Following a report that swastikas were recently spray-painted on the trunks of several trees at Southwest County Park, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson on Monday outlined what he called a proactive plan to address this and other “acts of hate” in the city.
According to a mayor’s office announcement, an Edmonds resident alerted the City of Edmonds and Snohomish County officials of the swastikas at the park, which is owned and managed by Snohomish County but located between Olympic View Drive and 76th Avenue in Edmonds. A coordinated effort was launched to address the situation involving the city, Snohomish County Parks and the Snohomish County Executive’s office.
The Edmonds Police Department took a police report and the Snohomish County Parks Department dispatched rangers to the areas where the incident happened. After documenting the crime, rangers were able to successfully remove the symbols.
“The use of symbols like swastikas is an act of hate, meant to harass and induce fear in those who encounter them,” Nelson said. “Such continuing acts of hate, destruction of property, and intimidation to our residents will not be tolerated. We are taking action to ensure these acts don’t take place in our parks and community in the future.”
In response, the mayor outlined the following plan:
- The city is researching the placement of night-vision “game cameras” on and in trails and parks in citywide. The purpose of these cameras in public areas is to deter criminal behavior and to potentially aid in the apprehension of those committing crimes. Signage would be posted at entrance and egress points notifying people using the parks that, due to factors of protection and safety, those entering may be subject to surveillance. The city will ask Snohomish County to place similar surveillance cameras at Southwest County Park.
- The city will work with community groups to develop a town hall meeting that will include information and education about what defines malicious harassment under state law, as well as other hate-related crimes.
- The Edmonds Police Department plans to contact the Edmonds School District”to explore aiding or supporting additional harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) and diversity and inclusion training and curricula within the school district.
- The city’s departments, including the police department, will work with community groups, the Edmonds Diversity Commission and Youth Commission, Snohomish County Parks, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, the Edmonds School District, and other interested public and private groups “to positively address the root causes of such hateful incidents and provide education related to diversity and inclusion,” the mayor’s announcement said.