Valuables left in vehicles encourage theft and burglary on campus

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    The safest place for your car may not be in a campus parking lot.

    According to 2009 TCU Police crime statistics, burglary and theft of motor vehicles were the most prevalent crimes on campus. Almost one third of those cases occurred in the freshman parking lots.

    TCU Chief of Police Steven McGee said the biggest problem causing these crimes has been people leaving valuables such as cell phones, wallets, GPS devices and iPods inside their cars.

    “Basically, if you leave anything valuable in your car, in plain sight, the chances of your car being broken into are extremely high,” McGee said.

    However, McGee said even something as simple as a backpack can convince a burglar to break-in.

    “These burglars think, ‘There’s a bag, there might be a laptop in it, there might be something valuable,'” he said. “So they break in just to see.”

    Freshman psychology major Lindsay Weaver said she moved her car out of the freshman parking lot once she had enough hours to be considered a sophomore. She said even though she knew about the car theft and burglary in the freshman lots, she wasn’t worried.

    “I still wasn’t concerned because I know there’s people with nicer cars than me, so they were probably more likely to get broken into than mine,” she said.

    Sophomore early childhood education major Haley Brooks said she felt better once she could park her car in a different parking lot.

    “I feel like over here, in the Greek, everybody’s in this area for the most part and it’s surrounded by housing, so that makes me feel better about it,” she said.

    McGee also said many burglars around campus will not appear to fulfill the physical, criminal stereotype. This, he said, was how many burglars got away unsuspected.

    “We had one white male that was in his late thirties with his wife and baby in the car while he was committing burglaries,” McGee said. “You see a family and you think, ‘Hey they’re not here to cause any problem.'”

    TCU Police will continue to investigate cases of car theft a burglary with the help of cameras and nighttime patrol, he said. Once police started closing the gated entrance between the freshman parking lot and Cantey Street at night, car theft and burglary decreased tremendously, he said.

    In past cases, McGee said TCU Police worked closely with the Fort Worth Police Department to help identify and arrest the suspects. Often, the people who broke into cars on campus were the same people who broke into cars all over Fort Worth, he said.

    “Trust me, it’s a regional, state-wide problem,” he said. “That way we all work together to help solve these crimes.”

     

    Tips and suggestions on how to prevent your car from burglary and theft.