As a top community college in the state, most don’t associate Orange Coast College with crime, and rightfully so.
When it comes to major crimes on campus in the past year, there were few crimes reported to Campus Safety. A low crime rate is to be expected, considering many students are only on campus for the short while they are in class, and then leave immediately.
With the rare occurrence that a reported crime happens on campus, it is not taken lightly by Campus Safety, and in some cases the Costa Mesa Police Department gets involved.
OCC has implemented a campus crisis alert program in which text messages and emails are sent to students and faculty to inform them of incidents of crime or potential threats.
In just this month, there have been two crimes on campus that have resulted in the crisis alert system being used, including an indecent exposure that would later result in the suspect being arrested by the Costa Mesa Police Department (see story Page 1).
A full 18 hours passed before a campus alert was sent out to students and faculty.
Almost the exact situation occurred earlier in the month when there was an aggravated assault on campus. Along with the text messages and emails sent, signs were posted around campus near the parking lots nearly a day later.
Both of these recent incidents were deemed not immediate threats by Campus Safety, so the crisis alert messages were not pushed out immediately.
While it’s vital to relay these messages to the OCC community, it’s also important for them to be received in a timely manner, because nearly a day after a crime is committed may be too late for some.
The Coast Report Editorial Board is grateful that our administration and campus safety informs our student body of these incidents at all, but we believe that the resources are available to push these messages out earlier.
These campus-wide alerts provided a physical description of the suspects, which is crucial for community members to know. However, when the information is given one day later it could put us in danger to being exposed to a suspect because were weren’t made aware of criminal activity happening on campus in the moment.
Since OCC’s serious crime rate numbers are so low, when an incident warrants a campus alert, it should be expected by the community to receive a message in a timely manner.