WesternU and downtown Pomona are “like a little bubble” of safety in a community where everyone needs to keep their wits about them to stay safe, Pomona police said during a Public Safety Town Hall on the WesternU campus Thursday, Aug. 18.
About 30 WesternU students, faculty and staff gathered in HEC Lecture Hall II to hear from Cpl. Brian Hagerty of the Pomona Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit and from Sonia Carrigan, a Pomona PD Community Service Officer. Their repeated message: Pay attention to your surroundings, travel in pairs or bigger groups, and report suspicious persons or incidents to campus security or, in an emergency, call the police department.
The town hall was called in the wake of a weekend incident on campus where a campus security guard was robbed by someone who threatened the guard with a sharp object. The suspect in the armed robbery remains at large.
Despite the incident, which was the first of its kind in WesternU’s 34-year history, Hagerty described the WesternU campus and much of downtown Pomona – essentially everything east to west between Towne and Garey avenues, and north to south from Holt to Mission boulevards – as “a little bubble” that doesn’t experience much serious crime. Neighborhoods to the south, north, and east are home to gangs, however, and he cautioned those who ventured near those areas to do so only during the day, to keep their heads up, and to pay attention to suspicious behavior by individuals.
He also noted that parked cars in lots are targets for criminals at night, and that those walking to their cars in the evening should do so in pairs or larger groups.
Suspicious individuals seen on campus should be reported to campus by calling ext. 3000. Anything more serious – a physical confrontation, attack or other potential crime – should be reported to the police by calling 911 immediately, Hagerty said. He also cautioned those who might witness such an incident to stay at a distance and let police handle the situation.