Campus is safe, but not crime-free

Security guard, Ken Wassus, keeping watch over the halls of the L Building.

MCCC has maintained a safe environment for education for decades, listing all zeros on its annual security report.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there is no crime on campus.

The annual security report, which is required by the federal government, seems to paint a picture of a crime-free campus.

But both the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and college security guards report some crime occurs on a semi-regular basis.

Randy Daniels, vice president of Student and Information Services, explains that the annual crime report lists zeros for crime because MCCC’s crime doesn’t reach the level required to be reported.

“Things like larceny to a building or a car break-in, or things of that nature don't rise to the level of having to be reported on the campus crime statistics,” Daniels says.

He says he is thankful MCCC has not experienced crime at that level.

“We are extremely fortunate in that we have not had those reportable crimes on our campus,” Daniels says.

Daniels says the point of the reports, which have been required since the Clary Act was approved by Congress in 200?, is to make people aware.

“The whole point of that crime report is to get people to be cognizant of what's going on around them,” Daniels says.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department has had 16 calls related to the MCCC campus in the last ten years. The majority of the calls dealt with larceny in a building.

There was also one criminal sexual conduct report and a false terror threat call from MCCC’s address.

Daniels noted that the college lists on the MCCC webpage every crime reported to the security guards.  

President Kojo Quartey said the college emphasizes security on campus.

“I don't feel unsafe at all when I come here on this campus. I feel safer here on this campus than I do in my own home,” Quartey says.

He said the reason for feeling safe is because he is always surrounded by people.

“At home, guess what, it’s just me. Here if anything happens, I can reach out to any number of people, whether its students or security or whatever. I am not alone here,” Quartey says.

Daniels says he also thinks MCCC is a safe place.

“I would, and I want to keep it that way. We enjoy a very safe campus and I think it's indicative of everybody’s efforts,” Daniels says.

Charlie Abel, of campus security, attributes the safe campus to the college administration.

“It’s been very well managed, and actually, I think that kinda goes back to Kojo. He walks around, he talks to people, he keeps people at ease which makes them at ease when they talk to us so I think it's fairly safe,” Abel says.

Daniels adds that the security guards contribute to the overall low crime rate.

“I think having a presence like that on campus is a good deterrent for crime, and I think our security staff do an excellent job in their patrols,” Daniels says.

Quartey says having no dormitories on campus also helps, adding that he has worked on campuses with residential housing.

“You're going to have things happening in your dormitories or residential areas,” Quartey says. “Here our students come, they are educated, and they go.”

Abel says the most reported crimes are vehicle crashes.

“Someone bumps into a car, leaves a dent, pulls away. They don’t leave their information. Technically, that's a crime, but the Sheriff’s Department’s not going to investigate it. We will look into it as much as we can,” Abel says.  

Abel says security guards use both random foot and vehicle patrols to keep MCCC under watch.

Quartey says students can help lower the crime rate, too.

“We need to be more vigilant. Don't leave your laptops in your vehicle, don’t leave your earphones in your vehicle, don't leave your cellphones in your vehicle to tempt a potential thief who is walking by. Always lock your car, too,” Quartey says.

He adds another way MCCC keeps crime low is by having cameras around campus.

“We have some cameras in the parking lots here on campus, so that's a deterrent, also,” Quartey says.

Daniels says there are three main reasons MCCC has cameras recording all the time.

“One, we want to see if there are any patterns. Two, we want people to be aware of what's happening and we want to make sure they can see that. Then three, people. If someone is continually showing up on these reports for one thing or another, then that’s cause for some kind of referral where I sit down and talk with them about what's going on,” Daniels says.

Daniels says the cameras are not high-tech. 

“Our cameras are broad view. We don't have money for the kind of cameras where you got people sitting in the security office watching cameras all day long so they can zoom in,” Daniels says.

He adds that MCCC will never have high-tech equipment.

“We'll never be able to upgrade it to CSI technology; it's always going to be a grab and record and we keep it for so long and then we cannot see it anymore,” Daniels says.

He says that MCCC technology will be receiving some upgrades in the near future.

“With the millage, we’re upgrading security and so we are adding new cameras. Not just externally, but internally to entrances and exits,” Daniels says.