Downtown Seattle holiday season kicks off, shoppers warned to stay alert

SEATTLE - The crowds, the lights, carolers and the shopping. It’s Christmas time in downtown Seattle. The shopping season is in full swing but as people come out to enjoy the holiday season, they should remember to stay alert and take precautions especially while they shop.

“We love the lights and the feel of Christmas time,” said Emily from Maple Valley.

“People know to come downtown during the holidays. It’s a gathering spot the entire season,” said James Sido, with the Downtown Seattle Association.

But as most people focus on the holiday festivities, criminals can see unsuspecting shoppers as the perfect target.

“I have had an incident when somebody came up and they looked like they were going to grab something. I learned that I had the fight instead of flight reaction so I just yelled really loudly and they backed off. So I feel like if you scare them more than they scare you, you’ll be good,” said Samantha Marziello, who lives in Capitol Hill.

Just this week, a woman staying at the Westin in downtown Seattle was attacked after being followed onto the elevator. A 37-year old man was also shot and killed in Pioneer Square. Even after those incidents, the Downtown Seattle Association says it’s still relatively safe but police presence will be increased.

“Whenever you have all of these large masses of people getting in one place, security is going to be elevated.

That’s just simply a standard precaution,” Sido said.

Seattle Police say people should never leave their shopping bags unattended or place them on the seats of the car. Shoppers should also be aware of their surroundings. With the holiday spirit filling the air, most shoppers we spoke to just want to focus on the goodness of the season.

“I like to think people are nice. I know that’s not true but it’s Christmas. Whoever has a bad attitude right now go see a Christmas Carol downtown,” said Mario Martinez from Seattle.