Seven vehicle break-ins happen on and near campus

Jerret Raffety

Students, visitors and residents reported seven vehicle break-ins on and near campus this week, according to University police reports.

Three break-ins occurred in the Oak Street Ramp, located at 401 Oak St. S.E. In all three cases, car stereos were reported missing.

The other break-ins were scattered and do not suggest a pattern, said Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for the University Police Department.

University police and University security monitors regularly patrol the parking facilities on and near campus.

Johnson said people should call police if they see someone wandering or loitering in a parking structure or lot.

Besides patrols, there are several other measures to keep cars and property secure on campus, said Steve Frisk, operations supervisor with the Department of Central Security, a division of the Department of Public Safety at the University.

There are 444 closed-circuit surveillance cameras monitoring parking facilities on the East Bank, West Bank and St. Paul campus at all times, Frisk said. The cameras are monitored by the organization’s employees, he said.

Cars in parking ramps are broken into more often than in lots, Frisk said. They hold more cars than parking lots and are more target-rich, he said.

But, parking a car overnight anywhere on or near campus is a risk, Frisk said.

To counter this, the Department of Central Security is keeping a log of vehicle break-ins and vandalism. The log goes back 10 years and will be used to find problem areas on campus where funding is needed for added surveillance and security.

The Department of Central Security is also responsible for access control of parking facilities, Frisk said. This helps to enforce parking contracts, he said.

Frisk recommends motorists leave nothing sitting visible inside cars when parking. Valuables, such as textbooks, are a common target, but even simple things such as change in an ashtray could tempt a thief, he said.

“Maybe you’ve got an old eight-track of Moby Grape’s greatest hits that might not mean anything to you, but it could to a thief,” Frisk said.

Store personal items in the trunk, Frisk said. Make sure to stow the items in the trunk before entering the lot, because thieves can watch items being placed in the trunk and can break in easily, he said.

However, the best tip to avoid getting a car broken into is to leave it parked in the garage at home and take the bus, Frisk said.

Car thefts on campus

One car was reported stolen, and another was found this week, according to police reports.

This campus has relatively low auto-theft statistics compared to other campuses, Frisk said.