This week in Crimewatch
A Santa Monica College student was apprehended on March 24 for not having current registration or insurance, as well as having a suspended driving license. When presented with a ticket, the driver refused to sign it and fled on foot, escaping across campus, and leaving his vehicle with the police. Upon impound, an officer found a small bag of marijuana hidden inside the car. Later the driver turned himself in and now faces additional charges for resisting arrest and drug possession.
Also on the traffic beat, one of the most pervasive types of traffic infractions committed by SMC students is the fraudulent use of handicap placards. Sgt. Trump of the SMC Campus Police Dept. estimates that "three to four times a week-ballpark" students are caught participating in this crime.
"If you're going to do that, sooner or later you're going to get caught," he said. The misuse of a handicap placard is a misdemeanor miscellaneous traffic arrest and is reported by citizens, parking security, and staff, but for the most part, "the officers observe the violations themselves."
"We see students hanging it up themselves. Usually it's a relative's-mother, father, uncle, aunt-or stolen," he said. "Most of the violations occur, believe it or not, in the preferential parking zone."
Punishment for this crime varies since it is enforced under court jurisdiction, leaving the decision of penalty for the judge to decide. Disciplinary action can range from community service to fines of up to over a $1000 dollars.
"It's pretty inconsiderate. You're taking a parking space away from a legitimately handicapped person," Trump said. "Every once in awhile the City of Santa Monica conducts stings and we assist them."
Another criminal occurrence has left a question mark as to its ultimate purpose. A bolt cutter was used to cut through the padlock at Corsair track and field, and five starting blocks were stolen. There are no leads in this crime at the moment.