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.

12 comments on “Community Activists Working to Curb South Seattle Crime

  1. Hey KOMO- If you really want to help, you to would push to have cameras installed on Rainier Ave S and Henderson. The Kent & Renton bus stations both have them.

    Why, WHY do we not have cameras on our roughest corners? Who in Olympia is stopping this? Thats right: Nobody. It is a Seattle thing. Just like in Renton, it is a Renton thing. And in Kent, it is a Kent thing. We need cameras. I dont care about the rights of thugs and gansters. When they break the laws and gun down innocent people, they have no rights. They deserve to be caught and given the same respect they showed to the people the terrorize. Step up Seattle. Step up City Councilmen and women. Make a stand. Not a political one, but a gut renching, do-the-right-thing-no-matter-the-cost type of stand. Come on.

  2. Please join us for the March to City Hall and Press Conference. We are meeting at Westlake Plaza on Monday, July 9th at 10:45am to march on the sidewalks to City Hall (600 – 4th Avenue). We will march along 4th Avenue and plan to convene at City Hall at noon. We have a permit to gather at the City Hall Plaza – if it is raining we’ll move it inside to the first floor near and on the stairs leading to the City Council meeting chamber.

    If you are strapped for time, you can be at City Hall from 12 to about 12:30. It would be a huge help. If you are unable to attend, please ask a friend to participate in you place. We need as large a turnout as possible so our City leaders will take our concerns seriously.

    When a person can’t drive down MLK without being shot it is TIME FOR POSITIVE CHANGE IN SOUTH SEATTLE.

  3. “We need as large a turnout as possible so our City leaders will take our concerns seriously”

    Wasn’t there like 400 – 500 people that showed up at the Lakewood Community center? City leaders didn’t really seem to take our concerns seriously after that (it seemed to get worse after that actually in my opinion)

    The only way our elected officials will take us seriously is if they get voted out and then it is too late. The mayor won’t even come here now after getting his feelings hurt, he is like a kid that dosen’t like Brussel sprouts and we are the sprouts.

  4. Aside from the emphasis on policing and economics with a deemphasis on subsidized housing, what are community activists wanting from the city? I don’t see any sort of organized plan. If the community got together with a solid plan and kept hounding the city for support, then I can see a point of gathering together. But like Mark said, hundreds have been community meetings but nothing other than temporary emphasis patrols, as per usual, are employed. So what’s the point, if there’s no “wanted actions” list or true organization?

    I doubt software firms are going to want to locate there because of the increased odds of violence, for example. I know I wouldn’t open shop there since Belltown and Pioneer Square is sketchy enough (e.g. RealNetworks and smaller internet firms). Mayor McGinn’s interests are strongly aligned with his political agenda; namely, his Sierra Club ties (pro-development/density, pro-cycling/anti-motor vehicle), and anti-self-defense position (CeaseFire). If they don’t pander to those agendas, he doesn’t seem to care. I’m thinking that McGinn knows the odds are against him and that he’s going to be ousted after this next election. If the few months left, why bother even showing up to the SE side of Seattle?

  5. There is a plan, the Rainier Beach neighborhood does have a plan and it indicates what we are asking the city to do as well as what we as residents and stakeholders are going to do. Over 1,000 people spoke into it including the immigrant/refugee community. I would love to talk with you about it to see how you can help support it. The need is for more people to know about it and to share it with others so that when people say “what’s the plan” you can say, with enthusiasm and passion,”there is a plan!”. Check out this link (you’ll have to copy the link and put it in your browser). Join us……will you?


    I am a youth adult that grew up in the ” SOUTH END/ CENTRAL DISTRICT AREA”. I am very saddened by the gang violence or even just VIOLENCE PERIOD over the years. I am willing to contribute and give back to my community as much as possible. I went to too many funerals, been shot myself by being at the wrong place at the wrong time ” MY COMMUNITY”, seen death in front of me, drugs, etc. WHOSE FAULT IS IT REALLY? THE YOUTH OR THE OLDER GENERATION? DO WE NEED MORE MINORITIES IN OFFICE? WILL WE EVER CHANGE? WHAT CAN WE DO? NO WHAT CAN YOU DO? HOW CAN YOU GET UP WITH NO HANDS? HOW CAN ONE BREAK POP TO PROGRAM? WE ALL SAY WE NEED CHANGE WELL IT STARTS WITH THE ROOT, LOVE YOURSELF THEN IT PREJECTS!!!… PEACE AND LOVE!!!

  7. “And while gun violence statistics are on the rise…”

    Wow, guns shooting themselves again. No one pulling the trigger. Just guns shooting people.

    How about describing this as “gang violence” or “government-funded crack violence,” instead?

    We know you have a Communitarian agenda to follow or you will lose your income flow and perhaps your status in this community. But just once in awhile — can we see a description of who is pulling the trigger, please? I swear, it won’t hurt to do it once in awhile.

  8. But John…the stats are about violence committed with guns—not generic violence, hand-to-hand combat, knife violence, etc. I don’t think anyone thinks the guns are “shooting themselves” as you so often like to note. We know there are people pulling those triggers. But the people can’t always be lumped into a specific category. The cafe shooter in the northend was certainly not a gang-member or crack addict, but he did have and use a gun. The shooter at the Jewish Federation a few years back was not a gang member—most random mass shooters are mentally-disturbed, often white, males. The commonality is not skin color, or gang affiliation, but guns. Whether you believe they should be legal or not, you cannot deny that they can be used to injure and kill people more easily than other forms of violence. It’s the reality.

    Let’s focus on fixing the reasons people shoot to kill and we won’t need to worry about guns getting into the hands of the wrong people.

  9. I’m so mad about the shootings in Columbia City on Ferdinand this late morning. This is very upsetting and the mayor and SPD need to change tack on how to address kids with guns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *