Are MCCC students safe?

Head of Security Bill Myers wants students to be more conscious of their safety when on campus.

Myers, a retired police officer with 33 years as a sheriff’s deputy under his belt, as well as 15 years at MCCC, feels that a lot of the crime that happens on campus can be avoided.

The crime that seems to grab most students’ attention is petty theft, which is the stealing of personal property with a value less than $1,000. Laptops seem to be the most commonly stolen item, while iPods and cell phones are less likely targets, according to Myers.

Most petty thefts that occur can be attributed to negligence on the victim’s part, Myers said. Leaving cars unlocked or things in plain sight can lead to theft, as well as leaving things unattended.

“To some people, things in plain view are fair game. 90 percent of thefts are based on opportunity,” Myers said.

“If you leave it out, someone is going to pick it up,” Myers added.

Since the beginning of the fall semester, there has been one incident of larceny, which occurred in the campus bookstore on September 7. Two suspects were involved in the larceny.

One suspect entered the bookstore, moved a book to an empty shelf, and then proceeded to leave the store. A second suspect entered the store, picked up the book from the empty shelf and then placed it under his shirt.

An employee noticed that the second suspect had the book, and, when approached, the second suspect ran toward the parking lot.

While MCCC has not seen violent crime in a long time, there is a lot of car damage reported to the security office, especially cars parked in Lot 7, the lot by the library.

For 2010 fall semester, one incident of car damage has been reported to the college. The incident took place on the Whitman Campus, where a car was dented while parked in the south lot.

Myers cites the reason for damage to be unintentional, but places blame the negligence on the student’s part.

“Everyone is trying to get into that lot. It’s the busiest lot on campus. People are in a hurry to get in the lot and find a space, and that can lead to damages.

Sometimes people don’t realize their car is damaged until later,” Myers said.

The biggest thing Myers would like to emphasize for students is to stay in groups when on campus after dark. Security tries to be on campus when students are present.

“We’re not here to protect the buildings. We’re here to protect the students; we’re here to protect the staff,” Myers said.

Students are advised to head to their cars right after class is over, and for those students who are waiting for rides, Myers asks that you wait in buildings, which are open until the last class of the day is over.

Myers also advocates that students contact security when someone suspicious looking is on campus.

“Think of safety for your own good. Sometimes people fall into a false sense of security. Why take a chance?” Myers said.

According to Penny Bodell, the administrative assistant to Randy Daniels, there are plans in development to begin posting incident reports on the college website.