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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 11
SOSea to launch Safety Shuttle program - Self-defense class offered March 18
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SOSea to launch Safety Shuttle program - Self-defense class offered March 18

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) will officially launch its pilot program for a neighborhood safety shuttle service designed to shuttle people around Capitol Hill at night. The idea for a safety shuttle came up as an answer to calls from the community for more safety on Capitol Hill as reports of a spike in hate crimes towards the LGBTQ community surfaced since January.

I am the founder and current president of SOSea.

It's simple, really. People have expressed that they don't feel safe walking around in the neighborhood at night so we decided that the easiest way to move people around, to and from where they are headed, avoiding the possibility of being mugged or attacked, is to simply shuttle them around.

In December I began to look for a passenger van that would be big enough to shuttle eight or more people around. I found one and it was graciously donated to SOSea specifically for this cause. The donor wishes to remain anonymous. After receiving the title to the van, we then had to make sure the vehicle, a 9-passenger GMC van from the 1980s, was mechanically sound. Now, all that is left to do is start the pilot program to find out what the program will ultimately look like.

As with all of our programs, SOSea does not tell the community what the problem is or where the need is. Instead, we reach out and are provided feedback from community members. In that vein, we will operate the pilot program.

The questions that we will answer from the March 19-May 19 pilot program are:

o WHAT are the peak times in which the greatest need exists?

o WHAT are the 'lessons learned' items that we can identify?

o WHO is primarily taking the shuttle?

o WHERE are most people asking to be shuttled to?

o WHAT is the estimated weekly cost to pay the driver, fuel, and operate this program?

o WHAT Capitol Hill nightlife businesses work with the program?

o DID crime stats reflect a decrease in muggings or anti-LGBTQ attacks during the pilot program?

It is important, we believe, to get some answers before we actually launch the program and call it good. Although there is an expected learning curve, we don't foresee any issues to arise that will make the shuttle worthless during the pilot program. For all intents and purposes, this shuttle will be a good and safe way for folks to get home from work, the club, or back to the Seattle University dorms, even during the pilot program period of its life.

It is important to note that SOSea does not think that this safety shuttle is the answer to combating crime on Capitol Hill. It is a way to keep people safer though and that is something. Please consider donating to the shuttle by going to www.SocialOutreachSeattle.com and following the prompts to a safe and secure donation.

In addition, SOSea is offering the first of our monthly self-defense classes March 18 at Neighbours Nightclub (1500 Broadway) from 6 p.m. doors, 6:30-8 p.m. class. This is open to all ages, LGBTQ and Allied, and is a donation-based entry for any amount.

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