Seattle Police have released warnings and tips after three sexually-motivated attacks on women in the North Precinct, including one in Greenwood on Sunday night, and another this morning at Green Lake.
Here’s the message from Terrie Johnston, SPD’s Crime Prevention Officer for the North Precinct:
The descriptions of the suspect vary, as does neighborhood, time of day and day of the week. The common threads have been that the women were either walking or running by themselves, and were approached by an unknown male. Two of the incidents occurred next to wooded areas. SPD Patrol officers and Detectives are doing all they can to identify and apprehend the suspect(s). I will keep you informed of our progress. In the meantime, please review these personal safety tips:
Awareness and avoidance: Keep alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
Do you know your location? Do you know the street names, hundred block? East, South, West, North? Could you tell the 9-1-1 call taker to where they need to dispatch responders?
Trust your instincts! If you have an uncomfortable feeling-honor it! Leave, cross the street, double-back. Forget “being nice”. If you feel uncomfortable, move! Don’t hesitate to make a scene or scream if necessary.
Try to get good descriptions of anyone acting suspiciously or threatening. Start from the head and work down. Most likely you know your height, so use this to gauge theirs.
Try and stay on streets where you can be easily seen by others. Well-lighted streets are best.
If traveling alone, take a charged up cell phone with you if possible. Know what is available to you along your route. What time does that store open or close? Does that apt.bldg. have a security guard? Is there a payphone?
Ipod earphones, etc. may prevent you from hearing someone approaching. As does texting while you are walking, waiting for the bus, etc. You need to be aware when out if public spaces.
Traveling with another person, is tried and true in reducing street crime. Going with two others reduces the risk even more.
Carrying a minimum amount of possessions is advised when out and about. It isn’t necessary to carry all your credit cards, check book, cash, and so on, every time you go out. Take what you need for this trip. Keep valuables close to the body, in inside pockets. This frees up your hands and does not invite pickpocketing.
Body Language: Stand tall, walk confidently with your head up, eyes open and constantly scanning the surroundings.
Try not to show fear. Keep a neutral face that shows you are “in charge”.
Wear appropriate clothing for the street. Shoes that are comfortable and allow you to run if necessary. Choose clothing that allows you to move, and does not block your vision.
And as always, please call 9-1-1 for anything suspicious or to report a crime in progress.