Students need to park on campus and be more aware during night classes


Photo credit: Elijah Hicks

We’ve all been there. You’re late to register for classes, and the only ones left are at night, so you take them.

But as you walk to your car after your class, you feel a twinge of anxiety wash over, because you parked your car off-campus and now have to walk away from El Camino’s security cameras and police patrols.

Do you throw on headphones and stare at your phone until you get to your car, or do you stare straight ahead listening for any strange noise nearby?

Students taking night courses need to be more aware when leaving their classes and returning to their cars, and should park on campus lots rather than off-campus.

On Monday, Oct. 3, the south side of the two-level parking structure Lot F was closed for earthquake retrofitting, closing off 521 spaces.

But even with these fewer spaces on campus, there is no reason that students should have a problem finding parking for night classes. Not only is more than 3/4 of parking Lot F still open for students, but there is also the five-story Lot H located right next to Lot F on the south-west side of campus, as well as the outdoor Lot L.

Students also get the chance to park in all of the staff parking lots after 6:30 p.m., not having to worry about being ticketed as the “staff only” rules no longer apply.

The on-campus parking lots are also very well-lit by lamps and monitored by numerous security cameras to keep students feeling safe about returning to their cars and about parking on campus.

With the recent individual armed robberies of three El Camino students off-campus near the Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Lemoli Avenue area, one of them occurring at night as a student was returning to their car, it’s really important for students to not only park on campus, but to be aware of their surroundings.

Too easily can one get distracted by the ping of a new tweet or the buzzing of a new text and lose themselves in their apps, becoming unfocused to the potential dangers around them: bad drivers, suspicious activity or even potentially dangerous characters.

At night, it’s all the more relevant to remain focused on one’s surroundings when returning to their car.

According to crime stats recently released by the El Camino Police Department, there was a spike in violent crimes on campus in 2015 from the previous year. There were eight reported cases of stalkers in 2015 compared to one in 2014, two reported robberies, five reported vehicle thefts, five date related violence incidents and eight domestic violence reports on campus.

Though some of these students may not have been distracted, it still proves that crimes are not stopping anytime soon around campus, and the more students are aware and the more they park in safer areas, such as EC’s parking lots, the better chance they have of avoiding being a victim of another robbery or worse.