'Outwatch Patrol' wants to make Capitol Hill safer

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by NATALIE SWABY/KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 11:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 19 at 11:34 PM

SEATTLE - The owner of a Capitol Hill business is behind the Outwatch Patrol, a group of volunteers who want to make their neighborhood safer after reports of late night violence.

Jennifer Dietrich owns Dr. Jen's House of Beauty on East Pike Street. From her store's window she has seen criminal activity.

"The two years I have been down here I have just watched the neighborhood get more and more unsafe," said Dietrich.

She said she was grabbed by a man near her store in November.

"We fought a couple minutes and then I ran down the street," said Dietrich.

Cherry Sur Bete is a drag queen who also works with Dietrich. He said he has been verbally attacked and he has friends who have been physically hurt.

"It is not just the queer community that is being assaulted," said Cherry. "We are seeing every level of danger happening and increasing."

The personal stories Dietrich has heard coupled with recent news about stabbings and robberies are why she decided to act.

"I just snapped and said I have to do something. I can't just sit in my store and not do anything anymore," said Dietrich.

She said there's not enough police patrolling late at night. Dietrich's Outwatch Patrol will consist of volunteers with self defense training.

"If there are four of us walking with someone there is going to be a lot less likelihood that that person will get attacked," said Dietrich.

Outwatch Patrol plans to launch during Pride Fest weekend. You can learn more here: https://www.facebook.com/OWPatrol 

1300 officers respond to crimes citywide, according to Seattle police spokesperson Officer Patrick Michaud. Michaud added that community involvement like neighborhood watch groups can be helpful when they are conducted safely and report criminal activity to police.  

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