Snoqualmie Police urge caution, talk to employees in wake of North Bend sex assault

New to North Bend, Snoqualmie police reached out to business owners and employees in the city’s business districts in the wake of a violent crime.

On Sunday, March 9, two days after Snoqualmie took over police duties fromthe  King County Sheriff’s Office, a woman working late at a restaurant on Mount Si Boulevard, a few blocks from Interstate 90 was attacked, stabbed, tied up with duct tape and sexually assaulted. The incident happened at about 11 p.m. at a restaurant in the Mountain Valley Center, near Safeway.

In the following days, Valley police met and interviewed staff at businesses in the shopping area, the Exit 31 interchange area, and North Bend Premium Outlets.

“We’ve met with managers of those complexes and the manager of the outlet mall, and been doing extra patrols… making sure they’re safe at night,” said Snoqualmie Police Chief Steve McCulley.

“It’s given us the opportunity to show how we work from a community policing standpoint…to prevent these tragedies from happening again,” McCulley said, talking with residents at a March 12 open house at North Bend Elementary School.

Police have examined the buildings and their surroundings, parking lots, lighting, and have also advised managers on how their staff can be safe.

“If they’re having one person close, that’s not a smart business practice,” the chief said. “It might make financial sense, but I don’t think it makes sense overall.”

McCulley discourages parking in darker back lots.

“There’s plenty of spaces open,” McCulley said. “They should park in front.”

Employees and residents should be alert and call police if they see something suspicious.

“If people need an escort to their car, we do that,” he said.

Installing or adding security cameras at a business is also a good idea.

“Technology has really come down,” said Police Capt. Nick Almquist, and cameras are much less costly than they used to be.

A meeting will be held with the management and staff at the business where the crime took place to address concerns, answer questions, and provide crime victim and prevention information.

Police officers in North Bend will also increase high-visibility patrols, especially at closing time. To assist with these patrols and with the large volume of priority calls occurring in North Bend since the takeover, an additional overtime officer was temporarily  added to the North Bend night shift.

“It goes without saying I am very proud of our response and handling of calls for service in North Bend and Snoqualmie,” said McCulley.


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