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September 14, 2009 at 4:43 am #592300
We were at the Lincoln Park South playground this morning with our two little boys. There was a man hanging out in the shelter by the water fountain just north of the playground. Nobody noticed him at first…you couldn’t really see him from the playground. But at one point our younger wandered over there to get a drink at the fountain…I followed behind him and then noticed the man there. I said hello and he said, “I was just making sure he wasn’t going to go over the bluff.”
My son got a drink of water and we headed back to the playground. The guy stayed at the shelter just watching the playground. It gave me a really weird feeling…especially since he could see all of us and we couldn’t really see him. Plus, he was by himself and didn’t appear to be waiting for anywone.
Sure, he could have just been resting there after walking up the hill from the beach, but my Mommy gut was seeing red flags.
FWIW he was an overweight caucasian guy wearing a t-shirt, shorts, sunglasses and scarf on his head…probably under 6′.
Just keep an eye on your little ones. It’s easy to feel comfortable in familiar places…but some people are waiting to take advantage of that.September 14, 2009 at 5:29 am #677171September 14, 2009 at 6:44 am #677172September 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm #677173
Probably not the same guy, but I saw an unkempt man who seemed to be camped out there in the shelter a few months ago. He was there at several separate visits, and I assumed he was homeless. But I’ve felt reluctant to return to that park during a weekday w/ my kiddo, when it’s less populated. I feel wary about ANY lone man choosing to hang out around a kids’ playground. There are several registered sex offenders in West Seattle & Seattle in general.
Your experience sounds very creepy. Since the West Seattle police welcome the reports of anything that feels suspicious, perhaps we should call about this guy if any of us see him again. Now that you’ve documented this publicly, we can site this blog. I would rather call the police & feel stupid than risk placing my child’s safety in jeopardy.September 14, 2009 at 4:12 pm #677174
i know an overweight Caucasian guy who walks that hill every day and rests in that shelter before he walks the long walk home…
it may not be the same guy.. we are all smart to be careful, especially where our children are concerned..
but sometimes a man sitting is just a man sitting.
You might want to talk with him before you report him for just being there.
if it is the man i know, watching children at play gives him joy and that joy helps him face the walk home… and as a near recluse, he is grateful for any kind of human interaction.September 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm #677175
People who assume everyone is a danger scare me more than anything. Sounds like you had an eye on your kids, but your broadcasted assumptions that this person was dangerous, or in this post a pedo are way over the top. Culture of fear indeed.September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm #677176
Having kids definitely changes one’s perspective. It’s hard to feel safe when we read the news, know actual kids who have been molested, and find out that high degree offenders live in our own neighborhoods (two on my street, in fact). Anyone can find this information via the police website, and it is the responsibility of all parents to know where potential dangers lurk.
I’m not saying this person IS a pedophile, but rather that a man loitering around a park looking at children & making bizarre statements is a valid suspicion. Job’s suggestion is good, but obviously any worried parent needs to assess for themselves and make their own decisions about how to follow up. It could be harmless, but an alternate scenario is that later a parent beats themselves up for not cluing in to the warning signs.September 14, 2009 at 5:31 pm #677177
I love Lincoln Park but I never feel “comfortable” or “at ease” there. On Saturday while I was there two police cars (one marked, one unmarked) came by the playground and got out and walked in and around the bathroom. 2 police cars? They were definately searching for someone. It is a good reminder to keep our guard up and as rare as abductions may be if it happens to your child – statistics do not matter.September 14, 2009 at 5:45 pm #677178September 14, 2009 at 6:46 pm #677179
No harm in being vigilant, but no need for paranoia either.
Your child is as likely to be struck by lightning as they are to be abducted by a stranger with harmful intentions.September 14, 2009 at 7:04 pm #677180
a) I don’t think we listen to our guts often enough
b) yes, absolutely agree that stranger abduction/molestation/whatever is less likely in the statistics, but isn’t it also true that people usually “ramp up” in criminal behavior? who knows if someone is getting their jollies only to act out later with someone who isn’t a stranger? I don’t know, I’m just not comfortable thinking that I could play a part in a continuum that I might be able to disrupt
c) so back to listening to my gut, being vigilant, but not paranoidSeptember 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm #677181
Vincent, I disagree. My opinion is that child welfare is the BEST reason to make laws and maintain a high degree of suspicion. They are the most vulnerable group in our society.September 14, 2009 at 9:23 pm #677182
Kids are in the greatest danger from their own families. Stranger danger is 99% myth. Molesters look like the reflection in the mirror, not sketchy street people or park patrons resting. Teach your kids to NOT be afraid of you so they can report uncle chester. Don’t teach them to be afraid of the world.September 14, 2009 at 9:37 pm #677183
Paranoya will destroya..Bingo bluebird. Most children hurt are those that are closest to them.September 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm #677184
I’m kinda an overweight, bald, white guy. I won’t hurt you, but if you happen upon me at the grocery store, no need to run the other direction.September 14, 2009 at 10:03 pm #677185
I am all for mommy radar… if it feels bad to you, you definately should make sure your kids are safe.
but too often mommy radar isn’t working at all with people we think we know and trust… making home the most dangerous environment for child molestation… and works overtime if the person is a stranger.
