News

Islander UW student attacked in U-District

By Celia Hunko
Special to the Reporter

On the morning of Jan. 24, Islander Sam Sussman, a University of Washington freshman, was attacked near his off-campus fraternity. Sussman was struck in the head with the back of a gun, after being approached by two men wearing dark hooded sweatshirts. His wallet, along with $40 in cash, was taken from him.

The incident was one of a series of attacks near the UW campus in recent weeks. On the morning of Jan. 19, at 2:20 a.m., a group of young men stabbed a man several times with a knife in the Jack In The Box parking lot on the Ave. Only two days before, at 2:30 a.m., two students were assaulted at gunpoint on a street just outside campus.

On Jan. 9, a shooting occurred in front of the Irish Emigrant, a U-District bar located on the Ave.

With the increased crime in the University District, the University of Washington Police (UWPD) and Seattle Police (SPD) are attempting to get things under control and lower the crime rates.

Sussman and others complained that the lack of response to the problem is related to a turf war between the two agencies.

According to media reports, spokesmen from the University of Washington and Seattle police deny such claims.

The University of Washington Police Department operates in its own jurisdiction, which includes the UW campus, all UW-owned buildings (such as the UW Medical Center), the UW Tower and residence halls off-campus.

The north precinct of the SPD covers all of north Seattle, including the Ave and the area north of NE 45th Street — two areas heavily populated by UW students. Though the UW is within the city limits of Seattle, the UWPD is a separate entity and only deals with its own jurisdiction, unless expressly asked by the SPD.

“We are a state institution,” said UWPD Assistant Chief Ralph Robinson, who has been with the UWPD for 11 years. “The University pays our salaries; the Ave belongs to the City of Seattle.”

He noted that the city is responsible for the safety of the U-District, but that if help is needed, the UWPD is always available.

The UWPD Incident Prevention Teams are one example of how the UWPD and SPD collaborate to keep the area safe.

The incident prevention teams usually operate Thursday through Saturday, according to the UW’s Office of External Affairs Web site.

The SPD asks the UWPD to patrol their jurisdiction north of NE 45th Street and to be stationed around the Greek community.

Moving from Mercer Island to the University District, Chip Ko, a senior at the University of Washington, said he definitely feels he needs to be more aware of his surroundings in the University District than when he is on the Island.

Celia Hunko is a student in the University of Washington Communication Department Newslab.

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