Rising crime numbers at Downtown Campus top charts


In the recently released 2012 Jeanne Clery crime report, Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus once again tops the list for number of reported crimes.

The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities to collect information about crimes committed on campus and release an updated report to the school community each year.

The categories with the greatest increases for Downtown Campus were illegal drug arrests, up from eight to 13, and liquor law arrests, jumping from nine to 25.

The report does contain at least two errors, according to Jaime Cole, PCC’s public safety administrator. A weapons arrest and a burglary were included in the numbers for Downtown Campus.

“We did not have any weapons arrests for 2012,” Cole said. The public safety department was in the process of correcting those errors.

Community Campus, Northwest Campus and East Campus reported the fewest number of crimes. West Campus was much lower on the charts than Downtown Campus, but did report three motor vehicle thefts and two burglaries.

The college approved a contract with an outside consulting firm during the September governing board meeting. The firm, Security Risk Management Consultants LLC, will work with PCC from September to January 2014, at a cost to the college of $86,000.

Chancellor Lee Lambert said he considered multiple things before bringing in the firm.

“We don’t have the time or the individuals who can focus on understanding the big picture or the best practices and then localize them to us here at Pima,” Lambert said. “So I think it makes sense to bring in an outside group.”

Lambert said he hopes the group will help Pima learn a lot.

“To bring in people that have a broader perspective … That’s an asset,” he said.

Manuel “Manny” Amado, acting campus police chief, said theft is the number one crime that occurs on all college campuses.

“We are already aware of that,” he said.

Campus police don’t just wait for the Clery report to come out before taking action, he added. “We’re doing that throughout the year.”

Amado said the Clery report helps campus police tailor their patrols for each campus. More crimes at Downtown Campus means the police department will staff that campus with two officers at all times.

“We allocate resources to try to alleviate and minimize calls for service in that area,” Amado said.

Why are the number of crimes reported at Downtown Campus continually so high?

“Geography,” Amado said. “It’s a highly populated area. Stone and Speedway is a corridor to other areas. There is more foot traffic, and more influences on crime. It increases the risk.”

Amado said the numbers are consistent with many other multi-campus institutions.

Many students informally surveyed at Downtown Campus were not aware of the Clery report, but were interested in taking a look.

“I’m kind of in my own bubble,” said Ben Llamas, a PCC student in his first semester. “I assume there’s a lot of stealing. I would be interested to see the numbers.”

Fellow Downtown Campus student Joven Romero agreed with Llamas, saying that he would like to see the report.

“You could be a target yourself,” he said.

Pablo Vergara-Felix said that he was once a target.

“A homeless person with liquor asked me for money,” Vergara-Felix said. “I asked, ‘what for?’ and he said he had a couple of kids. I said, ‘But you got a beer in your hand right there,’ and he basically grabbed my backpack.”

Most students were not aware that Downtown Campus had the highest number of crimes reported.

Student Milagros Crisp was surprised to hear the news. “That’s kind of scary,” she said.

Overall, Amado said, the best thing students can do with the information in the Clery report is to “target harden” themselves.

“We call it playing the ‘what-if’ game,” he said. “The key thing to remember when looking at this information is that crime can happen anywhere.”

A copy of the Clery report is available online at pima.edu/administrative-services/college-police/docs/Jeanne-Clery-Campus-Crime-Report-2012.pdf.

Aztec Press photo illustration by Nellie Silva.
Aztec Press photo illustration by Nellie Silva.


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