Los Rios Police encourage community effort to improve campus security

The Los Rios Police Department and campus officials are focused on making campus safety a campus-wide effort in the upcoming fall semester.

There were three cases of sexual battery from Oct. 9, 2015 to May 4, 2016 and a sexual assault on Oct. 26, 2015, according to the LRPD’s crime bulletins. In each case, crime bulletins were sent to students and staff via email after the crimes were reported to the LRPD.

The crimes were committed by two different suspects and both have been arrested since, according to LRPD’s crime bulletins. While the offenders no longer threaten campus safety, the LRPD still encourages students to always be aware and report any issues they see.

“[The] first and foremost thing to understand is that safety is a community effort,” Olson said. “There’s the popular saying, ‘see something, say something.’”

Olson’s message to everyone on campus matched that of West, encouraging students to report suspicious activity and be more aware of what’s going on.

Students are receptive to the message, in its efforts to make the campus safer and help encourage people to not be afraid to speak out.

“I think that’s a good idea. I think that everybody needs to stay safe, watch their surroundings and be really aware,“ said 18-year-old business major Ariana Wilson.

Given that the LRPD divides its resources across four community colleges and 10 locations, increased security at one campus would result in decreased security at another.“We have to remember that our department has a finite number of resources and it’s shared across the district,” said LRPD Sgt. Mike Olson. “So if I’m bringing in extra police officers, it’s at the expense of another campus.”

A community-led effort will play a larger role in the enforcement of CRC’s new non-smoking policy, which went into effect on Aug. 1, than actions by LRPD officers.

“The no-smoking policy is more of a campus community situation,” Olson said.

“Our role would be of course, if I’m out on foot patrol and I see somebody violating it, I would speak up. Just like we would expect all of our community to do so.”

This August also marks the one-year anniversary of CRC’s light rail stop.

Last fall community members expressed concerns about the light rail station promoting criminal activity on campus.

But as the light rail’s one-year anniversary rolls around this fall, CRC’s Public Information Officer Kristie West said the school has not found any link between the addition of the light rail and an increase in criminal activity, “light rail has not proven thus far to be the problem.”

Olson encouraged students to be more aware of their surroundings on campus, especially at a time when many people are focused on their phones with headphones in, which “makes them a more attractive target to criminal activity.”

With the semester less than two weeks away, the focus for campus officials is on making safety a group effort.

While the annual Clery Report, a yearly report that provides statistics of every recorded crime across the Los Rios district, won’t be released with 2015’s data until October, crime bulletins can still be found from the LRPD’s crime log.