Increase in Incidents Throughout SCCCD as In-Person Classes Return

Image / webpage about the SCCCDs police department

Image / webpage about the SCCCD’s police department

As more students are coming on State Center Community College District campuses, campus police report they are seeing an increase in crimes and incidents. 

Since the beginning of the fall semester, over 2,500 crimes or incidents have been reported throughout the district, according to Steve Mejia, the SCCCD Police Department Sergeant.

Mejia said many incidents and crimes happen on campus, but not all are as serious as others. 

These range from annoying phone calls, teachers locked out of offices and calling officers to unlock classroom doors, to people stealing cars to crimes in progress. 

One of these incidents includes FCC’s greenhouse area, located near the Math and Science Building, which was almost broken into on Sept. 19 2021, according to the SCCCD crime log

 According to Mejia, people tried to cut the fence and peel it aside to gain entry. 

Clippings in the fence surrounding the greenhouse area. (Photo by: Ernesto Grijalva)

He added that homeless people break into places on campus to find a place to sleep and use the outlets outside of the science building to charge their belongings. 

Steve DaSilva, the program coordinator of the horticulture area for over 20 years, reported the attempted break-in to the greenhouse area after he found cuts in the fence the following morning. 

The area is no stranger to these sorts of incidents, according to DaSilva who said people sometimes jump the fence and get into the outdoor lab, which is separate from the greenhouse. 

He added that four years ago, some Koi fish were stolen and in another incident a man killed one right in front of the pond.  

The pond in the greenhouse area which has been targeted many times on different occasions, according to DaSilva. (Photo by: Ernesto Grijalva)

Despite this, there are no cameras to catch any of the break-ins or robberies. Just fences to keep the unwanted out. 

Within a few days of the attempted break-in last month, DaSilva said the fence was repaired to prevent people from ripping the fence open even more. 

However, he still believes FCC should implement cameras in the greenhouse area because it would help prevent future incidents. As to why cameras have not been put there, DaSilva believes the school does not see it as a high priority.

In addition to the greenhouse incident, the SCCCD crime log states there have been attempted and actual vehicle burglaries in FCC’s parking lots. 

These occurred on Sept. 13, 2021 in parking lots A and C. 

According to Mejia, catalytic converters, part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, are often stolen from vehicles on campus, specifically in parking lot D.

To prevent these kinds of crimes, Mejia said campus PD parks a squad car in areas around campus, more prone to incidents, throughout the day to serve as a decoy and to create the illusion that they’re everywhere. 

In addition, he said FCC has over 100 adjustable cameras with audio around campus and is in the process of adding more. 

Despite the rise of incidents, Mejia said he doesn’t think this is anything to worry about because the majority of crimes are non-violent.

If they find themselves in sketchy situations, he advises students and staff members not to engage and that if they see something to say something. 

According to Mejia, there is an officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and chief on campus at all times and no officer is ever stagnant. 

“It is important for our students and faculty to feel safe, and that’s our mission,” he said. “We have a visible presence and we bring that level of security to campus to make students feel safe. We want students to have a peace of mind so they can get an education.”

If students and staff on campus are in need of assistance they should call campus PD. The number is 244-5911. 

If  they dial 911, they will have to wait to get transferred to campus PD.