Vehicle theft drops at BC

Kennedy Thomas, Reporter

Reported incidents of motor vehicle theft on the Bakersfield College main campus have declined, from 17 occurrences in 2011 to nine in 2012, according to recent crime statistics released by the Bakersfield College Public Safety Department for 2010-2012.
Sgt. Chris Counts, director of the public safety department for BC, attributed the decrease in motor vehicle theft in part to the arrests made during recent years, as well as to changes in patrol procedures. Counts said that the spike in motor vehicle theft was due to a “car theft ring that was hitting Bakersfield really, really hard.”
The Public Safety Department annually releases a report of crime statistics as a requirement of the Clery Act, the federal law that obligates colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to share crime and security information with the public.
Available on the BC Public Safety department’s website, the report includes statistics for the BC main campus, Weill Institute, and Delano Center. Categories include crimes against individuals such as murder, manslaughter, and sexual offense, as well as property crimes such as burglary and motor vehicle theft.
In order to avoid motor vehicle theft and break-ins, Counts advised students to not leave any personal belongings in view while their vehicle is unattended, and to resist leaving windows cracked during warm summer months.
“I understand that; I catch myself doing that sometimes, but it’s the worst thing you can do,” said Counts. “Mainly the vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity: people walking by and they just look in and see something and they smash a window, grab, and they’re walking away within five seconds.”
Counts said that students helped in the arrests of motor vehicle theft perpetrators by reporting suspicious activity in campus parking lots to the public safety department.
“We have the saying ‘if you see something, say something,” said Counts. “Don’t think, ‘oh I don’t think it’s really important,’ or ‘I don’t want to bother them.’ That’s what we’re here for. Call us on it, and we’ll definitely go check it out.”
Counts also attributed new equipment and patrol procedures to more effective crime prevention throughout the campus.
He said that the department’s recent acquisition of three-wheeled T3 Motion electric vehicles has improved the efficiency of patrols throughout the campus and increased response time for officers.
Although most categories in the report saw improvement between 2011 and 2012, there were exceptions.
Burglary, defined in the report as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft,” rose in occurrences on the main campus from 11 reported incidents in 2011 to 14 in 2012. Counts said the department was “reviewing procedures” in response to these cases.
Both robbery and aggravated assault occurrences also rose, from 0 incidents in 2011 to 1 in 2012, the same amount reported in 2010.