Crime, theft rates rise on SF State campus

SFSU Crime
A campus police officer blocks off the bottom of the bike path with his assault rifle in hand responding to a possibly armed suspect fleeing from Stonestown Galleria, May 10, 2011. Photo by Jon Weiand, special to Xpress.

While a quick flip through the SF State crime log would have students believe the campus is generally safe, crime has been pushed to the forefront, especially with a recent robbery in which a student was threatened with a gun.

Crime is becoming an ongoing issue on campus, but this past semester, the highest reported crime on campus has been theft — mostly petty theft, but there have also been at least five cases of grand theft.

“Theft is a campus-wide issue,” said Ellen Griffin, University spokeswoman. “The UPD addresses the high target areas with extra patrols.”

A case of armed robbery occurred in November in the Humanities building, which has become a “high target areas” with minor thefts of purses and backpacks becoming more common in the building.

According to an SF State informational bulletin, a student was walking in the Humanities building and was approached by a Hispanic male who asked to use her cell phone. Once the student gave the man her phone, he walked away with it. When the student asked for her phone back, the suspect displayed a black handgun and threatened to shoot her.

“All of us should be more mindful of our own belongings. Do not leave them unattended, even for a moment. As a community, I also hope that we will look out for each other’s well-being,” said Susan B. Shimanoff, associate dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, about the incident.

According to the UPD’s website, police dispatchers work the dispatch center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in an effort to prevent crime and keep the campus safe.

Such preventative measures include providing general and emergency phone lines, providing information to the public, dispatching officers to calls for service or crimes in progress and monitoring all campus fire and safety alarms.

Students can also stay safe by using a program called Campus Alliance for a Risk-Free Environment. CARE is a student security team trained and employed by the UPD to provide escort services to students who are on campus at night.

CARE is available for students from sunset to midnight, seven days a week. To arrange for an escort, students may call 415-338-7200 and tell the dispatcher where they would like to meet the escort. Escorts can walk students to and from their classroom, laboratory or office, car or campus apartment. Although most escorts are provided by walking, an electric cart escort is available under special circumstances.