Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Personal Safety On The Street

I've always taken my personal safety for granted, but that has (now) twice put me in a dangerous circumstance.  Most of my readers already know that I was short of being attacked after leaving a friend's apartment near Spring and 14th near the Seattle University campus.  I was merely walking down her alley, turned the corner, and noticed two guys walking towards me a block ahead.  They immediately stopped what they were doing, and began to yell profanities at me.  I was afraid, and managed to walk around them (by going into the street), but one of them followed me, and then shoved me, at which point I took off running.  I ran the few blocks over to Seattle U's public safety office and explained what happened.  I was fairly shaken up, and my roommate had to come and drive me home.  That was probably about two years ago.

Last night, I was walking home from my bus stop at 3rd and Pine.  I decided to catch the Metro 49 up to Boren and Pike.  From there, I usually walk up Minor to University, and then a block east to my apartment building.  As I turned the corner on Minor, there was a gentleman loitering near the entrance of that low-income housing building.  I saw him and he clearly saw me.  I walked up the street, on the opposite side, and he slowly started to follow me.  I kept looking back, and soon enough, he was on my side of the street continuing to follow me.  Rather than continue up Minor, I walked over to and up Union.  He was still following me.  As I got to Summit, I sprinted through the gravel parking lot, and then speed-walked to my apartment.  As I was about to go inside, I noticed that the guy was walking up the street towards me.  I was inside a gated and locked building.  I was safe.

Do I know for sure if he was following/planning on attacking me?  No.  But something about it didn't feel right, and I think the fact that two people were out walking their dog may have helped my situation, if indeed, he was intending to attack me.  Am I paranoid?  I don't think so.  Just cautious.  The Central District News reports that according to the Seattle Police Department's (SPD) East Precinct Captain, crime is down.  Read the (short) statistical report here.  It also points out that "iPod headphones make you a target on the street.  Consider walking sans-tunes."  I was, in fact, wearing my headphones.  I guess there is another luxury I have to give up if I want to remain safe walking the streets.

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