SEATTLE — Families in West Seattle are on edge after a total of six flashing or lewd incidents near schools have been reported to police since early September.
These incidents have been happening so often lately, many schools are reaching out to safety experts for help and advice.
Kim Estes from Savvy Parents Safe Kids knows all about the dangers that young people face these days. Estes said Wednesday she’s holding five seminars in West Seattle in the coming weeks.
“I think this is the work of somebody who’s getting bolder and is really kind of wreaking havoc,” Estes said.
Seattle police are hunting for the men who flashed children near Madison Middle School and Westside School on Monday.
“We’re looking at probably the work of one or two people,” Estes said. “As adults, parents, citizens, we need to be talking to our kids about safety and reminding them to not approach a vehicle. If they feel like they’re being followed, make sure they have four, five or six homes and businesses that they can go to immediately and seek help.”
Carole Jacobson and her pug are making extra rounds in her neighborhood, staying on the lookout for anything suspicious
“We’re out at 6:30 in the morning, at noon, and at 3 in the afternoon,” said Jacobson. ”We’re doing extra walks to see if we can find this guy.”
Monday’s flashing incidents are just the latest in a string of lewd crimes that have occurred near schools in West Seattle since at least Sept. 10.
Estes said watchful parents need some safety tips, too.
“I always tell my parents, don’t go CSI, don’t go police-force on someone you don’t know, because you are not trained to handle it,” Estes said. “Sit back and observe. The best thing we have are the tools that we carry with us — our cell phones. Take a picture, immediately make a 911 call.”
Estes said parents need to continue talking to their kids about stranger dangers – but only ways that aren’t going to terrify children.
Meanwhile, neighbors in West Seattle vow to keep a close eye on each other – and anybody else wandering their streets.
“We’re very confused about why this is happening and that nobody has found this guy,” said Jacobson.
Estes is holding a workshop for parents to answer questions from parents and to offer advice. The meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5 — Election Day — at the Hope Lutheran School in West Seattle.
The workshop is free and open to the public.