Nights feel dark at Cal State LA: Students share their concerns about campus safety

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Cornell Chuaseco

Some students feel uneasy strolling through campus at night due to dark and isolated parts of the school.

Denis Akbari, Intern Reporter

Parking lots, bus stops and the dorms are seen as the most unsafe areas at night on campus by Golden Eagles. Students have recently reported robberies and burglaries in the housing areas, causing some residents to wonder how secure it is to live there.

Many students say that the main walkway on campus is safe but other areas aren’t. Some said they would like more safety precautions to be added to those isolated areas, such as better lighting.

Biology major Belindarose Ane likes the precautions that Cal State LA has in place for students and thinks that overall the school is a safe campus.

“We have campus police and some buildings, such as Salazar Hall and the dorms, that need access cards or keys to get into,” she said. “I do feel comfortable at night. It’s calm. I think a good addition to campus would be brighter and more light fixtures.”

Biochemistry major Mallek Kherici shared a personal experience that happened to her a few weeks ago.

“I had my car parked in Structure E, and when I came back it wasn’t there anymore,” she said. It appears my car was stolen in broad daylight, so campus definitely doesn’t feel safe. There needs to be better security since the school is public and not in the best location.”

A police report was filed with the campus police and then the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Kherici.

Campus police reported a robbery and a burglary a few weeks ago. The robbery took place on Paseo Rancho Castilla near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and State University Drive. The burglary happened in the Phase 2 housing complex.

Briana McClelland, a rehabilitation services major, lives in the apartments on campus.

“I think the school should add more security cameras on campus and in housing,” McClelland said. “There should also be multiple security guards or police, if possible.”

Business marketing major Janet Huerta has mixed feelings about campus safety.

“On the main campus, I think it’s pretty safe,” she said. “However, I don’t feel the same way in the areas surrounding the main campus like the parking lots, the dorms and the bus stop. It’s super lonely and empty in my experience.”

Huerta shared her thoughts about being on an open campus and how it affects her view of danger.

“I think the school needs to add more lighting around campus, especially around the parking lots,” Huerta said. “Possibly having more security by the parking lots since they’re more accessible to the general public than the main campus.”

Communication disorders major Cindy Cuaraque and marketing major Erick Torrez both agree that they don’t feel comfortable walking alone on campus at night.

“I think the more isolated areas are mostly unsafe,” Torrez said. “For example, by King Hall and also on the path walking to the dorms, that area tends to be quiet and dark at night.”

Huerta also describes how her experience as a woman could be different from other students’ experiences.

“Being a girl adds a lot to how I view safety,” Huerta said. “I haven’t had any experience with being personally harassed, but I have heard stories of girls being attacked in the parking lot and that scares me.”

Reported rapes and fondling on campus have both been low, according to the most recent Annual Security Report. In 2020 and 2019, there were two reported rapes on campus, a drop from 2018’s eight reports. Reported fondling on campus also went down from two reported cases in 2019 to one in 2020. 

To help maintain a safe environment, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides a 24-hour safety escort service (call 323-343-3700 for more information), blue light emergency phones throughout campus, routine patrols, and the Rave Guardian mobile app.

The DPS also stated in an email to the UT that it is working on a crosswalk enhancement project that includes new crosswalks and lighting improvements to existing crosswalks.