Protect your ride from car thieves

Lauren Frankovich

Lauren Frankovich

Daily Kent Stater

After you have finished looking for a parking spot and have enjoyed the success of finding a close spot or a nice, long walk, make sure to remove valuables from your car and lock the doors because, according to campus police, break-ins can occur anywhere.

Students should take caution and protect their belongings from being stolen and their cars from being damaged because theft and vandalism can occur in any parking lot on campus at any time.

Alice Ickes, crime prevention officer for the campus police department, said it is “very unpredictable” to determine when and where the majority of theft and vandalism occurs on campus.

Randy Ristow, manager at Parking Services, said every lot on campus has been affected at one time.

Since August, the top three parking lots affected are: the stadium parking lot, Music and Speech and the S-37 lot by Eastway and the health center. Ristow said there have been 11 break-ins at the stadium parking lot, five at Music and Speech and six at Eastway this academic year.

Ristow said there are more break-ins at the stadium parking lot because there are a lot of cars, as it is a more remote area with no pedestrians or traffic.

Ristow said there are security cameras at the stadium parking lot and overnight security.

“It’s a relatively easy target,” he said.

Tracy Audette, sophomore fashion design major, said she thinks the stadium is the most unsafe lot to park in.

“It’s large so no one can notice anyone messing around with anybody else’s car,” she said.

Ristow said theft and vandalism are also likely to occur in residential student parking lots because the cars sit in the lots all week. It is also hard to narrow down when the problems occur because residential students don’t go to their cars as much as commuter students do, he said.

When break-ins occur, they usually occur in a group, Ristow said. Also when they happen, Parking Services increases patrols.

“We get a rash of them, and they hit six or seven cars,” he said.

Parking Services has improved lighting in parking lots and minimized plants that could provide hiding places for thieves, Ristow said. Parking Services has also installed emergency phones on campus.

“People feel safer,” he said.

Audette said she thinks there should be more patrolling at night to prevent problems.

Ickes said students should park close to buildings and lights, keep valuables out of sight and lock their cars to avoid problems. She also said students who own soft-top cars should be especially careful because soft-top cars are difficult to protect.

Ristow also said students should take valuables out of their cars.

“It’s a shame you have to do that, but that’s the way society is today,” he said.

Ickes said students should contact the campus police department as soon as possible if their car is damaged or a theft has occurred.

“Please don’t hesitate to report problems,” she said.

Contact transportation reporter Lauren Frankovich at [email protected]