Police patrols added for trail area

By KARL SCHWEIZER

Herald Writer

EVERETT — More police patrols are planned for the Interurban Trail, site of a vicious stabbing attack against a 14-year-old girl Oct. 9, an Everett police official told concerned neighbors Thursday.

But citizens will have to do their part to prevent crime there, too, said Everett Police Capt. Jim Seaman.

The comments were made at a meeting of about 40 neighbors and city officials Thursday evening at Eisenhower Middle School. At issue was how to make the trail safer.

It’s an issue of particular importance to the girl’s mother, who went to the meeting to ask for neighbors’ help in keeping the trail safe.

"I sure don’t want anybody else to get hurt," the mother said.

She also thanked the paramedics who saved her daughter’s life, as well as the still-anonymous jogger who interrupted the attack. The girl has been released from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and is recovering, her mother said.

Meeting organizer Paulene Watson asked that the mother not be interviewed. She has not been named because The Herald generally does not reveal information that would point to the identity of attack victims.

Watson proposed several ideas for making the trail safer, including adding lights and organizing volunteers to clean up garbage along the debris-strewn trail. It would also be helpful if more people used the trail, she said.

Lights would be helpful, but the best prevention is for people to be cognizant of their personal safety, police Sgt. Chris Andersen said. Parents should teach children to go down the trail in groups, Anderson said.

Police Chief Jim Scharf noted that the attack on the girl occurred in the dark, while she was alone, at an early hour. Such attacks are rare, and the trail is not one of the more dangerous areas in the city, Scharf said.

"Up until this time, we’ve had very few incidents where somebody has jumped out and tried to accost a child," he said.

Seaman said the patrol beat that includes the Interurban Trail in Everett has added bicycle officers, who will spend more time patrolling the trail. But they can’t be there all the time, so citizens still need to use some precautions, he said.

"I can assure you that we are going to pick up the pace as best we can," Seaman said.

Watson asked volunteers to attend a trail cleanup planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 10. Workers are to meet at the Everett Mall or at the Wal-Mart on 164th Street SW in Lynnwood.

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