Navigating Seattle’s Crime Surge: What to Do if You’re Caught in a Situation

On May 7, a 51-year-old man was stabbed multiple times outside of a downtown Seattle hotel after an attempted robbery. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and officers arrested the suspect. 

Between January and March of this year, there were 1,087 violent crimes, including 333 cases of robbery. According to the City of Seattle Year-End Crime Report, in 2022, there were 5,591 violent crimes, a 4% increase from 2021. This includes an increase in homicides and specifically homicides connected to homelessness and domestic violence. 2022 was also the year of the highest violent crime rate in Seattle in 15 years. It’s important to know what to do and how to stay safe if you’re ever in a violent situation anywhere. 

During a robbery, there are important steps you should follow to keep yourself safe:

  1. Remain calm and don’t resist. Let the robber know you’ll cooperate, and don’t make sudden movements that could risk your safety.
  2. Follow the robber’s directions, only giving exactly what they’re asking, not more. If you have to move or reach into a bag or pockets, tell the robber what you are doing and why. 
  3. Remember the robber’s appearance. Features like race, age, height, hair and eye color, or a unique scar or tattoo can help police identify them. If they have a weapon, remember the type and general description; if they have a car, the make, model and license plate number can also be helpful identifiers. 
  4. Remember what the robber does so you can include it in the police report. If there are two robbers, do they mention any names or locations? If they touch an object, remember which ones so police can collect fingerprints. 
  5. After the robbery, get to a safe location and report the crime. If you’re in an isolated area, move to one with people and ask if someone can wait with you for the police. If you remain at the crime scene, make sure not to touch anything. If there are any witnesses, ask them to stay or, if they have to leave, write down their name, address and phone number. 

Mass attacks can include an individual using a firearm, vehicle, homemade bomb or other weapon to cause mass casualties. Since you can’t predict when an attack could occur, there are a number of ways in your day-to-day life to prepare beforehand:

  1. Have an exit plan: understanding where you can hide or exit a space is important for any emergency
  2. Stay alert: be aware of what is happening around you and of any possible dangers
  3. Learn lifesaving skills: if you or others are injured, you can take action to help before the emergency responders arrive. There is CPR, first aid and You Are the Help Until Help Arrives training that you can do to be prepared. 

During a mass attack, the most important things you can do are run, hide and fight. Seeking safety from the attacker is your first priority. Next, call 9-1-1 when you are safe. If you can’t evacuate, find a place to hide and cover out of view of the attacker. If you can, put a solid barrier between you. If you’re unable to do either, as a last resort, fight. Try to disrupt the attack or attacker, be aggressive, get the help of others and be prepared to cause severe injuries to the attacker. If you’re injured, take care of yourself first if you’re able, then help other wounded get to safety. After, when law enforcement arrives, remain calm, follow instructions, and keep your hands visible and empty. 

Domestic abuse or domestic violence can be “physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions that influence after person” and can occur to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith or class. If you’re experiencing or know anyone experiencing a domestic violence situation, the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Office at BC and King County offer many resources for those affected. 

At Bellevue College, the Office of Public Safety works as “the first responder for all criminal incidents, provides general patrol of campus facilities and property, investigates collisions, manages traffic safety and parking enforcement, coordinates emergency preparedness planning, and provides crime prevention programs.” They respond to non-violent crises, defuse confrontational situations, and provide basic CPR and emergency response for major incidents. 

Their office is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but their officers patrol campus 24/7. If you’re feeling unsafe on campus, visit their office in B132, call 425-564-2400 during regular business hours or call 425-466-9365 anytime.