Violence at Seattle parks prompt ranger patrols

SEATTLE — Two new park rangers will be hired by the City of Seattle to try to curb violence at two popular parks.

Mayor Mike McGinn announced Thursday morning the rangers will be specifically assigned to patrol Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square’s Occidental Park, 40 hours per week.

"We heard from the community that they're concerned about their safety in the parks,” McGinn said at a morning news conference.

Multiple stabbings and a sexual assault at Cal Anderson Park have pushed the city take action to help cut down on crime.

Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill and Occidental Park in Pioneer Square will soon have  designated park rangers on patrol.

Last week alone, there were two stabbings in the park.  A week and a half earlier, a woman claimed she was held down and sexually assaulted.  Police never found the attacker, but they did find a man with a concealed sword, meat cleaver and an AirSoft pellet gun.

Paid for with extra money in the Parks Department's budget, the rangers will be on the job by the end of June and will work closely with the Seattle Police Department.

Some residents who live near the parks are thankful for the new patrols.  But some aren’t sure the rangers will make a difference, since they won’t be armed and don’t have the authority to make arrests.

“I don't think they provide safety,” said Capitol Hill resident Mia Smith, “and unless they're going to be working between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., no, I don't think it's going to promote more safety."

The Parks Department is working with the Seattle Police Department on the schedule for the park rangers.