Students share car burglary experiences

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    Since the beginning of the school year, there have been two on-campus car burglaries reported and many more crime reports in the areas surrounding the university campus.

    However, according to a few students, many such incidents have gone unreported.

    Cat Chrobak, a junior political science major, recently had her car broken into Saturday night after a football game.

    Parked outside of her friend’s house by the Kroger on Berry Street, Chrobak realized she was not the only victim.

    “I noticed that every single car on the street had broken windows,” she said.

    Chrobak contacted the Fort Worth Police Department. She said she was told they had already been out to the scene and that there was no way they could find the culprit. They then advised her to talk to her insurance company, she said.

    “At this point, I feel incredibly helpless," said Chrobak. "You would think they would try to look at traffic cameras, find witnesses, or, at the very least, file a report since there were multiple cars broken into."

    Chrobak said she ended up spending $400 on car repairs.

    Junior finance major Kirby Schulz had a similar experience two weeks before the semester began.

    Parked outside of her house on Greene Avenue, she woke up to a smashed windshield.

    “I called the Fort Worth Police to file a report, and they said that an investigator would be put on the case, but I never heard anything again," Schulz said."I was surprised at how little they did," she said. "Especially since the same thing happened to a friend of mine parked in the same spot a few weeks earlier."

    Jacob Gonzales, a senior entrepreneurial management major, said he sympathizes with this ongoing issue. During his sophomore year, his truck was broken into while it was parked in the Worth Hills lot on campus.

    “I guess I had left my truck unlocked, and they took my backpack with my iPad in it and a bag with $700 worth of gift cards I had just gotten for Christmas,” Gonzales said.

    He said he was later able to track down his iPad with an app he had on his phone. A TCU Police officer then drove him five miles away from campus to the suspected location of his iPad, he said.

    When Gonzales and the officer arrived at the house, however, there were people who Gonzales said he suspected were not university students outside. The TCU Police officer decided it would be best if they did not confront them, he said.

    “I was upset he wouldn’t get out of the car and ask for my iPad back, but he said it was too dangerous to get out of the vehicle,” Gonzales said.

    Gonzales said he was then advised that it was not worth it to file a report on his insurance. He said he was also told that the police could not file any charges or make any arrests without actual photo or video footage.

    Lt. Ramiro Abad of the TCU Police said anytime there is an increase in car burglaries, the department works hard to try different approaches to solve the issue.

    “We vary the patrols," Abad said. "How the patrols work is that if there is a critical area where this occurs more frequently we might set up different officers at the location, whether it be on foot or vehicle, or possibly an undercover cop.”

    Abad also said there are measures students can take to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of car burglary.

    “Watch where you’re going and where you’re coming from. Be aware of what you leave in your car. If you leave a backpack or purse on your car seat, if you leave your phone charging on your dash, it’s just an invitation,” he said. "It takes five to ten seconds to pop the window, reach in and grab it, which is normally the case."Abad also said students need to be conscious of the university's location in the middle of a major metroplex, which means non-students have greater access to campus and the surrounding area.

    “Just be aware and make sure everything is secure,” he said.

    To report an on-campus car burglary, contact the TCU Police. Off-campus incidents should be reported to the Fort Worth Police Department.