University of Washington expands security escort program

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SEATTLE – On Saturday night, the University of Washington expanded its security escorts for students, faculty and staff to areas north of NE 45th Street.

In a press release, university officials described the Husky NightWalk program as a “free, safe, and easy way to navigate the Seattle campus after dark when requested.”

The program runs seven days a week between 6:30 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. with uniformed security guards providing escorts to any UW community member.

The expanded service comes on the heels of a sexual assault, two blocks north of campus at the end of February. Although that attack occurred in the morning, where it occurred will be in the new coverage area.

For students like Gabrielle Hughes, there is a safety concern for walking alone at night. She said it’s not uncommon to hear stories of students being harassed by transients near campus.

“When it’s really dark at night, sometimes it can be a little creepy because there’s a lot of bushes,” she said. “If I didn’t feel safe, I would definitely feel like I could use it.”

Those needing an escort are asked to call 206.685.WALK. A guard is said to arrive within 5-15 minutes after being dispatched. The release states that NightWalk guards will also be trained to help people with a variety of other needs, such as car jump starts, and building access assistance.

The release mentioned three key features of the NightWalk expansion. They are listed below:

  • Bounded by NE 45th St on the south, 15th Ave NE on the west, 22nd Ave NE to the east, and Ravenna Park in the north, the new service area would include all residences located on each border street, as outlined on the yellow boundary shown in the accompanying map
  • Uniformed security guards would increase by 50%, to align with the anticipated increase in demand and broader geographical reach. The additional guards will help to provide services north of 45th St, working 18 hours per week during peak demand times on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
  • As an added benefit to the community, the increased service scope will provide additional eyes and ears for UWPD and SPD, offering ‘neighborly – crime watch’ patrolling to report suspicious activity

A map of the expansion can be found here on the University of Washington Police page.