Police solicit help in curbing crimes against autos, property

Campus sees increase of thefts, vandalism since start of semester

By Jose Jimenez, Staff Writer

Cars parked on campus have been broken into frequently in 2015, and four vehicles were associated with broken windows and theft one particular day in a span of two hours, Police Services Lt. Jose Oliveira said.

The four automobiles, parked near the Gymnasium, were reported to Police Services with vandalism and thefts between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 24.

Contra Costa College student and African-American studies major Marquise Odutola said his 1999 Toyota Corolla was parked outside of the east entrance of the Gym Annex Building when his car window was shattered and broken into on that quiet Saturday afternoon on campus.

“I was really pissed,” Odutola said. “I was so aggravated when I saw my window smashed. After a couple of days I realized I shouldn’t have left any valuables in plain sight while I was away from my vehicle. However, I think police could monitor this campus 24-7, or basically add more police aides so they can double up patrol and present a sense of higher security around CCC.”

Odutola said he understands that people might think it was a “slow” Saturday afternoon, but that should not give anyone motive to steal his backpack that had a laptop inside, as stated by the CCC incident report.

He also said that he does not park in the same area anymore, now parking on the complete opposite side of the building following his purchase of a student parking permit.

Three more cars were broken into between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. that day, all in vicinity of Odutola’s car. A black Honda Civic and a newer model Chevy Monte Carlo SS were broken into and had valuables stolen from them.

Student belongings lost in the multiple break-ins included a camera, a wallet containing a student identification card, cellphones, an iPad, expensive clothing such as fitted hats and urban attire, textbooks and cash.

Given that CCC is a wide-open campus, police aide Julio Rosales said the type of incidents that happen on campus grounds cover a broad spectrum.

Oliveira said broken windows are not the only vandalism his staff has seen so far this semester.

He said the first theft incident reported regarding a student’s vehicle this year came from a car parked near the Bus Transfer Center.

He said a CCC student reported two unidentified suspects taking the registration tabs from his vehicle’s license plate on Jan. 13 around noon, and running from the scene.

Rosales said individuals should be more aware of all the foot traffic here at CCC and never look the other way when something suspicious is happening.

“CCC is actually a lot safer now,” Rosales said. “Actual crimes here on campus versus incident reports are two separate entities and the overall school crime numbers are way down.”

At the end of every year CCC has to provide crime statistics to the district and also to a campus crime statistics committee, he said. The findings are then published.

A listing of actual offenses are submitted and are arranged in crime statistic categories that include the three district campuses, two centers and District Office, he said.

Oliveira said Police Services takes reports seriously and that they can be anything from a stolen backpack to a former boyfriend or girlfriend coming in and saying they have broken up and do not feel secure — a forewarning of sorts.

Oliveira said it is quieter this semester at CCC and “less busy” in terms of crime activity, but that requests for Police Services assistance is up.

Vincent Espinoza, police aide at CCC for two years, said individuals are seeking out more police escorts, parking information and asking for directions around campus than they have in recent semesters.

Espinoza said a person should never feel shy to help out law enforcement, even for something small like someone being disruptive in class, because the Police Services on campuses are there to assist the campus community and take every incident very seriously.

He said the district is committed to an environment where open, honest communications are the expectation, not the exception.