Public safety plans to clean up crime and campus
By Ngoc Nguyen - Staff Reporter
Operating under the premise that a clean campus is a safe campus, Highline's Public Safety and Criminal Justice departments will pick up litter next Tuesday.
The annual campus cleanup is hosted by Public Safety with the main purpose of creating a healthy school environment and provide lessons in crime prevention.
This year's campus cleanup will run from 11 a.m to noon on May 22. It will focus on cleaning up designated areas outside of academic buildings, Building 99 and the East and South Parking lots where people first see the campus.
The lead organizer this year is David Menke, director of Public Safety. His officers will join faculty and students from the Criminal Justice program in the cleanup effort.
The event will operate under the same concept as last year.
"People work together and collect drugs, needles, beer cans and any hazardous objects around the campus to create safer school," said Steve Lettic, an instructor in the Criminal Justice program, who participated last year.
More than just collecting the trash, the event aims to educate students on how to take care of the Highline community and prevent crime both on and off campus.
"We focus on crime prevention just by the fact that we want the campus clean. The less litter, the less crime," Menke said.
Yet, despite the cleanup efforts, litter remains a perpetual problem.
"The litter phenomenon still appears around the campus. We can see the garbage scattered along the East Lot," Lettic said. "Students discard plastic bottles, paper and other items by throwing them onto the ground, thus increasing the problem of littering."
Public Safety is attempting to raise awareness of campus environmental problems, and educate participants on environmental issues in order to reduce littering problems and to reduce crime as well.
"Criminals won't come here to break into the cars or take somebody's property when we keep Highline more beautiful and let them know that we care what is happening on our campus," Menke said. "If you see litter all around the campus, that means we don't care about our community."
Nhu Vo, a volunteer of last year's cleanup event said "An unclean environment will make it easy to attract criminals and they think we don't care about the place where we study and work."
Lettic said last year's cleanup day attracted many volunteers who picked up a significant amount of trash.
"There were about 45 people at the last event including faculty, staff, students and athletes," he said. "I hope there will be more this time."
The event is open to students pursuing a Criminal Justice degree and everyone interested in volunteering.