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Santa Monica College Releases Data Showing Few Major Crimes on Campus

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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

October 20, 2015 -- Outside of a highly publicized shooting spree that took three lives in 2013, few major crimes have taken place on Santa Monica College campuses between 2012 and last year, according to statistics released by the college.

Many categories of crime were marked with zeros on the Santa Monica College Police Department's Annual Security Report 2015, although incidents involving drugs and alcohol  hit double digits in some cases.

The recently posted report shows no incidents of manslaughter, robbery or arson on the college campus or in surrounding areas.

“We work really hard” at keeping crime down, said Mark Kessler, interim police chief for the Santa Monica Community College District, which has 12 sworn officers, along with support staff.

“We’re fortunate,” he said. “People here are observant and willing to report it when they see something.”

The one rape listed took place off campus in 2013, according to the report.  There was one case of sexual battery on campus in 2013 and three in 2014. One hate crime based on religion was reported in a nearby neighborhood in 2014.

Also listed were two cases of domestic violence on campus in 2013 and one in 2014, plus one case each of dating violence and stalking in 2013.

There were also single cases of weapons laws arrests in nearby neighborhoods in 2013 and 2014.

In 2012, there were five burglaries, rising to nine in 2013 before dropping to zero last year on campus. There was one burglary off campus in in 2012 and another in 2013.

Ten liquor law violations took place in 2013, and those involved were referred for disciplinary action, according to the report. There also were 10 drug arrests in 2012 and eight in both 2013 and 2014. Another 22 drug-related arrests were reported off campus between 2013 and 2014.

The only murders listed in the report were the three that took place during a June 7, 2013 killing spree by a lone gunman that started at the killer’s home and ended at the college library on the main campus.

Those victims were Santa Monica College groundskeeper Carlos Franco, 68; Franco’s daughter, Marcela, 26 and Margarita Gomez, 68, who collected recyclables on the campus.

The killer, John Zawahri, was shot and killed by police. He started his spree by shooting his father and brother to death in their home.

The college has about 34,000 full and part time students and an estimated 2,025 employees.

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