Vehicle break-ins and thefts shake up USD students
By Brittany Carava
ASST. NEWS EDITOR
Since the semester has started, the Department of Public Safety has responded to four reports of motor vehicle thefts and four vehicle break-ins. Mother Rosalie Hill Hall School of Leadership and Education garage, Manchester Village garage (Building #1 & Building #2), Jenny Craig Pavilion parking lots, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice garage and the San Antonio De Padua garage have all been affected.
All of the thefts have occurred in closed off lots, leading some students to believe that their overall safety is compromised. “We only have three entrances on this campus, you would think they could make it a little bit harder to get on campus if you’re not a student here,” sophomore Alex Matukonis said. “I’m paying a bunch of money and I don’t even feel safe walking to my car at night.”
Some may think that a flashy car or exposed items would make vehicles targets for theft however, with the exception of one 2013 Honda Accord, all of the other vehicles that were stolen were between five and fifteen years old. in fact, the vehicles stolen most often in California are various models of Honda Accords because of their “high resale value, the fact that their parts are interchangeable, and that the ignition systems are easily defeated,” according to a report from the Department of California Highway Patrol.
In one car, a guitar, skateboard, XBox, laptop and desktop computer and various video games were stolen from inside. In another vehicle, there was a purse, which was stolen from inside. In a third vehicle the air conditioner unit was stolen from the inside. In previous years, there have been between four to seven vehicles stolen from campus a year.
According to Chief Larry Barnett of Public Safety, “Information received from SDPD indicates that the City of San Diego has seen a recent increase in vehicle thefts during this past month.”
Some students feel that parking services should play a bigger role in keeping the parking areas safe. “What’s parking services doing, aren’t they supposed to be patrolling anyways?” said senior Dana Yee. According to Public Safety, “DPS has reached out not only to Parking Services but to the entire campus community to assist us by reporting any suspicious activity observed regardless of where it may be occurring on campus.”
Other students feel that because there aren’t any security cameras in these areas, they are more likely to be targeted. “I think it is ridiculous that we don’t have enough security to protect our own cars and they have to tell us to make sure we lock our doors and leave nothing in our cars. I feel like I should not have to worry about whether or not I leave something in my car,” said senior Kat Murzl.
Additionally, some students believe that increased Public Safety presence might ward off potential criminals. “The fact that I have a car is a blessing…if it got stolen I would have no way to replace it,” said sophomore Maddie Moe. “Even if it means increased P-safe officers wandering around to bother me, I’d prefer that to potentially losing my only mode of transport.”
Although this may seem like a large amount of incidents, some students feel that this is not strictly a USD issue. “These things happen everywhere, and there are certain steps you can take to keep yourself from becoming a victim,” said junior Donna Ohlmaier. “I think some thieves have just figured out that there are a lot of cars that are at the far end of campus and left alone for many hours.”
In comparison to USD, Tufts University in Massachusetts, ranked the most dangerous college campus in the United States, had 49 vehicle thefts according to the Daily Beast. Vehicle thefts do occur on a regular basis in various universities across the country and while the issue may seem concerning for students, Public Safety encourages everyone to stay aware of their surroundings and not to hesitate to report suspicious behavior by alerting Public Safety officers.