PCC Campus Police are keeping serious crime under control in the 2019 annual campus safety report, released via email on Sept. 27, although the department remains busy with community policing for incidents not required by the report.
The Clery Act, known officially as the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act,” is an annual record released by all U.S. colleges and universities participating in student financial aid programs. Its purpose is to have three years of crime statistics available for the public, covering specific crimes such as manslaughter, sex offenses, theft and other acts, including domestic and dating violence and stalking. High-risk crimes like weapons and drug possession are also reported.
Lesser offenses like trespassing by transients on campus and vehicle hit-and-runs are tracked locally in weekly incident blotters.
According to the four location report, PCC’s main campus had the highest number of incidents. However, the statistically highest crimes (i.e. theft or domestic violence) are trending downward in the three year period ending in 2018. The campus’ problem of fondling also dropped from 2017 to only a single reported incident. The main campus had a reported rape in 2018. PCC’s other three locations have had fewer crimes, if any, over the three years.
Campus Police Sergeant Alan Chan is in charge of operations for police and college safety, including crime prevention.
“Being highly visible is generally a good deterrent,” said Chan.
Campus Police officers and cadets conduct foot and vehicle patrols on the main, Rosemead and Community Education Center’s Foothill campus. Currently, the newest campus Northwest John Muir (located at John Muir High School) does not have a PCC police presence. Students at John Muir are encouraged to reach out to on-site security or the local police for assistance.
“The first thing [that] would be feasible for us is to assign a cadet out there like we do with the Community Education Center and at Rosemead,” said Chan. “So far that is still in the works.”
Multiple reports of non-injury hit-and-runs come into the station every day. Preventive tips include following posted speed limit signs and using caution when turning corners, Chan said. If damage occurs to a vehicle while a person is away, camera footage can be checked if the vehicle is not in a blind spot. Chan recommended that students promptly report all incidents.
The main campus’ proximity to the Metro Gold Line station on Allen Avenue creates a situation for easy access. PCC’s open campus design makes it a common destination for transients looking to use the facilities.
Mohammed Saruwar, a 21 year old business administration major, would like to see something to deter unauthorized people from coming far into the property.
“For the most part, it’s pretty safe here,” said Saruwar. “I know that it’s an open campus, but we should have some sort of restrictions set to check if people coming in are students or professors. Not some random person that’s going to walk in and destroy everything.”
Saruwar suggested possible solutions could be scanned identification checks for building access or metal detectors. However, these are costly additions.
“It’s hard for us to prevent really anyone from walking on campus,” said Chan. “But our officers and cadets will conduct foot patrols not only throughout campus but in buildings, especially the W building because of the locker room.”
Despite these occurrences, PCC students see the campuses as safe places to continue their studies.
Criminal justice major Aimee Castañeda, 18, recalled the recent theft of her cousin’s phone. Although the phone was not recovered, campus police helped her file the report. Castañeda also prefers the openness on campus because it makes areas more visible.
“It feels here safe because everywhere I look there’s always security or people,” said Castañeda. “It’s also very helpful because it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable like Citrus College. It’s not safe there [at Citrus]; there are no lights at night.”
The 2019 Clery report emphasized that community policing involves having an understanding of immediate surroundings to help prevent crime.
“We whole heartedly understand the meaning of campus community partnerships and build on those partnerships to ensure the safety of all who visit our District properties,” wrote Steven Matchan, Chief of Police and Safety Services. “The information is provided to ensure your experience [at PCC] is safe, and allows you to excel.”