Bakersfield College’s Department of Public Safety discusses increase in car burglaries near campus


Alexandra Apatiga

Christopher Counts talks about active shooting incidents.

Jenny Brito, Web & Social Media Editor

A rumored increase in vehicle burglaries on Panorama Drive has had Bakersfield College students worried this semester. On Feb. 15, Cristopher Counts, Director of the Department of Public Safety, shared his thoughts on the matter.

Counts confirmed that there has been an increase in car burglaries since the Spring 2018 semester started. Most thefts, however, have been reported on Panorama Drive further west of campus, from River Boulevard to Manor Street.

According to Counts, as of February, “There have been two reported vehicle burglaries on campus and one petty theft from a vehicle where the student left the car unlocked.” He added that none of the incidents have occurred on Panorama Drive bordering the campus.

In addition, on-campus car burglaries have remained low. One of the reasons why campus parking lots continue to be safe, Counts shared, is that students and staff frequently report suspicious persons. As soon as they are reported, officers rush to make contact with such individuals.

“I am pleased that our campus community is applying the saying, ‘If you see something, say something, and let’s do something about it.’ With more of the community getting involved, suspicious activities and crime will be reduced on campus,” Counts stated.

Counts also shared that Public Safety is aware of the reported burglaries and are continuously patrolling the campus and surrounding streets. They stop more often and make contact with people who do not appear to belong in the area.

He also commended Sonya Christian, the President of Bakersfield College, for her strong support of Public Safety and for authorizing the hiring of two new positions within the department. The two positions include a senior officer and an officer position.

“These positions will assist us with our primary mission of providing a safe educational and working environment for our community,” Counts said.

When it comes to safety, there are several things students can do to enhance their personal protection. The first one is to be alert. Counts encouraged students always to be aware of their surroundings, put phone calls on speaker while they walk to their car, and make eye contact with anyone who they feel looks suspicious.

He explained, “By doing this, you will present yourself as being aware and ready for anything, and that yes, I see you, and I won’t let you sneak up on me.”

Further, he reminded female students that the department will be holding Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training this semester. Although trainers are only certified to teach women, next semester they will be certified to teach men, non-gender specific, and trans-women and men.

Regarding keeping their property safe, Counts added that people should always lock their vehicle and ensure windows are rolling up all the way.

Also, he asked students not to leave books, backpack, purses, sporting equipment, etc., in plain view. “It only takes a few seconds for someone to break your window, reach in, and grab your property and walk away.”

Thefts of opportunity are the most reported crime at BC. Although the increase in car burglaries has not affected BC’s immediate surroundings, students must remain vigilant. Chief Counts recommended visiting the Public Safety website for more information and added that active shooter training will be offered in March.

“Since Jan. 1, there have been seven incidents with firearms in schools throughout the nation. That is an average one incident (not necessarily an active shooter situation) every six and a half days. Please join us at one of our Active Shooter training,” he concluded.