Campus Safety has reported three incidents that took place on Sixth Street this semester, raising questions about security on the Claremont campuses.
Last weekend a suspect from one of the incidents was arrested after Campus Safety managed to connect him with an attempted burglary at the Claremont McKenna College apartments last November.
Campus Safety officers spotted the same man loitering around the apartments Jan. 26. Upon realizing he was seen, the suspect left the apartments and drove away in a white truck. Campus Safety subsequently sent a security bulletin to the colleges, noting both the license plate number and description of the truck as well as a picture of the “prowling suspect.” Within a week the suspect was caught and arrested.
In an e-mail announcing the arrest, Rick Townes, Dean of Student Life at Pomona College, advised students to remain vigilant.
“While one bad guy was arrested and at least temporarily taken off the streets, we must continue to pay attention to our surroundings,” he wrote in the e-mail to students. “We cannot let down our guard.”
“What stands out is the fact that the suspects are known to take advantage of unlocked doors and windows, unattended valuables and individuals who do not take reasonable care to safeguard their personal safety,” said Shahram Ariane, Director of Campus Safety.
Ariane was appointed to his position in 2010, after serving as security director for the Los Angeles Dodgers and vice president of security for the STAPLES Center.
“The Campus Safety staffing level has increased tremendously in the past two years,” Ariane said. “We patrol the campus community at all times.”
“I don’t really know what to make of Campus Safety, so either they are doing a really good job or there is not any crime to stop,” Rishi Sangani PO ’15 said. “Because I know of at least some crime, I assume it is the former. I personally have never felt unsafe on campus and I haven’t heard of any friends feeling unsafe either.”
A CMC safety notification Jan. 22 informed the community of an incident involving indecent exposure. A female student was walking her dog on Sixth Street in the direction of the CMC Student Apartments when a man across the street “stopped and exposed his genital area,” the e-mail stated. The student fled the scene unharmed.
This episode harkened back to an incident in early December, when a female student walking eastward on Sixth Street reported a similar experience that happened five times until the student reached the Arrow Street intersection and ran away to call a friend.
Another CMC safety notification e-mail circulated describing attempted robbery and assault. At approximately 6 p.m. Jan. 30, according to the e-mail, a male student approaching CMC residence halls Benson and Marks on Sixth Street “was confronted by a man who demanded that the student give him his wallet. When the student informed the man that he did not have any money the man physically assaulted the student causing injury.”
Some students were unnerved due to both the early evening time at which the incident occurred and the incident’s proximity to main parts of campus. Benson and Marks are adjacent to the Pomona tennis courts and close to Collins Dining Hall.
The apparent increase in crime may instead reflect an increase of communication.
“It’s difficult to say whether there have been more alerts and bulletins sent this years as compared to the past,” Ariane said. “What I can say is that in my short term of service, we have placed great emphasis on using them as a viable tool to keep the campus community informed.”
Due to the Clery Act, a federal statute that requires college and university campuses to report campus crime information, each of the Claremont Colleges has disclosed its recent crime statistics.
Since 2008, reported incidents of burglary, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft have all decreased slightly. Most of the crimes reported in the latter category are golf cart thefts.
“I sincerely wish that everyone would understand that Campus Safety depends on the cooperation of the students to keep our community safe,” Ariane said. “I am not aware of any crime-prevention strategy that has succeeded without the active cooperation of those it intends to protect.”