Tag Archives: crime

Beware Worsening Crime Around UC Riverside

UCR Police Chief Mike Lane, left, and Riverside Police Captain Mike Perea

By Lindsay Cabreros

June 02, 2013; 04:00 AM

‘I waited 15 minutes for the trolley but it never came! I could’ve walked home by now,” I said to my mom on my iPhone. It was 6 p.m. as I walked down Canyon Crest Drive to my apartment near the University of California, Riverside campus. The trolley often stopped a block before the actual bus stop since curbside parking was easier, leaving students stranded if they weren’t looking.

I held onto my phone tightly, aware of the armed robbery that occurred a week prior. I scanned the baseball field and parked cars lining the street. A young, lanky man walked in my direction. He wore a navy blue crewneck shirt and black zip-up hoodie. He certainly didn’t look suspicious with his clean-shaven face and stylish fitted jeans. I moved to the far right of the sidewalk so he could pass me, and continued talking to my mom. Instead, he walked toward me.

“Excuse me, umm, can I make a call?” he said. I squinted my eyes, trying to look as mean as possible despite being 5’2 and wearing a tank top with a giant embroidered peace sign.

“Uhh, that’s okay. I’m good,” the man said. He hurried past me.

“Mom, I have to go. I’m walking home and I’m about to cross this busy intersection,” I lied.

“Okay, mija. Get home safely!” she said. I placed my iPhone in my back pocket, tugging my hem down to conceal it. A phone was the only valuable item I carried nowadays. No wallet, just my UCR ID and Wells Fargo debit card that could easily be cancelled.

The next day, I received one of the frequent e-mails from John Freese, the UCPD assistant chief of police. A student walking home had her cell phone stolen by a man with a similar description.

As a graduating senior, I have seen crime rates rise and fall at the university. Crime was sporadic my freshman and sophomore years. In fact, statistics show that UCR had less reported crime than UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley and UC Irvine in 2011. The crimes in the statistics are based on all property crimes and violent crimes.

But this year, crime has become increasingly rampant. UCPD has compiled monthly crime statistics for the beginning of 2013 and the results are overwhelming.

In January, February, and March, there were 225 reported crimes at the UCR campus. That’s 225 reported crimes within 90 days. Incredible.

The UCR crimes were primarily larceny, but they also included minor cases like public intoxication and motor vehicle incidents.

A task force, created by interim chancellor Jane Conoley, was created to address the heavy crime. One outcome is the UCPD implementation of saturation assignments in crime-ridden areas such as Rustin Avenue. But has it worked?

The simple answer is no. Crime has not declined. Oddly enough, criminals have also become bolder. For example, two separate sexual assaults occurred at the Bannockburn Apartment complex in early May, located a mere 500 feet from the UCPD station.

Recently though, the task force has created the Point to Point (P2P) transport program which provides students with transportation to nearby housing during the hours of 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. This new program is a great way to protect students and may prove successful in the future.

I commend Conoley for her quick response, but little has changed. Police are supposed to be saturating crime-ridden areas, yet crime has escalated in magnitude and violence.

Until I see some real results, I’ll continue to carry the bare minimum in my bag, hold pepper spray, and walk fast with a menacing face, hoping to deter any criminals who stand in my way.

Lindsay Cabreros is a senior at UC Riverside.
– See more at: http://www.pe.com/opinion/local-views-headlines/20130602-opinion-beware-worsening-crime-around-uc-riverside.ece#sthash.qCHtQ01H.dpuf

UCR MEDLEY: Med School funding, crime & student louts

UCR MEDLEY: Med School funding, crime & student louts

June 4, 2013 by

Strictly from a PR standpoint, last week started out just ducky for UCR.

At long last, the Legislature has (supposedly) located $15 million per year to make UCR Med an up-and-running concern. Next: Gov. Tightwad’s autograph? We’ll see. But what a relief for UCR and the med school grinders. Then came a Saturday letter to the editor and a Sunday opinion piece. We read that:

– Thoughtless UCR students alienate adult neighbors who have real jobs and need real sleep.

– Some UCR students don’t feel safe.

The letter, written “after midnight” on a weekday by Riverside resident Jill Johnson-Young, complained (putting it mildly) about loutish students who “think we’re a giant frat row.” They’re loud, they litter, they pee on other people’s yards. Pure Highlander class.

UCR has responded with good-neighbor policies, codes of conduct, etc. Do they work? To a point. Until the breaking point. One big problem: absentee landlords rent their homes to packs of unrelated students. “Dormitory row,” says one resident. A proposed city law would limit some rentals to two unrelated jerks in the same house. The city could take violating landlords to court.

The opinion piece, written by graduating senior Lindsay Cabreros, recounts a tense evening encounter with a “young, lanky man” who seemed to have designs on her iPhone. Lindsay stared him away, but uses the incident to discuss what she calls “increasingly rampant” crime at UCR and the surrounding area: “In January, February, and March, there were 225 reported crimes at the UCR campus.”

UCR’s latest figures: Jan.-April: 372 reported incidents: 106 “non-criminal” (i.e. traffic accidents); 266 criminal.

Spokeswoman Kris Lovekin: “… (O)ur police officers are being highly successful in making arrests… More security cameras are being installed… We have a campus safety escort program for people who are walking on and around campus in the evening.”

Lovekin links much crime to the ease with which phones and tablets can be converted to cash. She attached a photo of an “EcoATM” at the MoVal Mall that swallows the gadgets and coughs up money.

But these kiosks photograph the seller, scan his/her ID, require a thumb print and store the phone’s serial number. Step right up, stupid thieves!

Councilman Andy Melendrez, who represents the area, attributes some crime to students in crowded areas (Starbucks, U-Village) who leave their electronics within easy swiping distance.

Maybe they could be more careful, but let’s try not to blame the victims.

Melendrez also laments that crime reporting is not uniform among universities, making UCR seem more crime riddled than it is.

Upside? UCR and the city know what’s going on and are trying to tamp it down.

Downside? It’s not working well enough to satisfy furious neighbors and frightened students. It tarnishes UCR’s image just as its fortunes seem to be rising.

Councilman Melendrez: “When you emphasize safety, they say there must be a lot of crime.”

They sure do.


Reach Dan Bernstein at 951-368-9438 or dberntsein@PE.com