Britain raises terror threat level to ‘critical’ for first time in a decade

Racially charged graffiti spray-painted on Ballard homes

SEATTLE – Homes in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle were tagged with racial graffiti Sunday.

From “Build the Wall,” to the Star of David to blatant profanity, multiple vacant homes in the neighborhood were targeted and neighbors said they don’t know why.

“I’m Jewish and my grandparents are survivors (of the Holocaust) and they wore the Star,” said one neighbor who only wanted to be identified as “Simon.”

Simon said he was walking his dog on Sunday when he came across the first home on 28th Avenue in Ballard marked with a Star of David.

“That freaked me out enough, I didn’t need the rest of it,” said Simon.

But more graffiti was spotted on Northwest 65th Street, where a new development was tagged in multiple windows.

“There’s more than just the Star of David,” said Simon. “When you compare that with ‘build the wall’ and ‘expletive you,’” he said, there is only one way he could interpret the graffiti.

“I was kind of freaked out, it was definitely terrifying and a little bit infuriating,” he said.

At least three homes in the Ballard neighborhood were tagged with the Star of David, including Kevin Brady’s home, which is currently up for sale. Brady said he is Catholic, so he was surprised to see the Star of David painted on his house.

“At the end of the day, it’s just simple vandalism,” he said.

One coat of paint, said Brady, is an easy fix for the problem.

Brady suspects it’s one of two people: either bored kids or somebody else who doesn’t like the development in the area, he said.  Either way, Brady said he can see why Simon would be offended.

“I can’t imagine what people walking through the neighborhood think, it’s got to make them uncomfortable,” he said.

Seattle Police said they were alerted to the Ballard graffiti by the media on Sunday afternoon. SPD detectives told Q13 News it’s hard to say if racist graffiti is on the rise, or if more people are willing to report it when they see it.

This year there have been 25 cases of Bias or Hate crimes reported to Seattle police. Eleven of those crimes specifically targeted race or religion.In all of last year, there were 255 cases reported; in 2015, 204 cases.

“I am just concerned that we seem to be living in a climate in which these acts against Jews, Muslims, minorities and other marginalized people are more acceptable and suddenly the people doing these things seem more empowered to do so,” said Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai.

Rabbi Weiner said it simply needs to stop, “There’s no room for this kind of intolerance.”

“My grandfather would be in tears,” said Simon. “He would say, ‘What is happening to this country. This country that rescued me?’”

Simon said he hopes the graffiti gets erased, before more people see it and are offended.

“Nobody who is a citizen of this country should feel threatened. Nobody who’s a visitor to this country should be threatened because of who they are or where they’re from.”