Forums raise awareness on crime prevention

By Luis Lopez, Staff Writer

On the heels of a disturbing study which claims more shooting deaths have occurred at U.S. schools in the last 18 years than were recorded in the entire 20th century, Police Services decided to take a proactive approach toward the prevention of criminal acts on campus.
Contra Costa College Police Services officers held two campus safety forums aimed at educating students about personal protection and crime prevention.
During the two-day seminar, held Sept. 11 and 12 in Fireside Hall, Lt. Tom Holt spoke to students and staff about various issues surrounding campus safety.
The forums covered theft prevention, evacuation plans and what to do in case an active shooter is loose on campus.
CCC has not hosted an active shooter preparedness event since the Student Together Awareness Response Safe (STARS) seminar in October 2015. That seminar, led by Officer Charles Hankins, relayed statistics gathered by law enforcement about the severity and frequency of school shootings.
According to the Journal of Child and Family Studies, since Jan. 1, 2001, there have been 13 incidents involving school shooters resulting in 66 deaths and 81 injuries, with no immediate signs of a trend reversal.
Attendees were urged to recognize escape routes and be prepared to leave belongings behind in order to make a swift escape.
Keeping hands visible and obeying orders from police is also high priority as the intensity in critical moments is a fertile ground for misunderstandings.
Also mentioned at this past week’s forum was the CampusShield app that helps students reach Police Services officers in case of an emergency.
According to Holt, the biggest problem concerning campus security here at CCC is theft.
“Theft from vehicles is the biggest problem on campus by far,” Holt said. “This is because people leave things in their car in plain sight.”
At the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, one year ago, six cars were broken into during the first 60 days of classes, he said. However, over the past 30 days only two incidents have been reported by CCC Police Services to the Contra Costa Community College District daily crime log.
“Before this, I would have not known what to do in case of a school shooting,” Raquel Antolin, a member of the Students for Education Reform program said. “I feel they did a good job of informing us about that.”