Yes.. you would feel terrible if you did nothing at all and then later learned of the person molesting kids at the park.
however, even then, without a picture to confirm, it could have been someone else.
It’s a good policy to speak with every person who interacts with your kids.. You may find that your perceptions change… even if you thought you knew that person well.
It is too easy to make really nasty assumptions about the people.. especially stangers… who interact with your kids…
even nice looking little old ladies like me.
I encourage reporting suspicious behavior..
but keeping your suspicions about people to yourself.September 14, 2009 at 10:28 pm #677186
Not just kids and mommies, grownups can be in danger too.
I love Lincoln Park, and enjoy walking and taking pictures but am always very vigilant about watching my surroundings.
So even as an adult male, I get a little creeped out using the restrooms or wandering off on some of the less traveled trails when there are not that many folks in the park.
I have been approached on more than one occasion by panhandlers in the park.
.September 14, 2009 at 11:09 pm #677187
oh noes! panhandlers! poor people who can talk to you for no reason! SAVE THE CHILDRENSeptember 15, 2009 at 2:57 am #677188
a little off subject but have you guys notices alot more sketchy people at the junction safeway? i was there last night about 10pm the store was pretty empty but i saw count them 6 panhandlers outside..now i am all for the real change people who ask hi would i like a newspaper and have a nice day…but i was walking to my car with a cart full of grocerys in the almost empty parking lot and a guy comes out from behind a pole and starts badgering me for money…im like ok should i open the car or not…i dont want to say he was a crackhead but the missing teeth were a telltale sign…he ended up going away but not for a whole 5 minutes it was kinda scary for a minute..and i saw him walking toward another woman with a cart of grocerys by herself…im hopeing the new qfc has better night security…..September 15, 2009 at 4:54 am #677189
i have noticed that the panhandlers are more aggressive lately.
i am thankful for my dogs when i walk in the park.September 15, 2009 at 6:15 am #677190
FOLLOW YOUR GUT. I was at Lincoln Park on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, around 2pm, and the park was crowded. I was just south of the path that leads to the beach that’s close to the playground and zip line. I was in a very open and I thought safe place. There was a man (60s maybe, African American, very lean and muscular) that was between me and the path. He got up at a certain point and went behind a tree that was at the edge of the bluff. I assumed he was going to pee. I was busy with my project, and I looked over and noticed that he had still not come out from behind the tree, about ten minutes later. That’s when I looked around to get my bearings on where he was and noticed him masturbating. I called 911. The cops showed up 10 minutes later and (I think) apprehended him.
This was very close to the path and the playground and the zip line.
FOLLOW YOUR GUT!!!September 15, 2009 at 7:11 am #677191
We have a friend (man) who went to use the men’s toilet at Lincoln park, the weird grotto looking ones with the large tubular sky light things — down by the water. He entered the bathroom and immediately got clocked and knocked out — didn’t even see who hit him — when he became conscious, he had been robbed.September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm #677192
It must be hard being an overweight white male who wants to hang out alone in a park these days. Along with other prejudices associated with obesity, the idea that fat men prey on young children is common. I wonder if the “gut” would be felt for some guy sitting there in the park who matches the profile of someone alpha-mother might find more appealing physically? I think the person with the ‘gut’ instinct imagines they are much different from and believe they project a better image than the object of their fear. And when children sense that their parent is afraid of strangers (and typically it’s a female parent), they will grow up believing that anyone different from their social circle is to be looked upon with suspicion, whether or not they are a potential threat (and if being fat and or unkempt is cause for suspicion, we would constantly be on guard!). Lincoln Park has it’s fair share of filthy vagabonds and miscreants camping and apparently there is a lot of crime that goes on amongst them. Perhaps some seek out more populated areas of the park, such as shelters near playgrounds, because they fear for their own safety, considering many of them spend a lot of time drunk, stoned, and asleep, and vulnerable to attack. As mentioned already, most cases of molestation/abduction/abuse happen with people who are acquainted.September 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm #677193
Alki Mom’s post explains what the police were looking for since the time line matches up to the time I was in my park. Thank you so much for calling the police.September 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm #677194
I agree with cakeiteasy- It is too bad that some people are more likely to be stereotyped as suspicious than others.
rather than being plain old suspicious of people, just be observant and ready to respond if there’s something to actually respond to or get worked up about. it is a fine line- if people called police every time they saw someone suspicious, the police wouldn’t be able to respond to actual emergencies.
this thread got me thinking. during the summer concerts at Prov. Mt. St. Vincent, I saw Patrick (that is your name, right?), from WSB (I recognized him from events where WSB had a table). He showed up and took some photos, and didn’t stick around long. I wasn’t tracking him/ staring at him the whole time, but he also took photos of strangers’ children, dancing, perhaps without talking to the parents, maybe ?
I wondered if any one would ever think that Patrick was suspicious ?
just be observant (like Alki Mom # 21) and report something if there’s something to report, rather than speculation.
(one other concert, I saw who I thought to be C. Boffoli but he had a press pass on his neck, I think -not as suspicious)
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