Consortium Sees Rise in Vehicle Thefts

Although the Claremont bubble may sometimes seem a sanctum of security, a recent car theft—part of a larger trend at the consortium—serves as a reminder that the consortium is not immune from crime. 

Steven Ory PO ’16 discovered Oct. 22 that
his car had been stolen from the South Campus parking garage. While
his car was recovered through the combined efforts of Campus Safety and the Claremont Police Department (CPD), the theft reflects an increase in vehicle thefts at the consortium. 

The annual Campus Safety Report, released by the consortium in accordance with the federal statute known as the Clery Act, indicates that car
theft across the consortium has increased from nine incidents in 2010 to 13 in 2011 and 17 in 2012.

“Many factors may be considered as a cause for this alarming
trend,” Director of Campus Safety Shahram Ariane said. “These may
include the early release of more than 59,000 state of California prison
inmates that began two years ago and is now near completion, the high rate of
unemployment in our region, and police personnel cuts in the local law
enforcement agencies due to budget shortfalls.”

According to the report, Campus Safety’s “arrest powers are identical to those of private persons” because it is not a police
department. All incidents of crimes, including felonies, violent crimes, and
theft committed by unidentified suspects, are therefore referred to the CPD
for investigation. 

Ariane said that Campus Safety has been enhancing security measures to combat this trend. 

“A well-designed video
management system [CCTV] has proven itself to be a key component of our overall
crime-prevention system,” he said.

Ariane said that the CPD used video evidence from the CCTV system in the South Campus garage to identify and the car and suspect in Ory’s case. He also noted that it has proven useful in past cases of car theft. 

While auto theft is on the rise, burglary and assault appear to be on
the decline at the consortium. Cases of burglary have decreased from 122 in 2010 to 57
in 2012, and assault has decreased from three cases to one case in the same time frame.

“Our approach has been to keep the community better informed of
what goes on on campus,” Ariane said. “I would attribute the main
reason for this positive trend to be the key role that the students themselves
have played in taking reasonable precautions to partner with our department in
the interest of our overall safety.”

“These include locking the entry door into the dorm rooms,
especially when asleep and not giving access or letting strangers follow you
into residence halls,” he added.

The majority of
these cases of burglary have occurred at Pomona and Claremont McKenna College. In 2012, there were 18
incidents of burglary at both CMC and Pomona, compared to only nine at Pitzer
College, and five each at Scripps College and Harvey Mudd College. 

“With regard
to rates [of crime], the size of the campus also matters,” Pomona Vice President and Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum said. “Pomona has the
most people, buildings, and property, and our borders are adjacent to a number
of public neighborhoods, more so than a couple of the other schools, so we are
more accessible to the outside than a couple of the other campuses.”

The physical
structure of the campuses may also play a role in the crime rates, according to Scripps Acting Dean of Students Samuel Haynes.

“I think that [our low rate] is
partly due to the white walls that surrounds our campus; it is not easy for
outsiders to just walk on and/or enter our campus without the increased
likelihood of being seen by someone,” Haynes said.

“I think it
is also due to all Scripps students keeping a watchful eye out for each
other, alerting RAs and staff as soon as they see something or someone
suspicious or out of place,” he added.

Both Haynes and
Feldblum said that they leave most of the work regarding burglary to Campus Safety
and the CPD.

“We at Scripps tend
to let Campus Safety deal with crime unless it involves the harming of a
Scripps student,” Haynes said. “Then we work very closely with Campus
Safety and the Claremont police to bring the matter to a respectable


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