Text messaging aids alert system for crime, theft

By Ryan Geller, News Editor

A recent string of campus car break-ins has prompted Contra Costa College staff and Police Services to carefully consider the use of the campus-wide mass text alert system for reminders about non-violent crime.

“With the recent break-ins coming so close to the beginning of the semester, we decided to use the emergency system to send out an alert about the break-ins and about protecting yourself and your belongings,” CCC Director of Marketing Brandy Howard said.

“This message was a text, but it was also a tweet, a Facebook post, and an Instagram post and all of those included a link to the CCC safety tips web page.”

CCC’s emergency text notification system is generally used for shelter-in-place warnings, evacuation, violent crimes in progress or violent crimes that the community should be made aware of, Lt. Thomas Holt of Police Services said. It is also used for emergency notifications required under the Clery Act, which is a federal law intended to improve campus safety.

The emergency texting notification service is provided by a company called Regroup, Holt said.

There are two Regroup numbers on campus, Howard said. One is the Emergency Notification System that goes out to everyone that has a relationship to the campus. The second number is for reminders about registration and other pertinent student notices that is sent out to a list of approximately 3,000 students.

InSite Portal has an option for students to indicate whether or not they want to receive the reminders, but they cannot unsubscribe from the emergency list.

Emergency texts begin with “CCC Alert:” followed by a message. The student information texts begin with “CCC Reminder:.” 

Some CCC students have expressed interest in notifications about incidents of theft or vandalism on campus.

“People would be more likely to keep stuff put away and be aware of what is happening,” sociology major James Grasty said. “Maybe there should be a mid-weekly text that lists all the things that have happened that week. This way there would not be so many texts, but people could still keep up on it and know the spots and times on campus to be aware,”

Holt noted that the district website has the daily log for students and staff to view for current crime information.

The daily log with map of where crimes occur as well as campus crime awareness reports are posted at www.4cd.edu in the “district offices and departments” drop down menu under “police, safety and emergency services.”

“I don’t want text messages all day,” psychology major Ockemia Kates said.

“I saw someone looking in the window and I asked her what was going on. That was because I had got a text earlier that day and it reminded me to stay aware and it also reminded me not to leave stuff in my car. I think texts would be good to keep everybody aware.”