Crime Prevention: The value of a minute
If you want your car to get stolen or broken into, it’s rather easy. First, do not lock your car so a thief can easily get in to your car without being suspicious. Second, park your car in a fully occupied parking lot so a thief can hide and squat between cars after stealing valuables from your car. Third, choose the darkest spot to park so a thief will not be seen by a policeman. Last, have your laptop visible in your car.
Car-related theft happens more often than you can imagine. An Allstate Insurance spokesman once told ABC News’ Good Morning America that the No.1 property crime is vehicle theft.
UALR Detective Sharon Houlette said she has seen a lot of cases in her 18 years at UALR. “Years ago, within four months, we had 11 cases of cars being broken into on campus,” she said. Houlette added, some of the cases did not involve a forced entry, meaning that most likely the cars were not locked.
When asked randomly on campus, only 75 percent of UALR students actually spend a few seconds making sure they do not have anything out of plain sight in their cars. Some said they quickly put things in their trunks or just bring them in their backpacks. A junior majoring in Biology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Spencer Briggs, said she does it to keep her car from being broken into. Sophomore Awendell Gordon, majoring in Sports Management, said he stays careful because he overheard some people talking about car-related thefts that happened on campus.
The other 25 percent, however, said they usually just walk away to class without checking if they leave anything visible in their cars. Some claimed it is because they do not have anything expensive in their cars. But UALR Crime Prevention Officer Jennifer Sibley said, even things as worthless as a few quarters or GPS brackets can attract thieves to search your car for more.
This year UALR is implementing a lot more patrols and taking the crime prevention matter more seriously. Officer Sibley said this year is the first year the university has a full-time Crime Prevention Officer.
Even when there are more officers patrolling around campus on bikes, cars and foot, it is still smart to spend a minute making sure you will not be the next victim.
Make sure you keep everything in the trunk if you do not want to bring them with you. Making sure all the doors are locked is also important because some car doors will not lock automatically as well as others. Officer Sibley said when a thief tries to open your doors and they are all locked, he or she will most likely go to another car.
One UALR student, who requested anonymity, said she is scared to park on campus after 6 p.m.
Officer Sibley said in the evening, try to park as close as possible to a street light because the brighter the area is, the less likely a thief will break into your car.
Implementing these tips can save you hundreds of dollars from buying a new laptop, books, repairing the damages of your car and, in some cases, from buying a new car.