by Kim Doyoun
International students studying in Seattle are often targeted by criminals. Shin Young, Park, a female student of Seattle Central Community College (SCCC), came out from the Bauhaus Café on Pine Street in Capital Hill around 12 am after finished her study. Because of rain, the streets were already quiet and dark.
By the time she was almost passing Virginia street, She noticed someone started tailgating her. Just before she quickened her steps, she felt something poke her back.
“He had a gun. I froze and could not even move with fear,” Shin Young says. “He threatened me to give my bag. I immediately passed my bag to him, and he ran away with my bag towards a car that was waiting for him, and the car quickly disappeared from my sight. After few minutes, the police officer found me squatting on the ground and helped me out.”
“The police officer tried to make me calm down first, and then explain that it happens a lot in Seattle, and I should have not walked alone at that late night. He also explained that the criminal must had been waiting for a target like me, and they often seek for their targets in downtown, so they can easily get disappeared because of the complexity of the roads and proximity to freeways.”
She was not only victim. O-Mi, Na, a student at SCCC also experienced a robbery on January 7th on Broadway. She goes to a studio in Bothell every day to paint her works, and usually gets home at late night.
She finished her picture and was on the way home. “Every time I am on the way to my home from the studio, there are only few or no people on the street.” O-Mi, says. “I was walking down the Broadway and I was about to across the park, right behind of the school gym. At the moment I reached the entry of the park, I felt two guys were staring at me. I was scared and started to walk faster, but they suddenly started to chase me. Then, one of them blocked my way and asked for money. I was in a mortal fright and gave them my wallet, and then they ran away.”
After that happened, She changed her class schedules to the early morning classes, so she goes to the studio at noon times and gets home before nightfall. “Even though I am so tired because of my changed schedule, it is still better than walking alone at night.” O-Mi, says.
Alice Kim, also a student of SCCC, was victimized a month ago. She says “I was robbed two hundred dollar cash, wallet, and bag but I could not do anything because I was afraid that they might retaliate against me if I called police and they were arrested.”
A lot of students of SCCC experienced robberies. However, the students at SCCC actually do not think that they also could be a victim of robbery.
Mia Bailey, an ESL teacher at SCCC who also runs a small business geared toward International exchange students, says “I cannot say that the criminals are especially targeting the international students, because anybody can be a target for the crime. However, the problem is that some of the international students look vulnerable, and they are not paying attention to their surroundings.”
One of Korean club members of SCCC, Kyung Hoon, Park says “I have not experienced the robbery though I can tell that the number of victims of robbery is increasing. Not American students, but many of my Asian female students suffered from the street robberies.”
Mia says “In order to prevent from being targets, international students have to pay attention to their surroundings, and use common senses. For example, taking hundred dollar bill out of a wallet in the crowd, or walking down the dark corner alone will easily grab the criminal’s attentions.”
O-Mi, Na adds, “We all are exposed to some dangers, but those dangerous cases may arise from our carelessness.”