Last Sunday, a non student resident of Court 17 was the victim of a car theft. According to a campus wide email notification the 1991 blue Toyota Camry was stolen from the third floor of the apartment’s parking garage from anywhere between Saturday night at 11:00 pm to 2:30 am on Sunday.
So why did such a theft occur? A first thought would be lax security, however with a combination of UWT security and Diamond Parking Security there are roughly eight or nine patrols through Court 17 every day, on to of cameras, and gates at night. Though security is relatively high, and car thievery fairly rare, don’t expect that leaving your car anywhere will ever be completely safe.
Wagshul-Golden explained that, “Overall campus is very safe, but be aware of your surroundings.”
While theft and crime are always the ultimate fault of the perpetrator, the truth is that college students can sometimes be rather careless in the precautions they take to prevent being victims. In fact the majority of crimes on our campus are those of opportunity: someone leaves a laptop, purse, or phone unattended then is surprised when they come back to find it’s gone.
The same type of carelessness can highly affect the likelihood of a car being broken into or stolen. Tacoma Police Department, after their occasional patrols around campus have actually told security that it would be good to remind students that leaving items in their unattended cars is a bad idea.
While not everything you might leave in your car will incite thieving instincts, take at least general precautions: don’t leave bags, boxes, loose money, phones, GPSs, or anything else that may even appear of value. Washgul-
Golden spoke of a student whose car was robbed over a box of crafting rhinestones.
Never leave paperwork or other items that contain your personal information in your car, in case the thief is not just after your vehicle, but after your identity as well. A car theft can cause massive upheaval of a person’s life, and taking precautions to make your car the least attractive option for a potential thief is much easier and needless to say, cheaper. The key is time: the longer a car will take to steal the less likely the thief will target it.
There are a plethora of options for making your car time consuming to steal; one relatively inexpensive yet highly effective method is a simple steering lock. As long as you actually use it. Washgul-Golden told the story of one boy whose car was stolen with the steering lock lying unused in the back seat.
Another easily taken precaution is looking online to see where your car ranks on the “most likely to be stolen” list.
Now, the victim of this recent case may not have been careless at all; it may just have been the fact that Toyotas bring high value in chop shops, or someone was looking for a quick drug run vehicle, and older cars are easier to break into. Sometimes crime cannot be avoided, however if precautions are taken, the likelihood of occurrence can be drastically lowered.