Improved methods help catch crooks.
Santa Ana College’s crime activity has dropped by almost half since 2009, with authorities saying they believe that a new focus on foot patrols and use of video surveillance cameras have aided the decrease in grand theft and larceny.
In response to a rash of thefts, including bikes and car break-ins, safety officers increased foot patrols and later added video cameras at key points around the campus.
“The decrease in larceny and theft on campus has to do with our new camera system, and the continuous visibility of the officers in the field,” said Lt. James Wooley, supervi-sor of district safety and security.
Grand theft, the taking of an object exceeding a monetary value of $950, and larceny, the wrongful theft of property, are the two most common criminal offenses committed on the campus, according to annual incident reports.
These two crimes alone account for 96 of the 161 reported offenses committed over the past three years, or roughly 60 percent of the total reported illegal acts.
Incidents of grand theft went down from 27 reported in 2009 to five in 2011. Vehicular larceny is down from 20 incidents in 2009 to six in 2011.
Students say they feel safer now that visible cameras act as sentries around the campus perimeter.
“I think the cameras have a big part to do with it. Now if there is a crime you can find the people that did it,” freshman Jacob Moreno said.
Officers have tailored their vehicular and foot patrols to commuter behaviors, while looking for things that appear out of the ordinary.
Safety Officer Antwan Frazier said: “I try to survey the parking lot to look for anything that looks suspicious, like a window that is rolled down or a car door that is opened.”
Other officers say that the combined system will continue to make the campus safer.
“I feel that it is a safer environment for students because of the fact that there are things being recorded,” Wooley said.
With increased visibility and officer experience, security has tackled crime head on in order to keep students on this campus safe.
Safety officers are able to use video footage as additional evidence that they can turn over to the police.
“Now we have tools that we can investigate and figure out who committed these crimes, and eventually apprehend them,” Wooley said.