By Emilio Rodriguez
College safety officials struck a partnership with Santa Ana Police this fall in an effort to prevent bicycle thefts on campus. Commander Ken Gominsky, who’s in charge of the northeast district division that covers the Civic Center area and Santa Ana College, will work with campus safety officers to develop an efficient way to eradicate what has been an ongoing campus security issue.
Safety officers have increased foot patrols, and SAC added about 200 surveillance cameras costing about $3 million in 2012. Public notices posted around prominent areas on campus warn students of recent thefts.
The Rancho Santiago Community College District added about 50 new bike racks. Previous rack shortages prompted students and community members to park their bikes in unsecure areas, such as light poles and benches.
While crimes against property have gone down since the cameras were installed, bike thieves
persist, with several incidents being caught on film. About 45 counts of petty theft, which includes stolen bicycles, were reported throughout the district in 2013.
Those caught include a mother-and-son tandem, caught on camera in the act of stealing a bicycle near the U-Building. The mother was a former SAC student.
Last year, another student was caught using bolt cutters to detach bicycles from locks, said Lt. Michael Colver, head of safety and security at SAC. The student disguised the bolt cutters in a guitar case.
“I think it’s horrible that people get their bikes stolen. It could be someone’s only mode of transportation,” said Christopher Tero, SAC student and avid cyclist.
For now, police and safety officers advise students to purchase more durable bike locks.
College officials recommend the U-lock, which is sold at the Don Bookstore at a low cost.
“The biggest mistake is using thin cable locks that can’t reach around the bike, or foregoing locks altogether,” Gominsky said.
He is also working with the college to streamline the reporting of stolen bicycles, as well as tracking them down.