How to Stay Vigilant and Utilize Public Safety Resources at Bellevue College

Sean Wu // The Watchdog

On May 22, BC Public Safety sent out a Public Safety Bulletin detailing recent incidents related to an individual who identified themself as ‘Chris’. The earliest reported incident was in November of 2022, and there have been several incidents involving this individual since. 

‘Chris’ has been reported to be seen around the C Building and, more recently, the R Building, where he has approached multiple young women on campus, complimented their attire, then asked them to go to Bellevue Square or Downtown Seattle to get bubble tea with him. 

The Public Safety Notice further details: “On one occasion, it was alleged that the man convinced a young woman to be driven to an undisclosed location, refused to tell her where he was taking her, before parking and making unwanted sexual advances. The young woman was later released, unharmed.” 

The man is described as “thin, dark-haired and identified himself as ‘Filipino’ and ‘27 years of age’; he also drives a black Lexus and wears a necklace with a diary-style lock. There is an ongoing investigation into these incidents. If you are contacted by this person, notify Public Safety immediately, and if you are in immediate danger, call 911.”

While this individual claims he is a BC Student, he is not. It’s certainly a scary reality when we always have to be alert and consider every possibility that could bring potential danger, even on campus. However, knowing what campus resources are available for you to utilize in situations like this is a good way to protect yourself and others in our community. 

Being informed about your surroundings and potential threats to avoid is the first step in protecting yourself. The director of Public Safety at BC, Ross Villegas, notes, “The first thing is we want students to sign up for BC Alerts. When there is a serious ongoing emergency, [Public Safety] uses BC Alerts,” to inform subscribers of the situation via text message and email. 

Villegas also says another key safety measure to follow would be to “save our phone number in their phone. [Public Safety] has a 24-hour mobile number that our security officers carry around while they are working.” BC has 24-hour security on campus, and dialing 425-466-9365 allows students to seek help from public safety anytime they need. 

If you do not have a phone or your phone is inaccessible to you in certain situations, “there are also about ten emergency call boxes located around the perimeter of campus. They are blue and have a blue light on them. If your phone is not working, you can contact public safety by pushing the button on the box.”

“We do provide safety escorts at the college,” Villegas continues, “by calling the public safety and saying, for example, ‘I’m at the U Building and I parked at parking lot 5. Can someone meet and walk me over there?’ [Public Safety] would certainly be able to provide that service.” 

In the event that you need to contact public safety because you’re in a precarious situation or have observed a potentially threatening situation, Villegas says to “make sure that you’re safe, then call us; whatever information you can provide can be very helpful depending on what the situation is.” He further explains, “We also want to focus it on behavior. Oftentimes, we hear the word ‘suspicious’, which can mean a lot of things for a lot of people, and we want to make sure we’re not engaging in biased behavior, and so it’s ‘what specifically is the individual doing?’ Is it presenting a safety concern? Being descriptive about [behavior] is really going to help us do our jobs.”

The Title IX Office on campus addresses issues related to gender-based discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct. To report a concern, visit the Title IX office in C227 or report electronically on the Report Concerns website.

Prioritizing personal safety is critical as students begin their college careers. By utilizing the resources Public Safety has provided, students can create a secure environment that allows them to focus on their education and personal growth with peace of mind.