Seattle nonprofit brings back in-person foot patrols to Central District
Starting this week, the nonprofit group Community Passageways will bring more foot patrols to Seattle’s Central District neighborhood during peak school commuting hours.
It’s part of a greater strategy to have a connected neighborhood and deter crime, said Mark Rivers, the director of Community Passageways’ street team outreach.
Community Passageways announced plans for foot patrols in November at a community safety conversation hosted at Black Coffee on 23rd and Jackson. Other Central District community groups also attended.
“We have a lot of people who are in the neighborhood who look at these young people and just watch them walk by,” Rivers said. “But what we want to do is know their names, we want to let them know that we're here and that we support them.”
For Community Passageways CEO Dominique Davis, this work isn’t meant to be an alternative for the police.
Davis said there’s a difference between community policing, and building community and a sense of safety — at least when it comes to the work at Community Passageways. They’re looking to address root causes of violence at a person-to-person level.
“Stopping violence is not always going and getting in the middle of a gang war,” Davis said. “Stopping violence is not always going out to a scene of a shooting and trying to do de-escalation. Stopping violence starts way before that — stopping violence starts with communication, and love, empathy, relationship, and consistency.”
Community Passageways will be looking to hire around 12 to 14 new staff members in the next few months to patrol neighborhoods and build relationships. That will add to its staff of 12 community workers positioned in different parts of Seattle.
Davis said the goal is to build relationships, which could also soothe tensions in the community, and connect youth with mental health, and other resources that people in these neighborhoods otherwise wouldn’t be able to access.
A new Central District community safety gathering will take place on Dec. 12 at Washington Hall.