Why you might see a billboard of murder victims in Seattle

Sep 18, 2012

The Seattle Police Department is launching a new advertising campaign on buses and billboards in hopes of generating tips about unsolved killings.

Seattle victims like Desmond Jackson, Nicole Westbrook, Danny Vega, and 14 other individuals have been murdered, the police department’s blog states.

“These are the homicide cases that continue to remain open and unsolved since January 2010. Their family and friends, including members of the community and law enforcement agencies want to know who killed them, arrest the murderers and bring justice to the victims,” the department wrote.

The posters are the latest extension of the department’s efforts to solve these murders. In July, the department launched its “Catch a Killer” webpage, which lists the current unsolved murders as well as information about the victims.

The Seattle Times reports that eight of the 23 homicides in the city this year remain unsolved, and there are about 60 dating back to 2000. Detectives hope publicizing the cases will prompt people to come forward with information and help eradicate a "no-snitching" culture that has hindered some investigations.

The ads, being unveiled Tuesday, each feature the photos of three or four of the 18 victims killed in Seattle since the beginning of 2010. Above the photos is a simple question: "Who Killed Me?"

Statements from the department’s blog:

Rev. Harriett Walden, director of the Silent War campaign: “We have many unsolved murder cases in Seattle, and we believe that someone in the community has information that can help solve these crimes. These billboards will remind our community that someone knows something.”

“As chair of the Seattle Police Department’s African American Community Advisory Council, I urge anyone who may know something to step up to the plate and do the right thing,” said Paul Bascomb. “Remember that you have the option to remain anonymous if you do know something – anything, but are reluctant to give up that piece of information, which can lead to an arrest and make our community safer.”

ClearChannel Outdoor is contributing billboard space worth about $60,000. Titan Outdoor, the company behind the ads that will run on Metro buses, donated approximately $11,000 worth of work.