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Student safety should come first

The campus safety website reads, “ The University of La Verne prides itself on having a safe and inviting campus that welcomes visitors for an afternoon or students for years of study.”

The University’s main campus has 10 people on the campus safety staff, led by interim director of campus safety Jeff Clark and lead officer Laura Avalos, for the entire student body of nearly 7,000 students. There is also one officer assigned to the College of Law campus in Ontario and an additional position that is currently unfilled.

But with two recent incidents of armed robberies at nearby Cal Poly Pomona and enrollment at an all-time high, it’s clear that the University is in need of more campus safety officers.

The officers provide a number of services, including responding to emergencies throughout the day, offering security at campus events and escorting individuals across campus.

Campus safety officers are on duty at all hours and every day of the year, even holidays.

Adding another officer to the staff to protect a record high student population is not enough, and the campus safety department should have funding for more than 12 positions total.

The University has seen a steady increase in calls for the past five years, with reportable crimes like burglaries and robberies remaining steady, Clark said.

There has also been an increase of student thefts, a figure that is not included in the annual Jeanne Clery Act Report. The annual report provides statistics for the previous three years on reported crimes and incidents on campus including robbery, burglary and sexual assault.

The report also lists statistics for public property- surrounding and adjacent streets to the university.

Though criminal offenses, namely burglary, on campus last year decreased from offenses in 2010, the problem still exists and does not include figures pertaining to this year.

Even more, criminal offenses off campus actually increased from both 2009 and 2010 to 2011, and included forcible sexual offenses, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.

For students being forced to park off campus because of the parking situation, the statistics will make many concerned about walking to their cars at any given time of the day.

Students are more susceptible than ever.

If the city can find a way to hire crossing guards and fit these positions within its budget, the University should be able to hire a few more part-time security officers. After all, there are far more important fines to be handed out – ones that don’t involve violating a three-hour parking limit.

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