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Safety tips for the new quarter

Welcome back to winter quarter, Huskies.

Welcome back to classrooms and labs, lectures, bus and train commutes, locking up your bike, walking across campuses in the dark, watching for snow and ice, and thinking about spring.

We have a few Top of the Quarter Tips for you. Some of these may seem basic, but sometimes it’s the simple things that keep you, our community and your gear safe.

Think ahead. If you’re working in an open area, a café, a library or wherever, don’t leave your things behind and out of your sight in order to get another coffee or use the restroom. It’s a pain to pack up, but it’s a bigger pain to lose all your work when your laptop (or phone) walks away with someone else.

Bike theft remains unfortunately too common on all UW campuses. Use a U-lock instead of a cable. We’ve had cases of thieves using power saws on U-locks, but it takes more time and attracts more attention. On the Seattle campus you can register your bike’s make and serial number with UWPD, which gives a chance of the bike turning up when second-hand shops check the database.

More basics:

  • Register your cellphone number with UW Alert so you get text advisories and alerts (in addition to emails).
  • Download the SafeZone app so you have another option for quickly reaching 911. SafeZone, also, has a non-emergency “safety timer” function for people who walk to and from the Seattle campus. For instance, if you walk regularly at night from Suzzallo Library to your apartment at NE 47th and Brooklyn NE, activate the app when you leave Suzzallo and it connects with 911 dispatch as a “virtual guardian.” If you don’t arrive at your destination in a certain period of time, 911 will check on you.
  • Interest in NightWalk (206-685-9255) service for the Seattle campus surged last quarter and additional capacity has been added. It’s not a walk anymore, by the way. This is a ride with a UWPD Security Officer or a Lyft driver if demand means the wait for an officer would be too long. Also, you can hop the night-time circulator bus, Husky NightRide, to move around the Seattle campus.

Be aware. Keep connected with your surroundings when moving around campus and around town. The Puget Sound region is experiencing all the challenges of the post-COVID economy and the human crises of unsheltered homelessness and untreated mental illness. Seattle’s U District is a great neighborhood teeming with excellent food, small shops and entertainment. Capitol Hill, Downtown, SODO, Columbia City and other neighborhoods also have fantastic music venues reachable through the magic of light rail. Be adventurous, but be smart.

UW campuses are public spaces where everyone is welcome. However, not every interior space is open to the public. Locked spaces are for the security of students in residence halls and for students, staff and faculty who work with expensive equipment, privileged data or during hours when not many people are around. Tailgating, allowing someone you don’t know to enter a secure space behind you, compromises safety for others. This can be complicated at crowded passing times, but it’s OK to say something to someone trying to trail in behind you, like: “Hi, I’m Jane. What’s your name? Do you have your Husky card? We’ve had some weird stuff in the past quarter and I’m practicing my no-tailgating skills. How am I doing?”

Be kind. That means to yourself and others. It may sound trite, but it’s true – everyone is carrying something the rest of us don’t easily see.

For most of us, being a good friend, ally and bystander takes thought and practice. Sometimes it’s just going for a walk or coffee, but sometimes it’s more. For students, each campus has a counseling center ready to help with stress and mental health concerns. For faculty and staff, that help comes via CareLink. Maybe your concern about your own well-being or someone else’s behavior is rising, though. Don’t hesitate to reach out to SafeCampus, the University’s violence prevention and response unit.

Feeling safe and being safe in our campus communities depends on all of us. Thanks for doing your part.