Northwest NEWS

December 14, 1998

Local News

Tips for preventing robberies, assaults

Whether tips in the City of Woodinville's personal safety pamphlet would have helped prevented the recent robberies and assaults is hard to say, but the gist is "never let your guard down."

   The most important element is planning, according to the pamphlet. Planning creates confidence and allows a person to focus on other things around them. Confused people are more likely to become victims. "Be aware, be observant," said Woodinville Police Chief Ken Wardstrom.

   At night, some places should be avoided, like alleys and parking garages. Avoid using an ATM machine at closed banks at night, and don't hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers.

   At home:

   Trust your instincts:   If you fight, fight immediately, violently, and hard. Scream. Know and accept that you may get hurt. Strike for the eyes, nose, throat, and groin. Call 911.

   Commander Gail Marsh of the Redmond Police Department is offering a two-hour personal safety course for women on Dec. 16 at the Lake Washington School district Administration Building, 16250 NE 74th St. The building is at the west end of the new Town Center complex. There is no fee for the class which begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call Officer Vic Beyer at (425) 556-2545.

   "Sometimes we take our lives in Woodinville to be so secure that we forget there are evil people in the world," said Marsha Engel, a longtime resident and city councilmember.

   Besides a few "strong-arm" robberies this year, police say last week's attack was the first armed robbery in Woodinville since December, 1997, when Vitaly Kalchik robbed the downtown 7-Eleven at the end of a wild crime spree that began in Seattle and progressed up Lake City Way through Kenmore and into town, where Kalchik was shot dead. His alleged partner, Roman Federov, was scheduled to go to trial last week. He is charged with eight counts of first degree robbery and one count of taking a vehicle without permission.

   But Woodinville is by no means the land that crime forgot. While it had fewer total violent crimes, it also had a higher rate of rape, robberies, and aggravated assault per 1,000 residents in 1997 than 15 other King County cities, including Bothell, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and Issaquah. The Washington Association of Sheriff and Police Chiefs' annual report also said there were 21 violent crimes in Woodinville last year for a rate of 2.1 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. There were 463 property crimes.