New neighbor wants to know: North Beacon safe for runners?

A poster on reddit.com asked this question yesterday:

“So long story short, I’m coming from the East Coast and I’m moving to North Beacon Hill. –is it safe to run outside as a mid-20’s female by myself?
I know the area is mostly blue-collar and there’s a school right across the street for me, and park next to it. But just because there’s a school doesn’t promise me it’s a safe neighborhood. So I’m looking for thoughts, suggestions, tips. I’d like to run close to home so even if you can point me to link so I can find the answers myself that would be cool.”

A few sample responses:

“I am a late 20’s female, and live on North Beacon Hill. Running during the day is not a big deal at all. The most that’s happened is getting cat calls while running on Rainier. I’ve lived here almost 5 years and haven’t been running at night, but honestly, I don’t even really feel safe walking at night here.” – phantompoop

“Beacon Hill is fine. The neighborhood is a little lower-rent than some areas, but overall you should be safe. Try to stay out of poorly-lit/isolated areas (the I-90 trail comes to mind), don’t run with your headphones or anything that makes you less aware of your surroundings, don’t run at 3 in the morning, and just trust your own instincts. That goes for any neighborhood, actually.” — fact_bears_eat_beets

“There are only a few other parts of Seattle that are worse. Anyone who tells you Beacon Hill is ok is flat out lying to you or delusional.” — Fishermansterminal

Want to add your two cents? Here’s the Reddit post.

11 thoughts on “New neighbor wants to know: North Beacon safe for runners?”

  1. I don’t know how accurate this map is, but it indicates that the crime rate in Beacon Hill is higher than neighborhoods like Laurelhurst, Mount Baker, and Madison Park, but lower than the The U-District, Central District and Capitol Hill south of Mercer and West of 15th Ave (Pike/Pine Corridor, Seattle Central, etc).

    It appears to be comparable to the crime rate in the parts of Capitol Hill that are west of 15th Ave E. and north of Mercer. The crime rate also seems to go down as you move south through BEHI, so the area north of Bayview has more crime than the areas south of Bayview.

    What I would say distinguishes BEHI from the areas of Capitol Hill with comparable crime rates is that there are generally more people on the street at night in Capitol Hill, especially on Broadway. So it’s probably safer for a woman to run alone at night there than it would be to run in north BEHI.

    http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/wa/seattle/crime/

    So no, BEHI is not the safest neighborhood in Seattle. But I can’t agree with Fishermansterminal that it is among the worst either. Perhaps buddy needs to get out of Ballard more often. Oh wait, downtown Ballard looks like it has a higher crime rate than does all of Beacon Hill.

  2. I have lived in North Beacon Hill for a year now. I have walked home the 2 blocks from the bus a many of late nights. It’s not a bad area. The only crime I have heard of is petty car window broken kinda stuff. I haven’t know anyone to get attacked. My neighbor is an avid running and she hasn’t had a problem. I think the response from fact_bears_eat_beets is quite accurate. I also wouldn’t suggest running the same route at the same time every day or on a schedule. But this is a common thing to avoid making yourself an ideal victim.

  3. Compared to most of the rest of the country, Seattle is Disneyland. The only people who think Seattle has “bad” neighborhoods are the local yokels who never left (and who would still be using the sound as a garbage dump and burning trash in their backyards if it weren’t for civilizing force of the transplants.) Here’s the best tip on running in Seattle I can think of: run like hell from anyone with a “Washington Native” license plate frame. They will literally bore you to death given half a chance.

    Use your head, you’ll be fine.

  4. I am a woman in my 40s and I run on Beacon Hill. I have lived and run here for 18 years. I only run during daylight. I have never had any problem. I often see other runners, male and female, young and old.
    I think the typical safety advice applies – be aware of your surroundings and stay off of nasty old Rainier Ave.

  5. My biggest complaint about running on Beacon Hill is that it’s a hill. Biggest safety risk is blowing out your knees.

  6. I am a lifelong resident of north Beacon Hill. I enjoy running on Beacon Hill, particularly the areas near and thru the golf course. I too would not run at night though. I also carry a pepper spray in case any dogs or thugs try to get too friendly.

  7. I have gone running almost every night on Beacon Hill for over two years. I start my run right about where you live, and run to MacPhereson’s vegetable stand and back. If you’ve got your wits about you, you’ll be fiiiiiine. I think it helps if you stay on the main streets that are well lit. Also, say hi to people as you run. This helps you get to know your hood and show people that you are confident(ie. not a victim!). I run with headphones on. I have never ONCE felt threatened :)
    I’ve met a ton of really cool friends while running up here!

  8. Welcome to the neigborhood and to Seattle! I have lived on the hill for over 20 years and have both walked and run around the area. Recently most of my running/walking was done around 4:30AM but I run with a GSD and I don’t put dog tags on her so you can’t hear her coming. I have run along Beacon up onto the new park at Jefferson and I have run down the back side of Cheasty Blvd. Though I have never seen any sort of shady activity at these hours I would not recommend any of these routes to a single running female in the dark. North BH is generally safe but does have it’s problem. My neighbor was a victim of an armed robbery. I have been a victim of a home robbery and have several items from my tool shed and back yard stolen over a period of time (10 years)but all neighborhoods carry some sort of crime, just some more than others. You don’t indicate if you will be running during the dark or light. My suggestion is to run during the daylight hours and if possible with a running buddy or group. Or since I have not been running lately due to a disease called “Laziness” you can always take my girl with you :) Over all trust your instincts, avoid what looks or feels like an uncomfortable situation, be aware of your surroundings and always have an escape route.

  9. I have resided on Beacon Hill for 28 years and was a runner 22 of those years, now a walker on the hill. I ran at 5:30 AM – same route all those years and got to know the regulars at that hour of the day. I had a running partner in those early hours when it was dark, but in the day, felt completely safe running around Jefferson Park and North Beacon Hill on my own.

    Use common sense like one of the comments about not wearing headphone etc. so know what is going on around you at all times. One other idea was that I wore an alarm that just made a very loud noise if I needed to get someones attention if I was needing help, never had to use it!

    Run smart but keep running it is so fun!

  10. PS – Forgot to mention I am female. The routes I took were lighted well and often on main streets, Beacon Ave So – 15th Ave So. and the wonderful new Mountains to Sound trail.

  11. I’m in my late 30’s and have been running for 4 years. I live on North Beacon Hill and tend to either hit the I-90 trail and split off at the stairs and run along the shores Lake Washington. In daylight hours I often see Bald Eagles, which is pretty cool for city livin.’ Sometimes I head south on Beacon Avenue and run along the Chief Sealth Trail. I’ve never had a safety issue with other people. I have recently had a safety issue with the sidewalk, as I caught my toe and fell. I’ve run these routes at all times of day in all conditions (light, dark, rain, wind, etc.). I avoid the Lake route in the dark, because the tree roots make the sidewalk extra bumpy. I’m new to this blog, and don’t know if you can reply to my reply but, if you want to email me I can give you more route details or possibly meet up for a run.

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