Recent assaults near campus, students told to be aware & attentive at night

Colt Sweetland, News Editor

There have been five assaults near campus since the week before school started, and nine in Ellensburg since Oct. 1.

According to Ellensburg police, the suspect is between 5-foot-9 and 6-feet tall, has a medium build and is still being searched for. The victim in the assault was treated for minor injuries.

Capt. Dan Hansberry, with the Ellensburg Police Department, said in a press release, “An unknown male approached [the woman] from behind and began to assault her.”


A map of assaults reported this year by Central Police.
Assault statistics in Ellensburg:

In an interview, Hansberry said, “Last year [in 2013] Ellensburg had 196 assaults.”

The monthly average based on last year’s assault total in Ellensburg is about 16.

“The year before that we had 215 assaults in Ellensburg,” Hansberry said. “So it’s not that uncommon.”


Safety tips from Central Police

Central Police Capt. Jason Berthon-Koch said it is important to be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself from assaults.

“If you go out at night, don’t go by yourself,” Berthon-Koch said. “Walk in well-lit areas.”

Additionally, if you are listening to music while you are outside at night,  make sure that you leave one ear bud or headphone out to make sure that you can hear your surroundings. He also said that considering Beats and other headphones are noise cancelling, it is especially important when wearing those that you are still attentive.

“If you head to the markets, park in well-lit areas; light is your friend at night,” Berthon-Koch said.

Don’t park next to big trucks or vans because it decreases your visibility.

Social media has been a serious distraction in people’s overall awareness, and can lead to dangerous situations, according to Berthon-Koch.

“Your Facebook status can wait until you get to your house, so you are focused on what’s around you,” Berthon-Koch said.


Types of assaults

There are four types of assaults: first, second, third and fourth degree. The differences are based on the type of assault that occurred, how the assault was performed and the type of injury that resulted.

“First degree assault is a result in death or disfigurement, if you are threatened with a gun, then that would be second degree assault,” Hansberry said.

Third degree assault is usually reserved for any assault on a police officer or on a caretaker such as a physician or a nurse, according to Hansberry.