EAGLE ROCK — A juvenile suspected of breaking into students’ cars at Occidental College earlier this month was apprehended by campus police, reports the student-run The Occidental Weekly. But the suspect, who stole about $20 in cash and items, was not turned over to police. Instead, the campus cop who caught the thief, a homeless youth who lives in the area, gave the suspect $20, recorded an apology from the youth — “I’m sorry for breaking into your cars and I won’t do it again” — and advised him to stop by the campus safety office if he ever needed help. Some parents of the student victims are not happy about this.
Campus Safety Chief Victor Clay, who caught the youth, explained his approach to The Weekly:
“I didn’t want to report him to LAPD because what happens is, he’s a juvenile, he’s under 18, and it would take a cop out of the field for like 12 hours trying to process him,” Clay said. “He won’t go to jail. Nothing will happen to him for stealing $20, except it will put a record on him and he’ll never be able to escape that.”
Clay made the decision to offer support to rather than punish the culprit based on the restorative strategies he has understood to be most effective in his nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement. At the same time, Campus Safety does inform every victim of a crime that they have the option of reporting any crime to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) if they so choose.
“If a crime victim wanted the subject arrested or detained (in the case of a juvenile), I would gladly give LAPD all information and assist them in every way,” Clay said via email.
Clay said his decision received “pushback” from parents of the students whose cars were broken into. But Clay said the suspect would be back on the street if his parents signed for his release.
Read the full story in The Occidental Weekly.
- More Eagle Rock stories
- Got a story, tip, question or photo to share? Submit it here
The Eastsider’s Daily email digest includes all new content published on The Eastsider during the last 24 hours. Expect the digest to land in your in email in box around 7 p.m. It’s free to sign up!
Once you submit your information, please check your email box to confirm your subscription.