The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

El Camino should do better in alerting the community of crimes

Angel Flores | Special to The Union

When a man killed Junko Hanafusa with a sledgehammer on campus on Dec. 24, 2023, El Camino College Director of Public Information and Public Relations Kerri Webb said the college didn’t send out a notification because the campus was closed. 

Doing so “would’ve made no sense,” Webb said. “It would have just actually caused more harm and chaos and confusion.”

The El Camino Campus Police crime log identified the attack as “murder.” The college notified the community through social media posts on Jan. 8. That’s 15 days since a “murder” happened on campus. 

A neighbor of Hanafusa said, “We had women walking there that same day, on El Camino. Nobody knew what happened.”

Without accepting the excuse from the communications office, how about the other crimes that happened when the campus opened on Jan. 2, and students were attending classes on campus for the winter semester?  

On Jan. 5, a man with a weapon and drugs entered a female restroom in the Humanities Building. On Feb. 15, a man was seen in a women’s restroom in the Bookstore. On Feb. 26, an incident of indecent exposure happened in the Music Building. 

On Jan. 3, individuals in a white pickup truck tried to steal from the Construction Technology Building. On Jan. 31, individuals, also in a white pickup truck, stole a gas-powered generator from the Bookstore. On Feb. 13, a catalytic converter was stolen in parking Lot L. On Feb. 14, a burglary happened in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building.

In all these, the college only emailed two safety advisories or timely warning notices to the community: the two burglaries. 

How many Nixle alerts? 


There are 32 entries in the police log after the Dec. 24 murder to Feb. 27, including two instances of arson and two bike thefts.

The last Nixle alert from ECCPD was from Dec. 7, 2023, about a power outage on campus. None of the 32 crimes, some directed specifically at women, merited an alert.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act says, “In the event that a situation arises…and that in the judgment of the District’s chief of police poses a serious or continuing threat to students and employees, a timely warning will be issued through all appropriate means.”

Why the need for these safety advisories, you ask? The Clery Act answers that too: “The purpose of these notices is to aid in the prevention of similar crimes and to enable people to protect themselves.”

In a campus safety forum on Feb. 13, El Camino Police Chief Michael Trevis said, “It is up for debate but I’m gonna say this: El Camino College is safe. Most of the crimes that happen are at 2 and 3 a.m.”

The sledgehammer attack happened at 7:16 a.m. All 31 entries after that occurred from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., most of them during daytime, when there were students, faculty and staff on campus, unaware they were in the middle of an active crime scene.

In an email about the attack sent on Jan. 9, the college told the community to “be alert, be prepared and to always be aware of [their] surroundings.”

Help us protect ourselves by providing us with the necessary information. Information is power, and it could spell the difference between safety and harm, in some cases, between life and death. 

The campus has voiced its concerns: the administration needs to do a better job of informing us about crimes happening on campus. Timely alerts should be sent “through all appropriate means” when something that could put us in danger happens. And that includes “less serious crimes” like men going into women’s bathrooms, bike theft, arson among others.

“I care about you all and [your safety] is personal to me,” Ann O’Brien, executive director of marketing and communications, said during the forum.

Thank you, but caring is shown not through lip service but through actions. 

Show us.

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