and my family live right next to Lincoln park…a few days ago a woman walked through with her dogs while we and the neighbors were all playing outside, she informed us about calling the cops on a man who made her very nervous – she saw him scoping out cars/homes to rob. About five minutes later he walked through our side entrance in the park and right by us, he got uncomfortably close to my friend/neighbors son and said something along the lines of, “what’s up little man” everything about his mannerisms were extremely uncomfortable (and extremely inappropriate to approach a child like that-it was simply uncomfortable) and felt by all of us, he walked on and that was that.
The next day my baby and I went on a walk in the rain, it was clear right when we entered the trail that we were the only ones in the park…as we walked for a minute the same man jumped out from the side shrubbery on the North end of the park sort of near the picnic table (like he was waiting for someone to leap out at) where all the homeless people hang out and drink. He was alone and jumped out right in front of us and turned around looking under the hood of my stroller at my son then looked at me up and down licking his lips and whipping a dirty cloth against his leg, he slowed down so much he had it so we couldn’t get passed him and he walked backwards as he continued to check us out, like we were his lunch.
It takes a lot to make me uncomfortable, I have bartended for many years and I have seen men at their worst. But this? This was something different, something dark and terrifying. I know this park like the back of my hand so I knew there was a side trail coming up, and as soon as he looked away to watch where he was going I made it to that opening and headed straight to the street, where he followed us the whole way looking pissed and mumbling. I took a moment to call 911 because I had that unfortunate thought of, ‘this is just what men do. You’re safe, it’s fine’ But what about the next woman? Or child? And that thought, that shook me to my core, so we called. The operator was impatient and kind of over it, as seems to be the theme to emergency operators; two police SUV’s and one trooper entered the park and that was that. I let my neighbors know, shook it off and got on with our day.
This morning at 4-5 am my husband woke up to do his exercise routine and heard a woman screaming on the top of her lungs for help in the park, he called the cops immediately, a bit later he heard a man erratically screaming. We still don’t know what happened. However, my husband and I want to make certain that everyone knows what is happening. I don’t know if the two incidents are related, but I do know that West Seattle isn’t the same place we moved into. And specifically at the North end of Lincoln Park, as well as the parking lots, thing have been getting extremely sketchy and dangerous and there have been uncountable car and home burglaries.
I have seen coyotes walk in and out of the park, I have been almost decapitated by a hawk catching a fish on my paddle board down there, I have seen unleashed erratic dogs with no owner in sight … none of this has scared me. You know what scares me? Our own species.
First: We suggested to Lila that she (or someone from her household/neighborhood) bring this up at tonight’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, when precinct leadership is in attendance and there’s a specific time for voicing questions/concerns. (7 pm, Southwest Precinct, 2300 SW Webster)
Second, calling 911 IS the right thing to do if you see illegal activity happening in a park – that’s reiterated here. The “alcohol & drugs” section of that page begins: “Use of alcohol, cannabis, and illegal drugs is prohibited in our parks.” The “code of conduct” section specifically refers to threatening and harassing behavior and reiterates, “If you see illegal or threatening activity in a park or facility, call 911.” The more someplace is reported as a trouble spot, police say, the more likely it is that patrol resources – not just reactive responses – will be assigned.