EDMONDS, Wash. — There are calls for unity after someone defaced Southwest County Park with a Nazi symbol.
According to police, several red swastikas were painted on trees within the park. Investigators added that they don’t yet know if it was a teenage prank or something more serious.
Park visitors, like Amy Tomlin, told KIRO 7 they were shocked and saddened by the discovery, especially in a place that is normally calm and serene.
“Any kind of hate that’s unbridled is scary,” she said.
KIRO 7 learned cases like this are happening a lot more often.
Nationwide, the Anti-Defamation League reported there were more antisemitic incidents in recent years than at any other point since the 1970s.
Included in that list was a series of swastikas placed around Bellingham last fall.
“We need to make sure we’re not just silent about it,” said Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson.
Going forward, Nelson said he’s proposing that night vision cameras be placed in parks around town, all with the goal of catching possible hate crimes in progress.
He said he’s also asking local schools to spend more time teaching about the dangers of antisemitism.
“There’s nothing childlike about promoting white supremacy,” he said. “There’s nothing childlike about promoting messages of hate.”
Nelson told KIRO 7 he is also proposing an in-person town hall event aimed at tackling hate. Should that happen, it’ll be the first in-person gathering of the pandemic.
Across the country, there were more than 2,000 antisemitic incidents in 2019, proving that hate is still a very real threat in American cities, including Edmonds.