Rash of car thefts hits campus
April 5, 2009 12:18 AM
Ben Hoedt's 1999 Chrysler Cirrus had never been broken into, until he parked on Font Street in the Parkmerced area while visiting his girlfriend.
Hoedt is another victim in a growing trend around SF State this semester. According to the University Police Dept. there has been an increase in auto burglaries.
"You just feel violated that they take your stuff," Said Hoedt who comes from the City of Marina . Hoedt visits Park Merced Resident and girlfriend Ashley Mcdonald on the the weekends twice a month.
The campus police crime log shows that in the month of March, there were seven vehicle related thefts around the campus. By comparison, in February there were four incidents and only one in January.
According to UPD Captain Reggie Parson, most of these incidents happen late in the evenings off-campus.
According to the San Francisco Police Department crime map, there have been 17 vehicle related thefts over the last 90 days in the area surrounding SF State. Stolen vehicles accounted for 15 of the crimes, the other two were auto burglaries.
Most of these incidents occurred near the Parkmerced area which is in SFPD's jurisdiction. SFPD was not able to comment by the time of publication.
Parson said the one person arrested this semester was not part of the SF State community, which includes students and staff.
According to Parson, there are several reasons for the increase. He said that the majority of the burglaries are crimes of opportunity.
"If the suspects are 'casing' an area and discover items that may easily be sold at swap meets, Craigslist, or to a subject who buys stolen property or trades for narcotics, then a suspect will take that opportunity," he said.
When looking at the larger picture Parson hypothesizes that the current economic situation might create incentives to commit these crimes. "One will tell you that the economy has a big role. The increase in drug use, which can be a latent effect of a poor economy, can also contribute," he said.
Jeff Snipes, the Dean of the Criminal Justice Department at SF State disagrees with the conclusions reached by Parson.
"I don't buy the economic argument nor the drug use argument," Snipes said. "What I would opine is that either an individual or a group of individuals suddenly moved their auto theft operation into the area and after discovering easy pickings stuck around and continued their activities."
However, they both agree that the best way to end this surge in thefts is to create awareness.
"Once the area is saturated with police officers or awareness such as fliers, postings, etc. the suspects move on," Parson said.
Snipes added one more suggestion, "They should also send out a mass email to all SFSU employees and students providing them with the news and with tips on how to minimize risk."
Most students however said they feel safe parking their cars around campus Students like film major Juan Duncanan.
"There is a lot of cops patrolling this area," he said. He added that, he takes out all his belongings from his Acura Integra when he parks.
To avoid being a victim of these crimes, Parson said the students should take precaution by not leaving any items in open sight, as this is what attracts criminals.
These are precautions that Hoedt now takes when visiting his girlfriend, who has also had her car broken into.
In the spring of 2007 someone broke the passenger side lock of 1991 Toyota Camry to take her CD's and her most priced posession at the time; an unopened box of microwable popcorn.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University