Seattle Crime Deterrent? Free Ping Pong

City installs game in its parks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 7, 2015 8:41 AM CDT
Seattle Crime Deterrent? Free Ping Pong
A ping pong game in Michigan. Seattle is making the game available in parks to see if it lowers crime.   (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

The city of Seattle is wondering if free ping pong in its parks may help stop crime. The city's experiment with a free ping pong table seems to be making a difference. A ping pong table was installed at Hing Hay Park in Chinatown four years ago. Since then, crime data from the Seattle Police Department suggests incidents in the area seem to be going down, although there have been ups and downs. There were 46 crime incidents in the area in 2009 and 16 in 2014.

"Ping pong brings people to a neighborhood, to a space," a Chinatown development official tells KING-TV. "If there's a lot of positive activity, some of the negative stuff doesn't want to be here." No one is willing to draw a direct connection between the ping pong table and the crime statistics, but the city has installed four other tables since then. Officials believe the positive community activity could be crowding out crime. (More Ping-Pong stories.)

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