Free parking is not always free
By David Smith
Apr 15 2011
Free parking comes at a cost, and for RCC student Lyndsey Larson that cost is $130. “Do I need to go through the trouble of trying to park under cameras?”
On March 31, Larson was leaving her Math 95 class which gets out at 9pm, when her mood turned sour. “I noticed a security guard standing by
my car, and then I noticed that my jeep was leaning to one side,” she said. I was instantly pissed.”
Two of Larson’s tires had been slashed, leaving her Jeep slumped to one side, and rendering her one spare tire useless.
“I smoked four cigarettes in a row. I was so frustrated,” Larson said.
Many students who park at Bear Creak parking lot complain about their safty and well being of their property when returning to their cars at night.
At the scene a security guard for Maksimum Security who prefers to remain anonymous, stated that the vandalism had to have happened in the last ten minutes, because he had been by there ten minutes earlier while doing his rounds and nothing was amiss.
He also stated that he saw “two teenage kids walk across the bridge” as he approached the Jeep. During an interview with the Byline the guard noticed what appeared to be two teenage boys on the far side of the pedestrian bridge that leads to the Bear Creek parking lot.
As the guard approached the youths to question them, they ran south along the creek, the guard pursued on foot.
Larson said, “I spent five hours running around looking for a matching tire that ended up costing me $65, and they only had one, so I still need to find another tire to replace my spare”.
Though she was glad that nothing had been stolen from her vehicle, Larson expressed her frustration that it was “just so random, I feel like a victim. They don’t even know who I am,” she said. “Vandalizing my Jeep was just entertainment.”
Wearing a temporary cast on her left foot, Larson said, “I just had the fourth surgery on my foot, and I don’t have the money to pay for things like this.
“With surgery bills piling up from the operations, pre-op, post-op, and prescriptions, I am working full time just to make ends meet.
“I don’t just have $130 extra for this in my budget, and I still need to spend the time trying to find another tire,” she said. “I am hesitant to park in the Bad Ass parking lot now. I am a nice person, and this doesn’t make any sense.”
Maria Regalado, an RCC student has received three parking tickets this term at $15 each. She does not park in the Bear Creek Parking lot because she does not feel safe there.
“I have to get here about half an hour before class and drive in circles for 15-20 minutes to find parking every day. Then I need to move my car every two hours.” She said. “The school is not in a very good area, and sometimes you are the only person around at night.”
Jackie Townsend, an RCC student in her second term takes evening classes. Remembers an instance last term getting to her car around 9:30.
“Sketchy people were standing in the parking lot next to the bridge, wearing all black. They seemed like tweakers, and it made me really uncomfortable,” she said.
The next day she went and bought some pepper spray. “I felt like if someone would come after me, at least I had something to protect myself.”
During a ten minute break in her class she went outside, and struck up conversation with the security guard on duty.
She told him that she had purchased pepper spray to help her feel safe at night. The guard proceeded to tell her that it is against school policy for students to carry pepper spray, and she could get in trouble for having it on campus, as it is considered as carrying a concealed weapon. Townsend said, “It’s not like having a gun, but it makes me feel better. There should be a way that you can legally carry pepper spray, cause you never know what could happen outside of the classroom. Anything can happen, and I feel like people have a right to protect themselves.”
The guard now walks her to her car every night. According to Townsend, the guard said that safety escort is one of the services that Maksimum Security provides to students, and that any student can ask to be escorted to their vehicle.
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