The campus is generally a safe place, but there are instances of vehicle thefts, petty theft and vandalism that occur most frequently.
The list of places where certain crime occurs most was compiled from the crime log from January 2015 to April 2018.
There are certain areas on campus with a higher chance of these crimes occurring.
“It is the theft of the backpack left unattended, the laptop, the cellphone. Those are really easy targets for criminals,” University Police Lieutenant Aaron Eaton said. “They see the opportunity, they may not necessarily be a prolific thief, but they see how easy it is to pick up and just walk off and blend in with the campus.”
More than 150 instances of petty theft occurred over the last three years.
University Village is the location on campus where these crimes occur the most followed by the University Library.
“We at the police department try to do our best to let people know through staff, faculty and students, that they need to be aware of their surroundings,” Eaton said. “Also, make sure they’re aware of their belongings, keep an eye on them and don’t leave them.”
It only takes a moment to snatch a cellphone or laptop off a desk.
Being alert minimizes the risk of becoming a victim to theft.
“Although we are an extremely safe campus, we also have to realize that there are people that will take advantage and steal those types of items so we just need to pay attention,” Eaton said.
More than 60 vehicle thefts have been reported and more than 60 vehicles have been broken into.
Nearly a third of those thefts occurred in parking lot B.
“One of the things that we think is the cause of that is that the lot is close to Temple Avenue and Valley Boulevard,” Eaton said.
“The ability for the criminals to come in, in essence on the fringes of the main campus where there’s a large parking lot and target those vehicles and then take off and kind of blend back into the area that they’re comfortable with.”
According to Eaton, there are two types of car thieves.
The first are typically involved with gangs or drug usage.
“They’ll steal one car and drive it to another location, do whatever they’re going to do in that particular area, steal another car and kind of move around with these stolen cars,” Eaton said.
The second type of car thief is one looking to either sell the car or strip it to sell or use the parts.
“What we’ve done is start to realize that there is this pattern and also have our officers patrol there more often,” Eaton said.
“In addition to that, we have our parking officers who are not specifically targeted with security enforcement, but they are also our eyes and ears for us and pay attention to those types of suspicious behaviors.”
Eaton advises students to remember to lock their vehicles.
An unlocked car is an easy target for a thief because they don’t have to work as hard to break into the vehicle or cause damage to the locking mechanism.
Also, don’t leave an extra set of keys in your vehicle.
“There are devices such as the club or steering wheel locks that are helpful,” Eaton said.
“What they are is basically another deterrent for the bad guy to have to overcome during the theft of the vehicle.”
Lastly, Eaton suggests students follow the idea of “see something, say something.”
“If you’re in that parking lot and you’re paying attention to your surroundings and you see a little suspicious behavior from an individual, please call the police department and let us know so we can come out and investigate,” Eaton said.
An officer is typically dispatched immediately due to a low volume of calls.
“There is a rare occasion when the officers are all tied up on different incidences and there may be a delay, but that is not always the case,” Eaton said.
“They typically get there within just a few minutes.”
Hit and Run
Hit and runs are difficult to prepare for because they are typically accidents with few witnesses.
More than 100 instances of hit and runs occurred and 22 took place at F lot.
“The individual will back out of a stall, hit a vehicle and then take off,” Eaton said. “We try our best to get information such as a description of the vehicle, if you know the license plate, that’s very helpful.”
According to Eaton, if a workable description is given, detectives can often follow back up with the car because “people tend to park in the same [parking] lots as a habit.”
The police department makes an effort to make students aware that driving away from an accident without leaving your information is a crime.
Another crime that holds a higher punishment than petty theft is grand theft.
There have been roughly 62 reports of grand theft on campus.
The majority took place in Spadra Ranch in 2015.
The incidents in Spadra Ranch were related to people stealing copper from the landfill that’s behind the Farm Store.
“We worked with the company and the individuals that manage that property to try to keep locks on the gates and we have additional patrol check in that particular area,” Eaton said.
“We also work with them closely as they travel through those areas and they see indicators that people have been up there.”
The police department’s efforts have proven effective.
There have not been any recorded incidents of grand theft at Spadra Ranch since 2015.
Depending on criminal history and the cost of the item stolen, grand theft may be considered a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
The severity of the punishment would be determined by the Pomona City court system.
Another major crime on campus is driving with a suspended license or without a license.
“That’s based on the work we do with traffic enforcement,” Eaton said. “Because the campus is so impacted with vehicle traffic, there’s always the possibility of people running stop signs, stoplights or texting while driving.”
There are instances where the traffic violation will lead to a citation. If there isn’t a licensed driver to drive, the vehicle will be towed.
“Driving is all about habits,” Eaton said. “The issue is that you’re developing a habit or rolling through stop signs and don’t see the car coming or the pedestrian, you won’t have time to stop and will cause an accident or injure someone.”
The main objective is to advise those who are committing the crime and “provide them guidance.”
Compared to other crimes, vandalism may seem insignificant, but it does affect our campus.
More than 80 instances of Vandalism were reported and the most common places are the old Parking Structure, M Lot and University Village.
This type of crime can range from graffiti to a broken window to even keying somebody’s car.
“The campus is increasing the surveillance cameras, that is still in the implementation phase, so we’re still working on getting more and more cameras out in those areas,” Eaton said.
“The other is to continually look for the pattern of the crime and for us within the police department to see look at the multiple offense in the same area, maybe with the same type of graffiti or damage and to then realize that the offender may commit that crime again there.”
Most cameras can be found inside of buildings or at access points of buildings.
“That’s an ongoing processing, there isn’t a decision today that is going to be the perfect decision for the future because there’s new construction, there’s new technology, there’s crime patterns that we are unable to foresee right now, so we’re in a constant reevaluation stage in how to use those cameras,” Eaton said.
Unlike vehicle thefts that are typically committed by outside members of the community, Eaton suspects that vandalism crimes are being committed by people on campus.
“Broken windows or car scratching are usually related to personal relationships where someone felt that they have been wronged, so that was a way for the to get back at them,” Eaton said.
It’s best to report any crimes to the 24-hour CPP dispatch at (909) 869-3070. Saving the number as a contact on your phone can also help.
Calling 911 will actually take longer because calls get routed to the California Highway Patrol and then must be rerouted to CPP.
“If there is any concern over any threatening behavior, we also have PolyCARES,” Eaton said.
PolyCARES is a website where students can report suspicious behavior that is “not happening right then and there.”
“Say you thought there was another student that was acting suspicious and you were concerned that there may be a safety issue with that particular person, you can go on the website,” Eaton said.
“There’s a reporting system through the website and then that will go to the PolyCARES team. We will then take the report, view it and do a threat assessment to see what we can try to do to help keep the person from violence.”
The PolyCARES team also offers the individual with resources such as counseling “to keep everybody as safe as possible.”
You can report someone that you believe is a threat to themselves or to others.
For more information on PolyCARES, visit www.cpp.edu/~polycares/
Lieutenant Eaton has been with the CPP Police Department for almost three years and has been in law enforcement for over 26 years.
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