Window shopping: Thieves target vehicles near engineering building and stadium

By By Hikari Hite

By Hikari Hite

According to police reports from last year, a vehicle is burglarized on campus every 2.4 days.

Since the beginning of September, 22 cars have already been broken into on campus.

The majority of these thefts occurred in the parking lots of the Merrill Engineering Building and West Stadium.

These locations make theft very simple because they are located near main roads and the TRAX station “making them easy to get away from,” Mike McPharlin, U police detective, said.

Theft from vehicles is one of the most commonly reported crimes at the U, Sgt. Lynn Rohland of the special events and crime prevention departments said.

“People leave valuable things in view that tempt thieves. We are trying to educate people to not do that,” she said.

The safety record states that the majority of belongings taken from vehicles were stereos, iPods and laptops left in plain view.

Nick Katseanes, a sophomore in business marketing, said he is aware of the threat of theft.

“I take the faceplate off my console and don’t keep anything valuable in my car,” he said. “There are certain, dark places I won’t park.”

The police department also suggests considering a good alarm system for vehicles with high-end stereos.

Another key aspect of prevention is community participation in reporting crime. If people see anyone in the act of stealing or breaking into vehicles, they should immediately report it, campus police said.

“We would much rather respond to a false alarm than miss a real crime in progress because someone seeing it wasn’t really sure it needed police attention,” McPharlin said.

The U’s public safety force consists of about 32 police officers and 60 to 70 security officers, but that isn’t a lot for a campus with 60,000 people, McPharlin said.

If the eyes of those 60,000 people were alert and proactive, crime would decrease, he said.

Police patrol campus on foot, on bicycle and in marked and unmarked vehicles. Established patrol times are not set so that thieves do not know when patrols are being made, McPharlin said.

According to a statement made by U police, “There is no realistic way to eliminate all the crime. You can do everything absolutely right to protect yourself and your possessions, and you may still end up a victim. Being smart about keeping yourself and your possessions safe is still the best way of minimizing the risk.”

U Police can be contacted at 585-2677.

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