In response to: A brief history of crime at BCC, Volume 75, Issue 6

Having just finished reading the Jibsheet article entitled “A brief history of crime at BCC,” (Vol 75, Issue 6, October 21, 2008), as the Director of Public Safety, I want to emphasize that the safety of the students, employees, visitors and property on Bellevue Community College is the primary concern to the Administrators of the College and to the BCC Public Safety Department. Public Safety’s charter is to help provide a safe environment for everyone to be able to enjoy the campus for all of the various reasons that people would be here, whether they are here for their educational pursuits, it is their workplace, or they are here for an event. At all times, every day of the year, to include weekends, holidays, severe weather days and days when no one else is on campus, there is always at least one Public Safety Officer on duty to provide this service. I would encourage each individual on campus to spread the word that. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason walking anywhere on campus, whether it is dark, rainy, snowy, or you just have a funny feeling on the back of your neck, a Public Safety Officer will escort you. You never have to feel like you are alone or without resources! In the article, the telephone number for Public Safety was incorrect; the correct number is 425-564-2400. This is easy to remember because Public Safety is open 24 hours a day from! Understanding crime is a key for preparing for your security. For crime to occur, three elements are needed: the perpetrator’s desire to commit the crime; the perpetrator’s ability to commit the crime; and an opportunity to commit the crime (wrong place, wrong time/ you have been sized up/ you have what I want/ I feel I will not get caught). Although you can not influence a perpetrator’s desire or ability, you can do things to lessen the opportunity. The Jibsheet article discusses some methods to protect yourself while walking around campus (or, in reality, anywhere); the suggestion is to carry your keys in your hand to defend yourself. While this is a commonly cited method, it is one that needs to be practiced, practiced and practiced some more for it to be effective. Trying it out for the first time when you are being attacked is not going to produce the desired result. The best ways to protect yourself are: be aware of your surroundings, avoid places/situations that would make you a target or make targeting you easier, be self-assured in the way you walk, and, most importantly, listen to your “gut feelings.” When you are looking at that long, dark stairway with bushes lining the sides, and something in your brain says, “Don’t go there,” there is a reason that you have that feeling. Listen to it! The article describes a murder that happened off-campus on a trail in 2005, that leads down toward the Department of Social and Health Services. It is important to remember that this tragedy definitely happened off the BCC campus; but it was on a secluded, darkened trail, lined on all sides by shrubs/trees. It was during the day; but again the victim was alone in a secluded, darkened trail, lined on all sides by shrubs/trees. The perpetrator was caught, charged with murder in the first degree, plead guilty, and sentenced. If any group, club or organization would like to have a presentation on personal safety, please feel free to contact me to arrange a time and date.
Maggie Whetsel Director of Public Safety BCC