Does it concern us?

Students biggest concerns in Seattle and on campus

Trayton Pike, Staff Writer

On any college campus, there are many new and exciting things to experience, but there are just as many things on and around campus that can be dangerous, frightening and unsafe.

According to the Office of Safety and Security, “The mission of Seattle Pacific University’s Office of Safety and Security is to provide a safe working, learning, and living environment for the SPU community and to protect University assets through sound crime prevention and safety practices.”

Much like many other college campuses across the country, some students have serious safety concerns about their environment.

SPU sits in close proximity to downtown Seattle, “which holds similar problems to other large cities. Seattle has been criticized for having a substantial amount of homelessness, crime, drugs and other problems that create panic and a general sense of vulnerability.

One of the biggest problems that concern those who reside in Seattle is the dramatic increase in homelessness across the city. Though this is an issue that many cities face, Seattle has particularly struggled with the amount of the unhoused community.

According to a study by The Seattle Times, Seattle has had a 30% increase in homelessness since 2010, meaning it has one of the largest homeless populations for a city in the country.

Along with the large unhoused population, crime was listed as one of the greatest concerns residents of Seattle hold. Much like with many other enormous cities, the crime rate across Seattle is much higher than that of a more urban environment.

According to The Seattle Times, about 4.9% of residents in Seattle have fallen victim to some sort of property crime, which, while a decrease from years before, is still much larger than most towns and many large cities.

Due to the recent polls regarding the greatest concerns Seattleites face, some students have serious safety concerns about their environment, whether they be about safety, security, or anything in between, in an effort to see what others in our community consider to be Seattle’s greatest vices.

A survey conducted on The Falcon’s Instagram page had a wide variety of results, ranging from serious concerns such as drugs and violence to academic concerns regarding grades and flaws in administration.

It was clear that there is no one specific problem that SPU students place above all others, though there were some concerns that were mentioned more than a few times, such as homelessness and crime, the two focused on in The Seattle Times poll.

Many other concerns were listed as well, with most of these concerns involving violence, discrimination, and a general fear that campus may not be safe.

Trinity Mann-Beam, a senior integrated studies major, said violence against women is her greatest concern.

“I try not to be out at night alone in Seattle for this reason or any other areas that appear to be questionable,” Mann-Beam said. “I tend toward areas that are well lit or populated if alone.”

Anna Dominguez, a sophomore theology student, worries about her safety options if put into a dangerous situation.

“My biggest concern is sexual harassment and violence. I am especially worried about being caught alone with few escape routes, such as on sections of the ship canal trail or on some streets near campus,” Dominguez said. “I have been harassed just a block off campus and that really eroded my confidence when going anywhere alone.”

Dominguez takes safety precautions to help guarantee personal security, but it comes with a cost.

“I always carry pepper gel, look for escape routes, tell my friends where I’m going, and consider who would be available to call if I needed help. All of these precautions take a mental toll and make going places less fun because I am always making sure I’m safe,” Dominguez said.

The residents of this city and this campus have concerns regarding their environment. Whether they feel uncertainty in their physical well being, or simply believe they aren’t safe 100% of the time, people can not always live without concern.

However, though students may not always feel completely secure, it is important that they know there are people and places all around campus who are here to help.

The Office of Safety and Security has made it their mission to protect students, with the website’s front page stating “The Office of Safety and Security provides continuous, year-round security and emergency response to the Seattle Pacific University community. We actively monitor the University for safety concerns, secure buildings as needed, and respond to calls for assistance.”

The OSS prides itself on its ability to keep students safe and secure throughout the campus. To uphold this goal, their office stands ready to answer any calls made by students for help, informing them saying:

“The University has installed emergency phones throughout the campus, including inside residence halls and at the entrances to several academic and office buildings.”

Though concern is inevitable in all areas, especially in a city as large as Seattle, the important thing to always remember is that these concerns are normal and people are always here to help.