Story by Allie Perkins
Clackamas Community College is a small college that has a small student population, so it can be surprising to hear that there have been eight hit and runs on campus since September.
Eight hit and runs involving cars, not people, since September may seem like a lot, but Thomas Sonoff, director of college safety, disagrees.
“We probably don’t have any higher rate of that incident happening compared to a shopping mall,” Sonoff said.
To help deter crime, the college has installed dozens of security cameras around campus.
As of right now, there are approximately 57 cameras working on the school premises with plans to add more in the upcoming months.
By the time the DeJardin Hall expansion is complete, CCC will have a total of approximately 75 cameras functioning around the three campuses in Oregon City, Wilsonville and Harmony.
“The cameras don’t cover all the areas on campus, so if an incident occurs campus security will investigate,” said Pete Kandratieff, manager of college safety. “Having more cameras on campus is a deterrent.”
Kandratieff said if someone sees a hit and run incident, “They want to contact college safety as soon as possible. We do like to get a word out so people can be aware of what goes on around them and report it. It’s better to take your own notes and to call college safety.” Sonoff agreed.
“If you see something occur in the parking lot like that, either call us right away or if you’re in an area where you’re in a safe place, we don’t want you confronting somebody, but if you can get somebody’s vehicle license plate number, that’s very helpful to us,” Sonoff said.
Sonoff and Kandratieff said adding more cameras during the DeJardin Hall rebuild will help the campus in the future.
“The addition of cameras will be very helpful,” Sonoff said. “We just went through a big change with the college safety officers, so now we have college safety officers that are assigned to us specifically on campus for specifically different shifts for a six-month period at a time. Hopefully, people will see and recognize the officers over and over again, so they get familiar with the officers and get comfortable with them.”
Robert Keeler, a professor of political science, gave his opinion on the camera installments, of which he was previously unaware.
“I suspect the cameras may lower crime rate if it is made widely known that the cameras are present and in operation, but perhaps they won’t result in any great reduction in crime,” Keeler said. “I’m okay with having cameras on campus from a civil liberties standpoint, but believe they will only be effective as a crime deterrent if their presence is known to people. I also wonder about their cost-effectiveness for the college and the campus community.”
Campus safety can be reached at 503-394-6650.