In local news, some residents of Seattle's Capitol Hill are getting fed up with street assaults. According to this article in The Seattle Times, a new neighborhood watch group is in the works. Dubbed "OutWatch" and modeled after Q-Patrol in the early 1990s (which was modeled after NYC's Guardian Angels of an earlier decade), the current plan seems to have patrols consisting of 4 persons. Initially, at least 2 of the 4 are supposed to have self-defense training.
[Which is all very nice, except that self-defense may or may not be what they need. I sure hope their self-defense training included de-escalation training and bystander intervention, which are more valuable skills for this endeavor. I hope they are also planning on background checks for all volunteers.]
According to the article, it seems the patrols' primary aim is to escort people safely to their cars, homes, or other safe place. This should be useful -- after all, the police do advise us to keep with a group to reduce risk of assault. Simply having a presence can also remind us to keep safety and awareness of our surroundings in mind, as well as send a message that people are watching and won't put up with violence in their community.
I wish them luck organizing and sustaining this project.