Public safety urges students to secure vehicles

Patricia Rocha, Editor in Chief

The Bakersfield College department of public safety urges students to keep their vehicles safe after a Sept. 5 incident.

In an email interview, public safety sergeant Christopher Counts described the incident.

“While I was on patrol of the campus, I noticed a male subject walking down Panorama Drive looking into vehicles,” said Counts. “DPS officers set up and watched him to see if he intended to break into a car. From a distance, it appeared he attempted to break a car window with an unknown object.”

When that proved to be unsuccessful for the man, he rode through campus, where officers lost sight of him briefly.

“Public safety officer Matthew Rodriguez located him in the south east student parking lot looking into vehicles,” said Counts. “He then walked his bike across the street to the parking lot of Fastrip. He began breaking into a student’s vehicle that was parked on Mt. Vernon Avenue.”

Officers then contacted the Bakersfield Police Department.

“I contacted BPD on my radio and began providing them information on the suspect and his location,” he said. “Other DPS Officers staged in the area so the suspect would not get away. BPD arrived on scene and took the suspect into custody.”

Counts then described some ways to prevent such an incident from occurring again.

“Completely roll up your windows and lock your doors,” he said. “Do not leave any valuables in plain sight, such as a purse, textbooks, laptop, backpacks, CD’s, IPods, etc. Set your car alarm if you have one.

“If you leave valuables in plain sight, it takes under 15 seconds for a theft of opportunity to happen,” he said. “They break your window, reach in and remove your property and walk away, usually with no one seeing or hearing it happen.”

Counts said students and faculty could help keep the campus safe by following the motto, “if you see something, say something.”

“If you are sitting in your vehicle studying before a class, walking to or from your car, or just entering a parking lot and you see someone that seems out of place or they are looking into vehicles, call the public safety department to let them know so they can respond to the area and make contact with the individual to ensure everything is as it should be,” he said.

“Please stay on the phone with the public safety dispatcher until the officers arrive on scene so they can be continually updated as to what is happening while they are responding.”