Student Voice

Traffic crimes cause Moorpark College to have one of the highest crime rates in the district

The+AC+Parking+Lot+is+one+of+the+parking+lots+that+tend+to+always+be+busy+with+students+trying+to+win+spots+early+in+the+morning.+Photo+credit%3A+Joannie+Aparicio
The AC Parking Lot is one of the parking lots that tend to always be busy with students trying to win spots early in the morning. Photo credit: Joannie Aparicio

The AC Parking Lot is one of the parking lots that tend to always be busy with students trying to win spots early in the morning. Photo credit: Joannie Aparicio

The AC Parking Lot is one of the parking lots that tend to always be busy with students trying to win spots early in the morning. Photo credit: Joannie Aparicio

By Ulises Koyoc

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The Annual Security Report for 2018, released by the Ventura County Community College District, determined that Moorpark College exceeded all other campuses in the number of crimes committed.

“A majority of the accidents that happen here at Moorpark College are in the parking lots, due to unaware drivers,” said Campus Officer Andrew Huisenga. “People rush in the lots which increases the likelihood of an accident.”

The official report provides statistics of crimes that have happened throughout Ventura, Oxnard, and Moorpark College campuses. Under the Clery Act of 1990, its required that crimes such as burglary, hate crimes, vehicle theft, sexual assault, and domestic violence must be reported by colleges and universities alike.

According to the report, Moorpark College had a total of 111 crimes committed in 2017. Ventura College had a grand total of 96 crimes, while Oxnard College had a mere 56 crimes reported.

In comparison to the last three years, starting in 2015, Oxnard College was ranked third with the fewest crimes, Moorpark College was second, and first place was Ventura College with the highest number of reported incidents.

However, it seems the tide has turned. Moorpark College now has the highest numbers of reported crimes, while both other campuses are significantly reducing their numbers.

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Numbers showing Moorpark College being the campus with highest crime rate. Photo credit: Ventura County Community College District

“I think drivers are at fault,” said 19-year-old art major, Leilani Andazola. “Some drivers are reckless.”

Under closer examination, 68.5 percent of all the crimes committed at Moorpark College involved some type of vehicle accident. When totaled, the number of vehicle accidents were 76 out of 111 reported crimes, with 35 “hit and runs” and 41 “traffic accidents”.

According to the report, campus police have the responsibility of enforcing traffic regulations on campus. This brings up the question of what Moorpark College faculty and campus police are doing to reducing the number of accidents.

Officer Huisenga determined that the number of vehicle accidents is in direct correlation with Moorpark College being the biggest campus out of the three colleges. And that 80 percent of all vehicle accidents that have been recorded happened in campus parking lots.

He also mentioned that it has been noticed that too many people seem to be in hurry and lose awareness of their surroundings in the tightly packed lots.

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An example of an accident that can happen on campus parking lots. This accident occurred in 2011. Photo credit: Tarek Fattal

Moorpark College’s President, Luis Sanchez, shared his opinion on the matter. He expressed his discontent for being ranked the highest on the report but mentioned that plans are being evaluated to reducing the number of vehicle accidents. These evaluations are conversations that have taken place during faculty meetings and he hopes to actually see improvements in the coming year.

“I hate being the campus with the highest crime rate,” said President Sanchez. “But we’re optimistic that the ideas that we’ve created and presented will improve campus safety.”

One of the options that President Sanchez and Officer Huisenga presented, was that parking stalls could be redrawn at an angle instead of being completely vertical, but the downfall of this option would be the loss of parking spot numbers.

Huisenga also mentioned that Ventura College allows it’s students to park alongside it’s main intersection, Telegraph Rd., which surrounds Ventura College campus, suggesting for fewer accidents from drivers in cramped spaces. Unlike Ventura College, Moorpark College does not allow their students to park on its main intersection, which would be Collins Dr.

Another method that campus police have tried is their partnership with the CHP, California Highway Patrol, to enforce speeding laws on the freeway, and the Sheriff’s Department, to better monitor drivers on nearby campus streets. This method has worked and is currently still being used according to Officer Huisenga.

However, both President Sanchez and Officer Huisenga shared that the best way to avoid all vehicle accidents is to show up early to classes or find other means of transportation.

“Show up early to school, be willing to walk to school, or take the bus,” said Officer Huisenga. “If a student drives to school, they should always be discreet in traffic.”

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Parking Lot A is one the busiest parking lots at 12:50 p.m. It can become extremely crowed in the lot. Photo credit: Hannah Elders

It’s evident that Moorpark College is a campus with big traffic issues, that are currently being addressed by campus police and faculty. However, the college is a school that has ranked highly in the last couple of years.

The website, TheBestSchools.org, has named Moorpark College in its top 50 community colleges in the nation. Other sources like Niche, a website that provides people with information regarding safety, real estate or schools, gave Moorpark College an “A” in safety.

Huisenga, too, backed up Moorpark College, saying that it is a safe campus, compared to the national average. President Sanchez echoes Officer Huisenga’s opinion but hopes that students play their roles in being more responsible drivers.

“I do think that Moorpark College is a very safe college, but students need to be more cautious when driving to school and on campus,” said President Sanchez

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