When I was walking with couple of my friends by the Ave of University of Washington one of my friends shared me a piece of information, “You know what I had heard that a girl was killed by her own boyfriend in this area when he was drugged. So you better be safe”. As soon as I entered my dormitory my friend Ornwipa Thamsuwan asked a friend of mine to accompany her as she found the area a bit risky. After hearing statements as such it was obvious for me to freak out as it had been just a week that I had stepped in the emerald city Seattle. Adapting to new surroundings, people, getting used to the newer food habits, time difference, the ambiguity, confusion, the cultural shocks was already tough to combat with and the fear of security started to devour me.
I am originally from Nepal and before being here my expectations was really different. I used to return to my home late at ten or eleven in a scooter yet I had never been through any kind of taunts or cat calling. We in our home country believed that America is a progressive country with open minded people. With American government emphasizing so much on empowering women, creating safer environment for them and bringing new rights I believed that it would be a safe place or a place of imagination for women. I was totally shocked when I found that America was no different from our country.
With beautiful places like Space needle, Mount Rainier national park, Golden garden, Seattle aquarium Seattle is bound to be a traveller’s paradise. Situated between two major mountain ranges on the banks of Puget sound, Seattle is a medium sized city of over 600,00 people. According to the Seattle police the crime statistics shows that Seattle is relatively safe for its size. It has lower violent crime rate than New York and Washington D.C i.e 414,680 and 42,346 respectively. Checking the crime rates of this very year 2016 there were grand total of 17,488 cases . [Kathleen o’ Toole, chief of police Seattle police department] Bryn Mawr, 28th Ave SW, White center, Third ave nw, south seattle, Lake city and Skyway are the safest Seattle neighborhoods. [According to Neighborhoodscout.com ]
Sunny Cia, a student of University of Washington finds downtown and avenue a bit risky at the night time. 19 years old Cia lives in Canadia apartment. During her stay in Seattle she has faced many taunts, cat calling, people have followed her and have passed comments on her. So she recommends women not to travel at night alone and if you have to do so its better you take friends with you(boys preferred) as they don’t approach you that often. She also suggests girls to carry pepper spray as a tool to ensure your safety.
Sushila Shrestha a Nepali citizen who has been living in Seattle hasn’t been approached yet but she finds downtown a bit scary as she had been followed at times. She believes that Seattle is safer than Dallas and Texas though. She believes that travelling in your own vehicle also ensures safety.
Well it’s obvious for people to be confused after listening to two views which seems to be opposite from each other. So in order to assess the actual situation I went to three different places and I found Capitol Hill to be safest one even when there were so many restaurants, bars and cafes as people were into their own worlds. Different people have different experiences but it’s better to take prevention.
Thus in order to ensure safety for women I talked to many individuals, I surfed the website of Seattle police department and here is what I have learnt and I hope this turns out to beneficial for whoever is intending to travel Seattle.
- It’s convenient than other cities as the google maps are very convenient to other cities
- Walk with purpose and project an assertive business like image
- Stick to well-lit areas and avoid shortcuts.
- Sit near the front of bus. If you are close to the h you are less likely to be harassed.
- If you use the bus regularly consider a transit pass or pre purchased bus tickets to eliminate fumbling for cash.
- If you have to face any confrontation and robber grabs your bag, resist the impulse to play a tug of war. If you hang on there are high chances of getting hit or knocked down.
- Make sure that your belongings are safe and your rooms are double locked. Its better you provide your valuable items enveloped to the front desk for storage.
- Carry a pepper spray for your safety
This story was produced by a student in the “Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI)” program, a collaboration between The Seattle Globalist and FIUTS, supported by the U.S. Department of State. The program brings 20 undergraduates from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal to Seattle. Participants study journalism and new media, and participate in volunteer and service activities, leadership workshops, and cultural excursions. The story is an example of student work and has not yet been through the Seattle Globalist’s standard editing and fact-checking process.