UPD waits for second parking lot occurrence to inform students


Safety Bulletin that UPD emailed students on March 26, 2019.

By Lauren Silvis, Reporter

On March 26, CSU Bakersfield University Police Department sent out a safety bulletin to the campus. The bulletin informed students and staff about two similar, suspicious events. The first occurred on Feb. 4, at 8:45 p.m. where two men tried to open the doors of a vehicle while a female driver was in the car. The doors were locked, and the suspects were gone by the time UPD arrived.

The next occurred on the morning of March 26. A female driver was sitting in her car when a man tried to open her door. The doors were locked, and the suspect was gone by the time UPD arrived. The safety bulletin did mention that patrolling has increased in those areas.

UPD Chief Martin Williamson said, “I still have to worry about the rest of the campus. But, when the officers are not handling calls and they have available time, they do visit those areas.” Williamson added that he has been given positive feedback from “campus people” who have informed him they have seen the officers out and about.

Many students responded on social media asking why they were not informed of the Feb. 4 incident until March 26.

Explaining the lack of alerting the public, Williamson said “There was no crime and the victim was not in danger.”

I honestly don’t think it’s accurate to call the reporting party a victim either because nothing happened.”

— Jennifer Self

Jennifer Self, director of public affairs and communications added, “I honestly don’t think it’s accurate to call the reporting party a victim either because nothing happened,” Self said. “If there had been any true victim, a bulletin would have been put out.”

The bulletin that was released on March 26, contained information of both events due to their similarity, Williamson explained. According to the Clery Law, there are rules and regulations that universities, including CSUB, must follow regarding the reporting of crimes.

On CSUB’s website there is a list of definitions on what qualifies as a clery crime. On Feb. 4 and March 26, no clery crimes were committed. However, the clery law does state that if any act puts a victim in fear, this qualifies it as needing to be reported to the public through a timely warning.

Williamson said, “Being fearful is not the only criteria in a clery crime. To be classified as a clery crime, there has to be a committed crime and fear.”

Williamson explains that there did not seem to be an ongoing threat to campus and thus no warning was released.

Simar Bains, CSUB psychology major questioned the timing in which students and staff were informed of the Feb. 4 incident.

Bains said “Are campus police going to wait for someone to get kidnapped to finally alert everyone to stay safe? It should have been done immediately.”

Williamson said “We assessed it the following morning and decided not to release a warning. If we were to put out a safety bulletin for everything that happens on campus, students would stop reading them.”

Both events were referred to in the safety bulletin because of the similarity between them. Williamson explained that this presented a good platform to remind students of the services that are available to them. The suspects did not have similar profiles and have yet to be identified.

There have also been reports of stolen bumpers, denied requests, and stolen items out of vehicles.

Williamson said “All of the reports don’t come to my level. I’m busy everyday dealing with a lot of things and crime is not always the top part.”

Despite the reports and concerns from students, Williamson says safety is really not an issue on this campus.

“Still to this day I don’t think there is a safety issue on this campus,” said Williamson.