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After the UW Threat, Citizens Question What it Means to Be Alert

November 4th, 2014 by master

When stories in the news about threats and scary happenings get too close to home, it’s hard not to feel an emotional response.

"With the Vigilance Committee in the East End: A Suspicious Character" from The Illustrated London News, 13 October 1888

In our schools and public places, we wonder what we can do to be alert and aware without giving into paranoia and fear? With so many more high-profile violence cases in the news these days what should we do to be more prepared?

Since it’s hard to definitively define what a real threat is, it makes it hard to know when to report something as suspicious activity or not. These days threats can come by email, text, forums, craigslist and more. People often question whether or not something is an actual threat or not, or if they do see something that seems out of the ordinary, scary or threatening, they don’t know what to do?

On the SafeCampus website it states:

If you see behavior that makes you or others concerned, report the behavior to SafeCampus by calling 206-685-SAFE (206-685-7233). Behaviors of concern could signal someone is in distress or may be prohibited behaviors as defined by UW policy. Remember to always call 911 if you need assistance from police, fire, or emergency medical personnel.
The bottom line is that it is great to be aware of your surroundings, be mindful of what’s going on and think about safety, but don’t live in fear.

Even though law enforcement can never be 100% successful in preventing tragedies like the one in Marysville, they are getting better at assessing and de-fusing threats.

The SPD lists what suspicious activity may look like, and if you have any information or see anything out of the ordinary please contact law enforcement as soon as possible by dialing 911.

Luckily, the suspect in the most recent threat to UW campus has been arrested. We can only hope that future threats are dealt with as successfully.

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