By Javier Valdes
Assistant News Editor
The vehicle of CSU Bakersfield criminal justice major Erick Meza, 25, was recently stolen while in class at the CSUB campus.
When Meza searched for his mid 90s Honda Accord in Lot J after class on Jan. 7, it was nowhere to be found.
After searching various parking lots without any luck, Meza notified the University Police Department and filed a report.
“The moment I told them it was a Honda Accord, they knew it was stolen,” said Meza.
The following morning Meza was contacted by the UPD where they notified him that the vehicle had been found in Las Vegas, NV.
Meza had to pick up his vehicle in Las Vegas.
He had to pay upward of $500 to retrieve his vehicle from the impound and for additional locksmith charges.
With all the influx of new students, the UPD gives tips and measures that students can follow to prevent vehicle thefts on campus.
Even after the inconvenience of having his vehicle stolen, Meza acknowledged the efforts of CSUB’s UPD.
“They helped as much as they could,” said Meza. “They were very professional, methodical, and respectful.”
Although rare, it’s not unheard of that vehicle thefts happen at CSUB.
Sergeant Mari Gonzalez with the UPD mentioned how vehicles that fall under the mid to late 90s Honda or Acura models are some of the most commonly stolen cars, at least in California.
Sergeant Gonzalez considers CSUB to be one of the safest areas in Bakersfield, saying that
there are at least two officers patrolling the campus 24/7 and that because of the low call rates on campus they can focus more time on added security.
Since 2013 there have been four vehicles thefts at the CSUB campus, one being Meza’s.
Gonzalez mentioned that the element of surprise, as well as the various ways that the department patrols gives them an advantage.
“Sometimes we’re on foot, sometimes we’re on the bicycle, sometimes we’re on the little electric cars…this gives us a bit more sneakiness and…more accessibility,” said Gonzalez.
“I think what happens a lot… because we are such a safe campus and we are pretty vigilant and diligent about patrolling, is that students get a little complacent so they’re not afraid to leave a backpack, a purse, or a wallet visible,” said Gonzalez.
Even with the limited video surveillance the UPD has been able to make great use of the video surveillance they do monitor.
“A lot of crimes, not just car thefts, but thefts and fraud cases…we’ve been able to help because of camera footage,” said Gonzalez. “It would be fantastic (to have a full covered campus) …the manpower to monitor those cameras would be insane, but if we could have a camera in a parking lot…and later be able to go back and review footage…it would help us definitely narrow down suspects.”
As for now, the UPD continues to widely patrol the CSUB campus. Gonzales stressed that there is no lot that is safer than the other, as even students and facility members are great at notifying the UPD whenever they see something suspicious on campus. Gonzalez advised that if any student sees any type of suspicious activity on campus to call UPD’s emergency number at 661-654-2111.