Community Activists Working to Curb South Seattle Crime

By Joel Moreno/KOMO (RVP news partner)

RAINIER VALLEY – More gunfire rang out in Seattle’s Rainier Valley early Thursday, wounding a man who refused a street race challenge.

It’s just the latest in a string of shootings and murders in South Seattle, and community leaders say they’re not satisfied with the city’s response to the violence.

Ever since she took the reins of the Rainier Beach Community Club, Su Harambe has been working to reshape her neighborhood.

“Things have been happening in the south end for a long time and I think it’s easy to ignore us. But we don’t want to be ignored anymore,” she said.

A man shot driving down on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. on Thursday is the latest example of the violence and murder that plagues the neighborhood. The intersection of Rainier Ave. and Henderson St. Is a special problem, and Harambe approached the city with a solution.

“The first idea is having the mobile police unit parked right in this parking lot,” she said.

The mobile unit has made a sporadic appearance at the troubled corner, but it’s now parked at the South Precinct.

“So we have a disproportionately huge number of the murders,” said Pat Murakami of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council.

Harambe also asked city leaders to focus less on subsidized housing and offer more help with job and business creation in the valley.

She came away disappointed in their response.

“It really sounds like there wasn’t much on our list that can be accomplished right now,” she said.

Harambe and other neighborhood activists plan to take their message directly to City Hall. They’ll march from Westlake Center to the mayor’s office and council chambers on Monday.

And while gun violence statistics are on the rise, there is some good news. Assaults, burglaries and car thefts are all down. Police have also begun using roving violence emphasis patrols to keep tabs on the worst criminals.