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New safety measures due to Oakland crime

On the heels of recent murders, right outside the gates of the
college, Mills Public Safety along with the City of Oakland and
community organizations are merging together to raise awareness
about crime prevention and safety.

Over 50 neighborhood residents turned out for the monthly
Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council meeting to hear Oakland
Police Chief Richard Word. The meeting is hosted on campus by Mills
Public Safety, in an effort to connect Mills and the larger

With 94 homicides to date, Oakland is ahead of their homicide
record for this time last year. Two recent homicides in the Mills
area have drawn attention to the neighborhood.

An armed robbery that claimed one clerks life, and left another
” hanging on,” according to Oakland Police Public Information
Officer Danielle Ashford, took place at Seminary Gas, just blocks
from Mills, in late August.

Just last month, a 3 year-old boy was allegedly beaten to death
by his father in East Oakland “near Mills college,” according to a
report in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Despite the violence in Oakland, Word believes that Mills is a
safe place.

“Victims of violent crimes are living a high risk lifestyle,”
explained Word.

According to Word, there are 3,000 parolee’s and 7,000
probationers in Oakland who receive no services, training,
education, anger management or substance abuse counseling.

“The system is a revolving door that’s horribly broken and it
really pisses me off,” said Word

“We have 51 suspects for 113 homicides last year and exactly
fifty percent are on parole.” To address the concern of safety and
crime prevention, Public Safety is implementing new procedures. ” A
new camera was installed at the front gate, that photographs every
license plate that comes on campus,” said King.

One new policy states that the campus is to be closed to
nonresidents and those without legitimate business between the
hours of 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Visitors who are not residents or
faculty will be asked their name, and the nature of their business;
and the guard, according to King, will log this information.

However, while some students feel that Mills security has
improved, they say that not all precautions are being taken.

“As long as they [security guards], see a female in the car,
they let you in,” said sophomore Mariah Robinson. Robinson
explained that recently, she arrived at Mills with two male
companions, one of whom was driving, after 1:00 a.m., and when the
guard saw that there was a woman in the car, they were waved

“They didn’t stop us to ask if I was a student and there was no
Mills identification on the car,” said Robinson.

Future plans to increase security continue with the installation
of two more cameras in the next few weeks that will record foot
traffic coming on to campus from MacArthur Blvd said King.

“There is also police presence on campus. They patrol three days
a week at Mills. Most crimes on campus are robberies and can be
prevented,” King said.

Another possible measure that is under consideration is the
placing of door contacts on all entry and exit building doors on
campus. The contacts would detect doors that are left open and
public safety would be notified and be able to come and close the

In the meantime, NCPC meetings will continue to address safety
concerns, and are held the second Wednesday of every month, at
Mills and are open to all community members.