Opinion

South Seattle Cop: Seward Park Much Safer Than Before; Don’t Be Afraid, Just Be Smart & Aware

By South Seattle Cop

Seward Park is no more or less dangerous than any other park. As with any other park, you need to be common-sense about what you do and when. Keep in mind the immense size of the park, which is sometimes hard to appreciate until you look at it on GoogleEarth or something.

There is no illumination in the park after dark with the exception of the lights around the main lot, and one or two odd lights around the lower loop trail. The park interior is completely dark at night, except when moon or starlight can get into the amphitheater area.

As it is large, if something DOES happen and you need to scream for help, keep in mind that unless there is someone in the park with you, and nearby, we have found those screams generally do not make it outside the park bounds to the neighborhoods. Just remember the size and topography.

There is a little known transient population living within the park interior. Those individuals are not necessarily dangerous by default because they are transient, but some of them over the years who migrated there, were found to have done so because it’s a good place for someone who’s violently anti-social to hide-out and avoid police. Don’t be frightened, just be aware, and be smart.

Seward Park is much safer now than it has been in the past. Less bodies are dumped there nowadays, and I think at present the belief is that there is probably only one still in there that we haven’t found, but are reasonably sure is in there somewhere. Back in the roaring 1990?s (anyone live down here back then?) and into the beginning of this decade, gangsters pretty much owned that park, and even had a shooting range set up in it to go try out their “gats” (remember that word?…that takes ya’ back…).

Back then we were not bombarded with news 24/7 all over the internet, and I am not sure anyone in the surrounding area was aware of that back then (maybe). In those days police could not safely enter the park at night except in groups. But the Wild West days of the park are in the past.

Running or walking in the park is fine. Doing it with a dog or a can of pepper-spray handy is better (like any park, really). Keep cognizant of the size and geography of the park, and really think twice about venturing into a park of this size in low lighting/after dark.

I would suggest taking a cell phone, and familiarize yourself with the park (which way is north, south, east, west; which end of the park am I in? how do I get to a paved road from where I am if I needed to so police/fire could reach me quickly, etc…) layout. These are just normal day-to-day good things to be aware of anyway, in a park or otherwise.

Also please observe the posted signs indicating closure hours. Being present in the park after closure hours is Criminal Trespass…just FYI.

With common sense applied, the park is fine. Enjoy.

See you at the park! :-)

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