SEATTLE -- There’s a new plan to combat the troubling spike in hate crimes against gay, lesbian and transgendered people in Seattle.
On Thursday, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled the strategy, and said he’s determined to end the attacks in the city’s historic gay and lesbian neighborhood.
“As we’ve made progress,” Murray said, “we’re seeing a reaction from people who are afraid of that change, afraid of something they don’t know.”
Murray, who is Seattle’s first openly gay mayor, noted that other big cities are experiencing the problem, too.
So far this year, there have been 41 crimes and incidents reported to the Seattle Police Department. During the same time last year, the number was only 28. So, the increase has been nearly 50%.
Most of violence and abuse has occurred right in the heart of the region’s most vibrant gay and lesbian neighborhood, Capitol Hill.
Here are some of the main elements of the mayor’s anti-hate-crime plan:
- SPD Emphasis Patrols
- Safe Place Program
- Better Street Lighting/Alley Cleanup
- Neighborhood Safety Shuttle
- Transgendered Homeless Youth Housing
- More Rainbow Crosswalks
Murray argues the 11 newly striped crosswalks help send the strong message to outsiders that Capitol Hill is an LGBT-friendly area and therefore serve to change attitudes and behavior.
Murray’s plan was crafted by a LGBTQ Task Force that has been working on the problem for months.
No overall price tag was given for Murray’s anti-hate-crime plan, but the mayor said he would include money for it in next year’s budget.