Recent crimes cause fear, raise awareness

despite efforts to limit access to vehicles on campus, common sense measures to protect belongings are still the greatest deterrent from theft


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Before heading to class, automotive services major Theo Guillory closes and locks his door in Lot 17 on Monday. Guillory said from personal experiences he knows break ins are more common on the north side lots on campus.

By Rob Clinton, Opinion Editor

Shattered glass on the ground, desperation and the feeling of being violated are some of the things that people feel when having their car broken into, especially at home, work or school.

Over the past 60 days, six cars have been burglarized on campus, but the number isn’t large enough to warrant a change in policy by Police Services.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a scourge. Off of the top of my head, we’ve had two or three in Lot 14 and there was another one some place else,” Police Services Lt. Tom Holt said. “(Concern rises) when we get one where somebody breaks into two or three in one shot in a parking lot. If it was happening on a daily basis where we could tell that there was somebody coming in and hitting a car and leaving, then we would have to set up some kind of operational plan.”

From Aug. 23 through Oct. 23, the thefts on campus appeared in clusters. In the Police Services daily log, accessible on the Contra Costa Community College District website, there were two break-ins on Sept. 13, both at roughly 11:30 a.m. There were two more, one each on Sept. 26 and 27, both near 9:30 p.m. and then two on Oct. 2 beginning at 10:37 a.m. with the final being reported at 9:11 p.m.

All but one of the incidents occurred on Campus Drive with the exception of the Sept. 27 report that stated the burglary happened on Library Drive.

Until the incidents present more of a sustained problem, Police Services and police aides will continue to patrol as usual.

There are options for officers on campus to nab a would-be thief but it would take manpower.

“We could decide some kind of tactical thing, like set up a dummy car with people out there paying close attention to what’s going on around it,” he said. “We have about 14 or 16 police and if we were having a problem like that at one campus over another we could pull them in to do something like that.”

At CCC, students seem to feel as comfortable parking here as anywhere else they go.

“I usually make sure there is nothing on my seat. I think the same way about auto theft here as I do anywhere that I go. I usually park down by the Gym, but I think the safest place is probably near Police Services,” liberal arts major Anthony Gallon said. “For something to be considered a problem here it would probably take a professor’s car getting broken into. Then it would be a problem.”

Holt said CCC has the lowest crime rate in the district and the numbers support his claim.

Over the past 60 days 28 cases of theft, excluding auto theft, were reported at sister school Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill. At Los Medanos College in Antioch, 11 thefts were reported, including two auto thefts.

Former ASU adviser Ericka Greene, who now works at DVC as the educational talent search adviser, uses common sense when choosing where to park.

“I take the same precautions there at (DVC) that I take as if I was parking in Oakland. If you look at the socio-economic status of Pleasant Hill it’s clear why there might be more crime there,” Greene said. “There are more luxury cars at that campus so I would assume that they would be better targets. If they see a nice car, they probably think, there must be something nice in there.”

Most of the burglaries that happen on campus are near the edges of CCC and away from the majority of foot traffic.

Still, Holt is confident that cars and their drivers are relatively save at CCC.

“We have the lowest crime rate here out of all of the colleges in the district by percentage and population,” Holt said. “I’d have to go back and look at the numbers because I don’t regularly pay attention to DVC and LMC, but based on what I casually hear, we don’t usually have the kind of problems that they do.”

The lieutenant also said he has to consider if he sees one or two break-ins there is probably one or two that hasn’t been reported.

Even having said that, he doesn’t believe there is a trend right now.