CSUB still ranks low in clery crimes


By Lauren Silvis

For three consecutive years, CSU Bakersfield ranked as one of the safest CSU campuses with less than 16,000 students.

By Lauren Silvis, Reporter

In 2017 and 2016 CSU Bakersfield was the safest, of all 9 CSU campuses with a population below 16,000 students. And in 2015, CSUB was the second safest CSU campus.
This conclusion was made referencing the 2015-17 clery report provided by CSUB’s University Police Department. Clery is the national law that University Police follow in reporting, reacting and referencing on-campus crime.

In the graph, the number represents the amount of Part 1 Clery Crimes per 1000 students. Part 1 clery crimes include: murder, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, robbery, motor vehicle theft, rape, fondling and incest.

CSUB has the lowest consistent crime rates per student, this could be a reflection of the UPD.

“I would love to say that it was UPD who could take the credit and that we are just so fabulous that the crime is so low. But, we’re only a small part of it,” said CSUB University Police Department Chief, Martin Williamson.“It is my job to provide a safe and secure campus so that students can get a positive educational experience. If the students don’t feel comfortable studying or going to class on this campus they’re not going to learn,” said Williamson.

Williamson commonly attends New Student Orientations where he tells students that CSUB is big enough that they can all be individuals, but small enough that we can take care of each other.

During events like these, UPD uses the opportunity to promote preventative efforts. “If a predator comes on campus and sees the high numbers of visible patrols, I’m hoping that is a deterrent,” said Williamson.

One of UPD’s biggest goals is the 85-15% ratio. Williamson explained “Our department focuses on 85% engagement to 15% crime enforcement.”

In the 85% of engagement, the officers focus on connecting with the students and staff. Each officer is required to spend two hours out of their vehicle a day, walking around and talking to students.
Anja Boin, kinesiology major said, “The officers I have spoken to on campus were friendly and welcoming.” She added, “I see campus police everywhere I go and that makes me feel safe.”
“I don’t know if there’s any way to quantify or measure crime prevention efforts,” said Williamson.

The other portion of the 85% is spent receiving feedback from all students on campus. Once a month, UPD attends a meeting with ASI President Ashley Schmidt.
CSUB public relations director Jennifer Self said, “He’s constantly getting feedback from representatives.”

But, UPD also encourages feedback from all students. Self said, “If students have any concerns, or if they feel unsafe, or if they have any suggestions, whatever it is, UPD is here to listen to them.”

Williamson said working with the students is important to him because the safety of the campus is a team effort that he prides himself on maintaining.

Boin said, “While I enjoy seeing UPD around campus, sometimes I worry what would happen if a serious crime happened.”

In regard to this concern Williamson said, “The goal of our department is to be able to spend the majority of our time connecting with students and making them feel we are readily available. But, if there were ever a critical incident, everyone should expect that we have sufficient resources and top-notch training.”

When it comes to crimes that happen on CSUB’s campus, UPD investigates each one, big or small.

Williamson said, “A few years ago, we spent hours and hours doing stakeouts to catch the bike thieves. And I’ve heard from other jurisdictions that they don’t focus on petty crimes such as bike theft. But I want everyone on campus to feel safe and comfortable.” He added, “For some students those bikes could be their only transportation and it is my job to make sure they have it.”
The bike thief was found and since then the amount of bike thefts have decreased.

One of the main efforts from UPD is trying to look to the future and prepare for what the campus will need. This includes working with the administration to try and build staffing as our campus grows.

Williamson said, “Right now I’m preparing for the extra bus stops that will be put in next semester.”

With the extra bus stops coming in, UPD faces a few challenges. UPD’s concern is, not everybody who rides the busses are students. And as of now, UPD receives a decent amount of calls from that bus stop or people related to it.

Those calls involve a combination of intoxicated persons, disorderly conduct, and reports of suspicious activity. There is also a large amount of medical calls made to the bus station.
Moving forward UPD is also preparing for the Bakersfield College complex that is coming in on our campus. “They’re not bad people, but it means that there will be 2000 more people on our campus, and I need to have my staff prepared for that,” said Williamson.

The UPD attributes the low crime level to their preventative efforts and their intensive training. Williamson also expressed that while CSUB is safe, that doesn’t mean that crimes won’t happen. For this reason, Williamson and his staff are constantly working to improve the department.

UPD also expressed their desire to meet the needs of CSUB students. Self explained that UPD will do whatever they need to make sure the people on campus feel safe and comfortable. Williamson said, “If you see something, call us.”

For questions, concerns, or reports, anyone at CSUB is encouraged to call (661) 654-2677 for any non-emergencies.