Increased burglary rates impact student life

By Daisette Verdin, Denise Calderon, Brynn Waite & Alissa Reid, May 14, 2024

Reported burglaries at Cal Poly Pomona increased 130% from the 2022-2023 academic year and topped all campus crimes in 2022, according to daily crime and fire logs and the annual security report provided by the university.

According to the 2023 police logs, parking lots and University Village are the most impacted by burglaries. The reported burglaries from both areas accounted for half of all reported burglary calls last year.

Additionally, almost a third of burglaries occurred during summer and winter breaks.

Burglary in the state of California is defined as entering any property, including houses and cars, to commit grand or petty larceny. This especially affects students who park their vehicles in Parking Lot Q, just east of Residence Suites, and the residents of University Village.

University Police Sergeant Devin Peck said that bicycle theft is the biggest problem with campus burglaries. According to Peck, the campus police have targeted someone responsible for these thefts.

“We have an individual we repeatedly arrest for stealing bikes, but it is a misdemeanor, and there is not much to deter him from stealing the bicycles,” Peck said. Catalytic converters, as The Poly Post already reported, are also among the most often stolen items that affect students who own vehicles. The Poly Post reported the catalytic converter thefts rose in the period from 2018 to 2020. California has also been among the top five states for catalytic converter thefts.

Dante Palacio, a CPP baseball player who is also a master student, said that his catalytic converter was stolen twice from his pick-up Toyota Tacoma truck after a baseball game in April of 2023. Both incidents were two weeks apart.

“People don’t care,”Palacio said. “They’re trying to make a quick buck. Our cars are out in the open, and there are no cameras in the P Lot.”

An image of a map that shows one of the most impacted areas for burglary.

According to a Poly Post article, there are no surveillance cameras in the Q and P parking lots, which are both located near Scolinos Field. .

Residential areas also serve as prime targets for burglaries. Most recently in April, the vending machine on the first floor of the Secoya Residence Hall was broken into. A resident assistant of Secoya Hall and a public relations student, Keara Fellers said that dorms on campus are mostly safe, but burglaries still happen.

This incident occurred at 12:04 a.m., and Fellers found the vending machine door wide open with a large portion of snacks missing, which led to an immediate response.

“After this incident, we discussed what to do for repercussions,” Fellers said. “However, there were no cameras in that area, so we could not pinpoint who broke the vending machine and stole the snacks. We have everything fixed regarding the machine. Luckily, no money was stolen.”

Peck said that most  residential burglaries occur during the daytime when people are at school or work. According to Peck, the campus police meet monthly with the University Housing Services to fight crime more efficiently.

“We meet with the housing once a month to discuss current issues and if we happen to notice there’s maybe a particular crime trend related to housing, we pass that on to The Housing (Services), so they can work on addressing it on their end as well,” Peck said.

According to Peck, the University Police Department has different protocols to enhance campus security.

“We have a lot of cameras around campus, and we have officers that are out patrolling 24/7,” Peck said. “We also have student assistants who are driving around.”

Peck said that the most efficient way to fight burglaries on campus is to always have police presence.

“When we aren’t handling calls, we are conducting proactive patrol, which is just driving around and being seen,” Peck said. “One of our biggest preventative measures that we take is just being visible.”

Peck said that he hopes that when people see the police, they “twice before committing a crime.”

Even though the rate of burglaries has steadily increased, they may have been much higher if all of them were counted by police. According to safety reports, burglary is not counted if a more serious crime, such as robbery or sexual assault, was committed at the same time and place.

The increase in burglaries and other crimes has been an issue on university campuses all over California, which underscores the need for proactive measures to safeguard campus communities.

According to the Los Angeles Times, parents of University of California, Berkeley students concerned about their children’s safety following a rise in post-pandemic crime launched SafeBears, Inc., a nonprofit organization established to improve student safety.

Palacio said he hopes CPP will improve the efforts to keep students and their belongings safe.

“Finding a permanent solution so this doesn’t happen in the future is needed,” Palacio said. “All this mechanical and auto stuff isn’t cheap; insurance isn’t cheap. It creates more of a nuisance and is not very safe.”

Feature image courtesy of Daisette Verdin 

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