SEATTLE — It is unfortunate that a lot of parents and kids say their West Seattle neighborhood and school yards just don’t feel as safe as they once did.
“It’s really, really scary. My daughter was out here when it happened at Holy Rosary,” Jonathan French said Wednesday.
The latest incidents happened Tuesday afternoon.
The first, at 1:15 p.m., happened near The Westside School.
A group of girls were playing together when they saw the suspect sitting in a black four-door sedan, touching himself in an inappropriate manner.
They screamed and he drove away.
Then, just over an hour later, there was another incident.
Two 13-year-old girls were walking home from school, heading southbound on 45th Avenue SW approaching SW Andover Street. One girl saw a man with his car door open, wearing no pants and touching himself. The girls crossed the street and took out their cell phones and the man sped away.
Parents are now being even more vigilant than ever before.
“Picking up their kids after school, picking up other kids and dropping them off, just kind of keeping an eye out around lunch time, driving around the school, looking around to see if anyone looks suspicious,” French said.
This brings to six the number of incidents in West Seattle since Sept. 10.
Now comes Halloween — a very busy night with kids everywhere. And plans are being made for everyone to work together.
“We carry flashlights. We stick together as a group and there’s a enough of us in our neighborhood. There’s a lot of kids trick-or-treating in our neighborhood so there’s people out and about. So we’re pretty good,” parent Felicia Oh said.
“If my kid was trick or treating I’d be standing next to them the whole time. They wouldn’t be out of my sight and it’s just unfortunate that it has to be like this but I think until they get a handle on this there’s no other options,” French said.
“I’d like to say they shouldn’t be worried at all, but the reality is we have to look at common sense,” Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound Executive Director Myrle Carner said.
He knows how challenging Halloween night can be and he encourages parents to talk with their kids about what to do if they find themselves in trouble.
“Scream, kick, yell, run, do whatever you can to bring attention to the situation and, as soon as you can, call 911,” Carner said.
And as important, for parents and kids; be a good witness so you can help police.
“Remember what these individuals look like. Was there any distinctive clothing? Was there any distinctive facial marks? Did they talk with a certain brogue or these types of things? It’s very helpful to the cops to know what these individuals look like,” Carner said.
The suspect is described as a heavy-set white or Hispanic man in his 30s with short dark hair, scruffy facial hair, dark rim glasses and wearing a blue t-shirt. He was driving an older, black four-door sedan with small dents on the driver’s side and tinted rear windows.