By Kristan Korns
A rise in crime on and around the City College Ocean campus area, including recent sexual assaults and multiple armed robberies, has the local community on alert.
“Criminals find something that works and stick to it,” Officer Christian Smith of the City College Police Department said. “They are targeting areas around City College, San Francisco State and Balboa BART.”
Rod Santos, dean of public safety and acting police chief for City College, believes the rise in crime may be connected to the economic downturn in the surrounding community, with many people in San Francisco affected by the country’s rising unemployment rate.
“What happens here reflects what’s happening around us in the city. People are losing jobs,” Santos said. “Based on SFPD reports, [crimes] are happening on all sides of the campus. It’s worse at Ocean campus, just because of the sheer number of students here.”
Santos categorized most of the increased activity as “crimes of opportunity” and stressed the importance of educating students to protect themselves by being aware of their surroundings.
“You could make the assumption that it all happens at sundown but it’s also happening in the daylight,” he said.
Traveling in groups after dark, and taking precautions such as hiding the distinctive white iPod earbuds when traveling to and from Balboa BART, are good ways to reduce the chances of becoming a victim, Santos advised.
“Crime is everywhere in the city. [It] shows how big the school is, and we don’t have the type of security that other large schools, or even malls have,” said Sharlene Dillon, dance and communications major at City College.
“We have 100,000 students,” Santos said, “We’re like a small city. But here on a college campus we’re most definitely safer than out on the city streets.”
To add to the strength of the police department, three new officers were welcomed to City College Friday April 3, bringing the total to 28 officers for all City College campuses.
Officers Alfred Chang, Zaid Hadi, and Tiffany Green, took their oaths in front of the Science Building. All three of the new officers are joining the San Francisco City College Police Department from other Bay Area police departments.