FROM THE ARCHIVES: Articles detail crime, violence

By Sierra Russell

Over the past four decades, the student newspaper has reported on crimes that occurred across campus, state and nation. The Aztec Press also offered advice to students in attempts to keep them safe from harm.

Common crimes in the history of PCC include traffic violations, vandalism, auto theft and assault.

Firearms were discussed in numerous articles.

In the spring of 1981, a two-page layout displayed stories targeting gun use in Arizona and the United States. It was four months after singer John Lennon was shot and killed, and one week after President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded.

Gun violence has occurred on college campuses around the world. Even in the early 1900s, there were reports in Europe and Canada about shootings on school grounds.

One of the first school shootings in the United States occurred in 1966 at the University of Texas in Austin, when Charles Whitman killed 14 and wounded 32.

Since then, dozens of tragedies have occurred. Many recall the shootings at Kent State and Columbine. Other incidents have been virtually forgotten, except by those directly affected.

In Tucson, many residents remember the fatal shooting at the University of Arizona in October 2002. A nursing student who was flunking, Robert Flores Jr., killed three professors before killing himself.

There were reports that two of the three victims voiced concern and fears about Flores before the rampage occurred.

Since then, there has been much debate about whether firearms should be allowed on campuses. Some think a right to carry guns in the classroom would help combat danger, while others view guns on campus as an invitation to disaster.

Last September, a revision to state law went into effect, allowing firearms to be kept in cars at colleges and universities, as long as they are locked up and concealed.

Recent debate has centered on whether to allow students, faculty and staff to carry guns on PCC campuses.

Luke Gonzalez, a student at Downtown Campus, said students should be permitted to carry firearms if faculty members are allowed to do so.

“I carry a gun everywhere I go,” Gonzalez said, “Except here, because I’m not allowed to.”

Even as gun regulations shift over time, cars on every PCC campus have continually been broken into and stolen.

Campus police advise students to keep a copy of their Vehicle Identification Number separate from the vehicle, and to avoid leaving important documents such as the car title and insurance card in the vehicle.

Students are also encouraged to look into programs, such as CAT (Combat Auto Theft) and HEAT (Help Eliminate Auto Theft).

Physical assault on campus has also been a fairly typical crime in the history of PCC.

The college offers an escort service for all students, day and night. The service can be especially valuable to students receiving harassment or going through a divorce. Students are also encouraged to avoid walking or jogging alone at night.

Throughout the 1970s, ‘80s, ‘90s and the past decade, campus authorities have reminded students to use common sense and be aware of their surroundings.

With the many distractions that students face, this can be a challenge but caution has helped to prevent many crimes.

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