Campus car theft alert for students

Keith Kaczmarek

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Two weeks ago, a campus alert about car thefts was sent to students in response to three car thefts that happened on that single day.

All Honda Accords, this rash of thefts constituted “unusual circumstances,” according to Sgt. Chris Counts of Public Safety and prompted the sending of an e-mail alert to students.

“The administration takes it seriously and wanted to get it out to students to keep them prepared,” he said.

According to Counts, BC had 13 car thefts in 2007, 17 in 2008, and 13 in 2009, along with a number of break-ins.

To put this in perspective, BC has 3,591 parking spots and 121 stalls for the disabled, according to Paula Bray, manager for maintenance and operations.

Public Safety suggests that anyone parking on campus should not leave out items in plain view in their cars that might make tempting targets for thieves.

They should also be careful to set their car alarms and not leave windows even slightly open.

They should also alert Public Safety if they witness any unusual activity, or call 911 if it is an emergency.

According to the Bakersfield Police Department’s Crime Statistics Unit, Honda Accords are one of the most common vehicles to be stolen in Bakersfield. Pick-ups of various models are the second most common.

When asked about how Public Safety is addressing this issue, Counts said that they perform “proactive patrols to keep down thefts and break-ins,” but noted that “first and foremost is the safety of staff, students, and others on campus.”

Amber Chiang, director of marketing and public relations for BC, said that statistics for campus crime were recorded as required by the Clery Act.

The list of crimes covered by the recording aspects of the Act includes car thefts, but it is unclear if this particular crime meets the standard required by the reporting aspects of the Act.

Chiang noted that the warning about car thefts on campus also served to keep students from becoming “comfortable and complacent” about potential crime on campus.

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